And Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store

By Cait Flanders

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kirsten taylor
I love, love, love this book so much that I got my lazy ass up to actually write a review for once! To go a significant amount of time without buying stuff is something that I have thought about for a while and yet never actually made the step, because WHAT IF I REALLY NEED SOMETHING or more importantly won't this suck most of the fun out of my life?

As Cait seems to be just a lot neater version of myself (could identify with her former binging habits when it came to food AND series), her mindless spending tendencies AND the role that alcohol used to play in her life (even though I never fell for that seductive substance long-term, probably because I already had collected enough unhealthy patterns in my life and was maxed out when it came to self-destructive ways, I too identify myself as a "good" drunk and have often felt the allure of it), and got so much out of this experiment, I feel like this is the permission slip for my scared ego to allow me to do the same. Cait realised that the things she thought she needed, the things she thought could make her happier or at least feel better, were not truly doing the job all that well and by removing lots of physical and psychological clutter, was able to see what truly matters and makes a difference.
Her writing style was so appealing to me, I am not really sure how to describe it apart from: relatable, simple, honest and beautiful. Thank you Cait for sharing your experience, thank you for showing that stopping buying things may be an incredibly hard endeavour at times in our consumer culture but is so, so worth it.
Also Cait, let's be friends, please.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
mialena
This book is so not about minimalism/simplicity. It’s another millenial therapy book. I’m sick of spending my money just to read about how awful the author’s life was. No redeeming value. Returned.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
avishana
The Year of Less is about having more - more time to live in the present moment, rather than being continously distracted by accumulating “stuff”. It’s about the life you truly want, and shares a plan that will help you have more energy to put into building and cultivating an authentic relationship with your true, unvarnished self. What Cait is recommending here is nothing short of revolutionary: stop, evaluate and think before you buy. If it’s not on your list of approved items to purchase, dig a little deeper and let yourself feel. What hole are you trying to fill with this purchase? Has that works before in the past? Allow yourself to sit with the addictedness that is Western culture's most popular sport: shopping. Notice the media messages we are fed that tell us we will be “more,” “prettier,” “likable,” more sought after, and more desirable and lovable, if we buy or have X, Y, or Z. Adopting the plan Cait shares in this book could be likened to ripping off the bandage that’s covering our gaping (or looming) financial chasm of debt, and lackluster sense of self. This excellent book is a cautionary tale within a recipe for a well balanced, more present life: look deeper than the urge to spend, to fill, to intoxicate with stuff. Sit with our selves and chose the peace that comes with more money in the bank instead of mountains of "things." We are enough.
Breathing Lessons: A Novel :: and Simplify (Updated and Revised) - A Minimalist Guide to Declutter :: Toilet Training in Less Than a Day :: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life :: Suck Less: Where There's a Willam, There's a Way
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
evelyn pryce
This book is less about the shopping ban, her struggles with it, and living with less and more about giving up drinking, dealing with a family issue, and finding herself. It was fairly well written, but it wasn’t primarily a story about getting rid of her belongings and how she overcame her shopping habit. There is no how-to and detail or analysis of the trial and error and success. It was not at all what I expected based on the cover title and summary. I spent a lot of the book wondering when she would get back to telling the story of how she stopped shopping and gave up her belongings. Overall, it was just OK.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
brighton sloan
Cait Flanders' book reads just like a blog. Maybe that's because she is a professional blogger and turning what she'd written into a book is a natural progression for her. I don't think anyone can fault her for that.

The book was not what I was expecting. I admire her ability to lose weight, decimate and overcome more than $30,000 in consumer debt and accomplish all that she has. That being said, however, most adults (like myself) don't really have the option of moving into our parent's basement and saving 10% and more of our income. If you're a 20 or even 30 something and not having to worry about mortgages, childcare, etc. this book offers some great tips.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
cara riley
Book was not at all what I expected based on its jacket descriptions along with details on this very product page. What seems positioned as an insightful and slightly personable retelling of the author's pursuit of anti-materialism is actually more of an autobiography concerning failed relationships and overcoming demons of substance abuse. Sure, the pursuit of minimalism and anti-consumption is scattered here and there but it more or less takes second billing to other, more pressing issues in Cait Fllanders' life.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
arnost stedry
The Year of Less

A personal memoir of a young woman’s struggle with various addictions and how she streamlined her life to find happiness.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

SUMMARY
Cain Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, repeat. After she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt her old habits took hold again. When she realize that nothing she was buying was making her happy—only making things worse—she decided to set a challenge for herself. She would not buy anything for herself for one year. She also decluttered her apartment and got rid of seventy percent of her belongings, learned how to fix things rather than throw them away and completed a television ban. She soon found that the less she consumed the more fulfilled she felt. Her challenge served as a lifeline when various situations during the year turned her life upside down. Her changed habits helped her realize what truly matters.

“One lesson I’ve learned countless times over the years is that whenever you let go of something negative in your life, you make room for something positive.”

REVIEW
I felt very much like I was listening to Cait tell me her life story. It was very conversational and much more than I was expecting. She shares not only about the habits she was trying to change, but also goes deep into her struggle with alcoholism and her weight, her unhappiness with her career, her troubled relationships and the huge impact of her parents divorce.

I’m a firm believer in the benefits of retail therapy and a shopping ban sounded like... well, I can’t even imagine. That’s precisely why I wanted to read it. Is it even doable? What are the rules? She provided some great guidelines that would serve as a good starting point for those who might be interested in starting a shopping ban. Anyone interested in streamlining and simplifying their life might enjoy this very personal self-help story. Cait was able to live on less, save more, and do more of what she loved. Isn’t that what we all want?
Publisher Hay House
Published January 16, 2018
Narrator Cait Flanders

“The ban uncovered the truth, which was when you decide to want less, you can buy less and, ultimately need less money.”
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
teri harman
This was an average memoir and an average read on the journey someone takes in an effort to spend less and minimalize her belongings.

If you were a reader of this author's blog during this year long experience, I feel like this book would give more to you as a reader. There would have been more investment knowing the author from her blog and this would be a behind-the-scenes look at what was posted during that experiment.

However, I do have to say that although I had not heard of this author prior to reading this book, I still gained something from reading about her experience. Firstly, a lot of the circumstances she was facing, I find myself to be similarly facing (minus the addiction to drugs and alcohol). They may not be exact in career or personal life but they come from a similar core which I can relate to. As well, I'm a similar age to her age during this experiment so that alone makes it more relatable.

This memoir does not necessarily introduce any concepts that have not been heard of or written before. But still, the society we live in encourages excess so we continue to struggle with it. This is one of those reads that although it may not be new ideas, her journey may be a different way of seeing something.

If anything, twenty pages into reading this I unloaded a bag of clothes to donate that I've been keeping unworn in my closet for years and I'm hoping to do more. That in itself should make this book be considered somewhat of a win.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
steven prather
“The Year of Less” is almost a deceptive title – it’s actually about “more” instead of “less” in that author/blogger Cait Flanders strove for less consumption in order to live a more purpose-driven life, to own less/have less to maintain so she could have more time and money to do the things she loved. Her means to these ends was the institution of a self-imposed yearlong shopping ban that she documented on her website (caitflanders.com), an experiment that ended up stretching to two years and is now a major element of her everyday living.

Before this ban, Flanders managed to pay off $30K in debt, paving the way to debt freedom. Over the course of this ban, Flanders lived off 51% of her income, saved $17K, and was able to spend another $10K on travel.

Sounds fantastic, right? Let’s consider the process.

Her rules:
She was allowed to buy groceries/basic kitchen supplies, cosmetics and toiletries, cleaning products, gifts for others, and miscellaneous items approved beforehand. She was NOT allowed to buy take-out coffee (bye-bye Starbucks habit), clothes/shoes/accessories, books/magazines/notebooks, household items (candles, décor, etc), and electronics.

Takeaways:
Her plan wasn’t executed flawlessly. She broke the rules more than once due to necessity (her one and only pair of pajama pants ripped in an inconvenient and irreparable place) and to a momentary lapse in discipline. There was even a personal crisis that had the potential to derail her but she held fast, finding comfort in ways that weren’t the healthiest but didn’t violate some of the most crucial parts of her master plan. Admitting to failures during her very regimented year made her more likeable and relatable and had me giving her book a fourth star for its honesty and humility.

It would’ve earned a fifth if not for some obvious and integral circumstances:

1) FLANDERS WAS CONDUCTING THIS EXPERIMENT ALL BY HERSELF. There was no husband or children to influence or wreck her decision-making/plans. If you’re married to a spendthrift and/or you have children with lots of extracurriculars (to which expenses are often considerable, particularly sports) or just young children (there seems to be no end to pediatric visits with babies and toddlers), your savings could end up being very limited.
2) FLANDERS DID NOT OWN A HOUSE. Home ownership is its own debt pool, considering the size of your mortgage payment, the state of your house and how many repairs it needs, unexpected emergency repairs, homeowners insurance, regular maintenance, etc.
3) FLANDERS DID NOT HAVE A HEALTH CRISIS. Unexpected illness has the potential to devastate someone’s best financial plans and plummet them into serious debt. If you are sick with a chronic and debilitating condition or a terminal illness, you are not going to save much money (if any at all) and you’re probably not going to be able to work at some point.

Despite the reasons listed above, I really liked this book. I found Flanders’s voice to be very personable and genuine and I couldn’t help but admire her dedication and the impetus behind it. Most of the things she did throughout echo what I’ve been trying to achieve in my own life. I have been making efforts to be a mindful consumer (“do I want it or do I need it?”) and over the past few years have donated/thrown away a considerable portion of my possessions in favor of a minimalist approach. Like the author, I want the things I own to have a purpose, not be just another object in my house collecting dust and taking up valuable space that could be occupied by something more useful.

Readers’ biggest frustration with blogs-turned-books is that the same information tends to lie within its pages as on the internet. Flanders gives those that take a chance on her book a +1 by offering personal stories she was reticent to share on her blog about her past struggles with addiction (she’s a recovering alcoholic); it’s the kind of poignant and vital insight that gives the reader an idea of why she adopted what some might view an extreme way of living.

Summary: If minimalism appeals to you and/or you’re looking for an inspirational story to make a lifestyle change of this kind or another, and/or if you’re a fan of Marie Kondo’s best seller “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, this comes recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nadya
I've been reading books about decluttering and simplifying for about thirty years now and at this point, I've probably learned all the tricks I'm going to, but there is always room for a little inspiration as well as a friendly kick in the pants to get me going. Cait Flanders delivers inspiration as well as a compelling story. A few years ago Cait took stock of her life and found that she spent too much money, ate too much, drank too much, spent too much time watching TV, and shopped too much. At first I thought she sounded like a basket case, but then realized that I do all of those things too, maybe not to the extremes she did, but that's just a matter of degree, isn't it? She didn't tackle everything at once, and when she focused on one behavior, she broke the steps down to give herself more chances to succeed. You can read just the portions about decluttering and shopping less if you aren't interested in the rest, but it's a short book at under 200 pages, and she's an engaging writer. And on a very minor note, I like the physical book that Hay House has published -- it's a comfortable size to hold and the dust jacket is attractive rough paper rather than the strange jackets many hardcovers have now that feel as if they are coated with plastic -- very unpleasant.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tere
It isn't often you come across a book this personal about any one trying to change their lifestyle. The book is a gift to anyone that is interested in improving their life. Mindful thinking plays a big part of this life change. This one woman's very personal story of how she decided to make major changes, like breaking up with retail shopping, decluttering her living area, so that she could make room for something better to come into her life, and planning out a year of what had to be done to get to the point where she could clear it all out, heal and move forward, to a better life. Filled with inspiration and hope. She got out of debt, rewrote her rules and packed up and moved on. Liked the lists and planning and with cool, calm, grounded determination, made her dreams come true. Felt like cheering by the time I got to the end. Thanks for the plan and action steps you took. Certain your life is going to be the inspiration for many, to follow your lead.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
cory young
After reading several of these " go minimalist " books, I think this is the the most enjoyable and insightful. I confess I skipped a lot of the sidetracks into the writers personal life, it seemed off track and just book filling , especially the family and divorce info. But that is a modern writer/blogger... gotta say something.
The best book on enjoying life and managing money is the old classic, Your Money or You Life--- that sent me on the path to stability and happiness in my life. I reread it every January. Follow the principals and have a comfortable life, and highly recommend it.
This is fun, a novel, a movie and I enjoyed it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
andrea woessner
I actually got this book thinking of it as a self-help, stradegy guide. I was imagining "do this - get this", very straight forward and itemized list. This is not that. It turned out to be a fantastic story of someone account on buying less. It reads like a Novel with ups and downs and side stories. A great read about a womans life and her struggles and things she did to overcome them. The ideas in the work are great and give a detailed description of what it takes to get the reward. It is definitely an inspirational book to push you to achieve goals. This is well written, catches your attention, and gets your brain moving.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
maryhope
The Year of Less is written by a blogger and reads as such but that doesn’t mean it’s not well written and helpful. There’s a lot of books on this subject matter around these days but this one reads almost like a memoire – or novel – but you get a lot of good advice on how to control your bad habits. Bad habits - Cait Flanders had them all – she acquired a lot of “stuff”, she drank too much, her finances were moving her towards bankruptcy and she turned to food for comfort. But she was neat. Hardly balanced out her life.

In a moment of enlightenment she decided to just fix herself and was resolute to not shop for a year. She set the parameters, yes, she could by tp, but not things she didn’t need. This book follows her ordeal, the ups and the downs and turns out to be a real page turner. It’s lots of fun, lots of good advice, and you find yourself rooting for Cait.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mark65
I actually purchased the Audible version because each book I read about decluttering helps me get rid of a few more things. First let me say, this is also an autobiographical book and I so admired her honesty & willingness to share from the heart. It addresses addictions of several types: alcohol (thankfully I have not had this one); food (still a member of Wt Watchers after many years, just to keep from gaining it back); shopping (but it was such a good deal...even though the closet is overflowing). This was so inspiring that I started cleaning out my yoga drawer while I was still listening to it! Finished it (the book, not the cleaning!) but plan to listen again in case I missed anything, and to perhaps get it to really sink in. I just loved it!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
cecelia dileo
I got the audible and quit after and hour and a half. I was mislead by the title into thinking this was about minimalism- but it is mostly about the author’s alcoholism and anecdotal stories from her life. The title should reflect struggle with various addictions, not minimalism. If you want minimalism go with something else!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
yuliya
This was a quick, but somewhat disappointing read, not quite what I was expecting. It is very much one individual's personal account of her year of downsizing her possessions and cutting back on her spending. I felt the story was very personal, and quite interwoven with the author's career and work experiences, rather than an inspirational guide or roadmap for others to follow. The author seemed to have very strong willpower, and she was able to stop buying things after making a decision to stop buying things. I don't know that this would be so easy for most people. I enjoyed reading this account, but it was very much a personal account of a young woman's career path than it was a general treatise about consumerism and living with less.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lauren asfour
There are so many articles written by retired people giving away and selling their possessions before changing their lifestyles to traveling, moving overseas, or helping the less fortune by volunteering. I like reading stories like these because they have a spiritual dimension, and I assumed this book was one of them. I was surprised to find out the book is written by a young woman in her late twenties, struggling to overcome her addictions of alcohol, food, and shopping. Needless to say, this book written by a young person has a different way of looking at the same subject and dealing with it by using a different approach than someone who is retirement age. Interesting. Three and a half stars.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gretta
Was expecting a somewhat boring step-by-step how-to guide for getting rid of stuff. The process was in there, but so much more. Felt like a best friend was speaking to me about her epic journey to overcome the challenges in her life - parent's divorce, absentee father, alcoholism, long-distance relationships, leaving jobs and the identity tied to them, and striking out on one's own. Each day I was excited to hear more. Have applied the lessons from Cait's life to many situations for myself and my family. Listened to 'The Year of Less' on the recommendation of Brené Brown and was not familiar with her blogs. Am very glad I did.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
rakesh nath
I appreciate the author’s work and the changes she made in her life. I know this was a memoir and not a how to live on less instruction guide. Yet the constant discussion of drug/alcohol/sex addictions completely took over the narrative, to the point that the book was no longer about simple living. Mostly, it made me sad to read about yet another broken family (two divorces) and the almost inevitability of the addictive and dark life the author then lived.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
erinn
The subheading “how I stopped shopping, gave away my belongings, and discovered life is worth more than anything you can buy in a store” gave me the impression that this book was focused on improving life. Alas, I found the book was much more a description of what was wrong with the author’s life. Underage drinking, relationship problems with family and boyfriends, etc. I found this book to be depressing, not inspiring.

But that’s JustMe.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lisa petrie
I purchased this book on Audible.com. I read some of the reviews and was a little worried. I needed some motivation and took a chance. This book isn't "if it doesn't give joy toss it" which we have all read about in trying to find inspiration to pare down our closet. There is nothing wrong with that but I enjoyed this book because she speaks of her past bout with alcoholism, relationships, family issues etc. For many, all those things are intertwined with the inundation of "stuff" and the perpetual purchasing of more stuff. So if cleaning and organizing is your goal, this probably isn't the book for you. But , if you think you might like to hear someone's personal struggle with life's issues and gaining freedom from too many possessions, learning to save money, and changing her life in order to do the things in life she desires, then this is the book for you. I will be listening to it again as I go through my "stuff".
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
steven watt
It is more of a girl’s book, since guys will find the anecdotes a bit too feminine, and not relate as much as female readers would. On the plus side, in the first chapter she gives you a clear, concise list of the rules she tried to hold to, and it is easily adaptable to your own lifestyle. People who own houses or lots of animals will need more adaptation than people living in an apartment in the city. Still the thoughts are good, and will definitely point out how you buy a ton of things that are not only not necessary, but often remain unused in a closet somewhere. I shudder to think how our economy would fare if everyone gave this a shot for a year.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
natalie ng
I’ve been working on living with less little by little for the past few years, but can’t even make it past the paper stage in the Marie Kondo process (sooo many magazines + home based business). And I know I need to increase my retirement savings, which is a challenge being self employed with a very unpredictable income month to month.
So the insights and lessons in this book were really helpful to me as she showed how being mindful about her existing possessions and aware of her triggers for mindless consumption opened her up to great savings that she could redirect to her real passions. I loved the point that somethings we buy for our aspirational self (that may never exist). Instead buy for who we are now and what we truly need now, not potentially in the future.
I heard about the book from the Young House Love podcast and enjoyed hearing about their one month shopping ban and subsequent interview with the author. I’m thinking of starting a 3 month ban & cant wait to see what lessons I learn.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
becky koesel
I’m not all the way through her book yet because I don’t want it to end!
I have followed Cait for a number of years and always appreciated her insights. This book takes my respect for her to another level. Thanks Cait.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
colton
Like many others, I've been on the decluttering kick. Some days, I feel like I've made big progress and other days, I walk into any given room and realize that I still have a lot of stuff.

What I loved about reading Cait Flanders's "The Year of Less" is that it is a year-long journey. She makes a plan (that made me gasp!) and then moves forward. It is a memoir of her journey but so many points along her way rings bells and ping the pongs in my brain as familiar. I don't know if I could do all that she did, but reading the highs and lows makes me feel like I can see how I can make a plan that fits for me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
michelle macdonald
More and more I like the notion of buying less, cutting down on spending and making do with the bare minimum (although I’m certainly not averse to a good amount of spoiling on the things that really matter to me). So this book, which questions consumerism, had me interested.

I listened to the Audible version, read by the author, which is largely a memoir and what led to her beliefs about limiting her own spending. Then there’s a section near the end about what she does and doesn’t spend on and why. An interesting “read”, motivational and food for thought!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
yanicke forfang
I borrowed this audio book through my library and it was wonderful to listen to and really made me think about my own spending habits. Just before listening to this I was having frustrated conversations about too much "stuff" we have in my house. I've been there buying for things in the future. Buying too many things for my kids. Buying things just to buy things.

One of my biggest annoyances: At the beginning of every chapter she says the 'Total number of things donated' and then gives a percentage. It's not a total number. Small semantics but almost detracts from the message for a moment.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
marcela
At first I wasn’t going to purchase this book because I am 62 years old and initially reacted with “what can a 30 year old teach me?” Well, quite a lot apparently. Between two daughters’ weddings and the birth of two grandchildren, I had run up my personal credit card to an amount I could no longer pay off in full in each month. That has been a stressor for me. In addition we are now empty nesters and have waaaayyy too much stuff in our house. The reality is I am coming up on a different transition in my life and that is when both my husband and I are retired. We will be financially comfortable but it will still be a significant change and I have to learn to live within that. I also want to get our home ready to sell in a few years and make day to day maintenance easier and be more able to travel easily. I found Cait’s book refreshingly honest, engaging, and her advice manageable!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
gteisseire
I could do without the drama, but it feels like you're talking with a real person about the issue. The good is that the realism makes it seem like something that really happened and you could also do. But the bad is that it comes across as whiny. It comes across as a millennials having all the first world issues we make fun of millennials for having. But in reality, a lot of people and not just millennials have a bad relationship with stuff and buying stuff. This is a good book about a girl's journey to change her relationship with stuff--something I need in my life!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
laura boag
I enjoyed listening to this book on Audible. It is a part auto-biography, part advice book. It gives good insights in how to implement a shopping ban (I'm considering it). The book shows that life is messy and things pop up that might feel like you cannot go on and need something to distract yourself but Cait has shown a tremendous strength through these perils and is an inspiration. Obviously, a shopping ban is a bit simpler to do if you're single but does not mean this book is not helpful for some pointers and references.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sara rodriguez
I think the title is a bit misleading. This is definitely not a self-help book or a roadmap to doing a shopping ban, it's more of a memoir of Cait Flanders, a personal finance blogger who decided to stop shopping and re-evaluate her priorities. It was an enjoyable read! I love the overall message. She realized that she did a lot of impulse shopping and shopping for things that suited the image of who she thought she *should* be. She finally realized that by buying less, she consumed less and wanted less. She became a more mindful consumer, which is my end goal as well.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
salima
I wanted to like this book. I was really attracted to the cover and the author's blurb on becoming a minimalist. However this book wasn't quite what I expected. It was hard to follow the timeline in which the author did things. Many parts were repeated unnecessarily, in fact even the exact same sentences were repeated in a paragraph which seemed like an editing error. I think most people who read this book can get by just by reading the introduction, her "Shopping Ban" list on the cover, and the "Your Guide to Less" Section. Nevertheless, it was nice to read the author's account of her struggles and how she worked to overcome them but the book could have used a stronger structure than what was given.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
heather gibbons
There was a book written many years ago called "Not Buying It." That book got little to no fanfare, probably because the author didn't have a blog. I found that one superior. Today it's all about having a social media presence and being a brand.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
zohreh foroughi
I have read some of the author's blog which I enjoyed, so I thought I would like the book. It was okay. It is really a memoir more than anything. She is a good, engaging writer and she definitely shares freely which I think is important. It is always a bummer when you feel like people are holding back. My big negative is that this is really a memoir and a telling of her story. If you are looking for advice, look elsewhere.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
d anne
I've been following Cait's blog for a long time now- when it was still called Blonde on a Budget. What was and is most striking for me about Cait's writing is that she is incredibly generous in sharing so much of her life with her readers. In her blog, she would detail her income and expenses, so honestly that I felt part of the fascinating journey she was taking in changing her life financially. The theme of a shopping ban was one I had never heard before, but it rapidly came to seem like the most intelligent and necessary thing to do. In reading about Cait changing her life, I realised that I could change mine too. I truly believe that this book can change your life for the better, because Cait is human and normal, just like all of us. Oh yes, and I couldn't put it down, because Cait writes beautifully too. It's an amazing book and I loved it. I think it should be prescribed reading for all of us seeking a better and more fulfilling life.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
john alba
Returned it. Right from the start I was a bit annoyed by the author's immature writing style but it was a quick read and parts were entertaining so I kept going. Then the redundancy, grammatical errors, and endless commentary about the author's addictive tendencies became distracting. I felt like I was reading a series of completely unedited, loosely related blog posts. It seems to me that the author has lived a fairly typical, millennial existence but the "supportive blogging community" has convinced her that she is somehow extraordinary. Very few people's lives are interesting enough to be written about in this way.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lindy
An intimate look at the kinds of real changes that can be made when you stick with it, and honor your core values. Not only a memoir, but a proven path to a better life, along with practical implementations of how I can do it myself.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karla
I am thankful and appreciative of the honest reflections and advice this author shared with her readers. I closed the book feeling empowered and inspired. I've cued up the listening to shame TedTalk and I'm closing the laptop and thinning out some things... NOW
It's a great book. Read it. You'll be glad to did.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anthony qaiyum
I sincerely appreciated Cait's candor and vulnerable approach to life. Her ideas and solutions helped me re-evaluate my relationship with stuff and money. Wonderful book! I fully recommend this book to anyone looking to find more balance and intention in their life! By the end of the book, I felt like the author was a close friend!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sheila voss
I have 4-5 books on my nightstand that have been sitting there for MONTHS. THE YEAR OF LESS arrived on a Saturday night; I finished it within a week and spent all day Sunday decluttering and getting my finances in order. Cait is not only whip-smart and money savvy, but incredibly insightful, self-aware, and inspiring. I find how-to books hard to finish, but this is more than that. It's Cait's story, which makes it far more powerful and interesting than any purely practical read. Would love to see more from this author!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
parker jensen
We live in a world where there are things that its okay to talk about and things its not okay to talk about, things its okay to feel and things we should do anything to avoid feeling. I love that Cait's constantly challenging this. I wrote down the quote “The real thing to celebrate was that I felt things and I kept living.” I think that’s a beautiful summary of the simple living movement. When you take away everything that’s not serving you – you’re left with the tools and the space to serve yourself.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sara freer
This is the true story of a woman who decides to live a year without shopping except for a list of preapproved items like toiletries and food. Very interesting concept. This was a quick, enjoyable read that got me thinking about all the excess items I own and if they hold a special meaning.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
aprianti
An earlier reviewer said it best: “Alas, “The Year of Less” lacked substance, clarity, maturity, depth and the specificity that elicits true interest.” I would add boring, which is fatal for a memoir about a supposedly unique experience. Maybe the blog was better as time went by but now it’s just some aimless rumination.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nathan powell
SO INSPIRING! I am almost 2 months into my own year long stopping ban (inspired by this book of course) and I can honestly say it's been super easy and it's almost like a feeling of RELIEF! As a self-professed shopaholic I never would have thought this was possible. The drive to shop came from a FEAR of not fitting in, a need to feel worthy a need to feel like I always had the best of the best so that others would accept me. I was so misguided. I'm only 2 months in and I feel so much lighter and more free. Giving up shopping has made room for more fulfilling things to come into my life and has given my authentic self a voice. Thank you Cait!!!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
dorothy
I think this book is only good for fans of her blog. It's not very interesting if you don't know her before reading this. I feel kinda scammed by the name. Good thing I got this from the library. There's hardly anything about not shopping, but I'm assuming that her blog was all about that so it doesn't matter for her fans.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lizette
I listened to this via audiobook and loved it. I found myself taking screen shots as it played on my phone and sending the pic to my daughter, my husband and several friends saying, “You need to read this!” My favorite aspect of this book was the way the author spoke of the mindfulness that came with her shopping ban (and in the past, with her sobriety and dietary/exercise changes). Recognizing one’s triggers to stress goes a long way in making lasting changes for the better. Without this mindfulness, you’d have just another shiny how-to book that people forget about along with their New Years resolutions.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lausanne
This book is more biographical than handbook on how to live with less. I found the writing engaging and her personal example inspiring. I certainly came away with a desire to refine my own life to the objects, people, and experiences I most value.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
abigail thomas king
What makes this book stand apart from similar books: Details about the highs and lows of the journey, the steps backward, how to get back on track, and practical steps. The brave material deserves five stars. Gave it four only because of some unnecessary repetition.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mindy
Cait Flanders took a hard look at her life and made changes to find peace and happiness. She is wise beyond her years. Her approach to possessions, clutter and mindless spending required sacrifice and commitment but in the end she found a better way to life. She is inspiring.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kaylee knytych
I was really looking forward to reading this book. I applaud the author for maintaining her sobriety and overcoming some of her other obstacles. However, this book was about the year of "living less" and I was hoping that it would focus more on her shopping ban. It seemed to spend more time on her drinking, relationship, family and job issues than anything else. To me it seemed that her experiment was more of a shopping speed bump rather than a "ban". I was a bit surprised at all of the items that she was allowing herself to purchase and spend on regardless of the "ban". There are other simplification/downsizing books that I have found to be more informative. I am looking forward to checking out her blog and perhaps be able to see a more detailed explanation of what was going on during her year of less.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kris evans paull
Great easy read, I liked how it outlines the author’s own struggles and successes. And the ending is a nice overview of how to carry out your own deck uttering/shopping ban to become a more mindful consumer.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
wynter
Great book for inspiration to consume less and how it changes your situation. She showed the joyful side of getting off the consumerism train. She shared hardships that could easily have derailed her plans and how it helped her to focus on life and deal with hard feelings. I loved how she talked about friendships, family and career. ❤️
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
siegfried
Goes beyond a thoughtful how-to and tells an inspiring story of a young woman determined to address her challenges and rise. Read Cait’s book in a day and was driven to go on a shopping ban of my own. Love this topic and consider myself a bit of a frugal minimalist already; this book was one of my favorites in the genre. Cait’s authenticity was a delight.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
shell
Really disappointed by this book. Was hoping for some interesting stories about what was challenging and eye-opening but it's mostly stories about alcoholism. Not at all what I expected or what I was looking for. I almost gave up reading it a handful of times but I kept hoping for some tidbit that would make it worth it. No luck for me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
grigory ryzhakov
I just finished reading this book and found it very inspirational. Cait’s journey is one we can all relate to and learn from. As a result of this book, I have decided to work towards new goals I never before considered. Thank you, Cait, for sharing your life.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
morgan snow
I kind of just randomly bought this book having no idea really what it was about. I was totally surprised at the deepness of it. I found this very well written. She shares her thought processes and feelings and shows you how she arrives at her decisions, that bring her into her authentic self. Plus you get insight into how she overcame alcoholism.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
julie dill
Cait Flanders shares her story, one many of us can relate to but may not want to admit resembles our own experience: We consume and spend more than we need in this life. Her book is candid and thought-provoking, a truly excellent read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gertie bews
I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected. The way it was written-more as a memoir-was perfect and very engaging. I don’t know if I’ll try a shopping ban, but I’ve definitely been inspired to cut out the clutter.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
charluch
I bought this book because I was really interested in the financial impact of her shopping ban. However, this is one of the most fat-phobic books I have ever read. Wow. She actually says, "At one point, I was just a few pounds away from having to shop in the *plus sized section*." Like that is the absolute worst thing that can happen to you... I tried to keep reading and just skim past all of the diet-culture talk and fat phobia, but it is so prevalent throughout the book it is impossible to avoid. I am very disappointed in this book and in the author.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
leksa
Veered way off from book title. While it starts off well, I sadly lost interest as the family drama became the main focal point of subsequent chapters. The repetitive phrases, grammatical errors (where was Cait's editor?) and swerving back and forth in time contributed to my feeling of being challenged to finish the book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
suzette
This book was a real eye opener that when you cut out spending you have to confront the real motivations for why you desire to spend money wherever that journey takes you in your mind, heart and body.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brian scheufele
Such an honest, open, moving and inspiring story! I have been trying to become a conscious consumer and to stop using shopping as a means of therapy and Cait's story has given me the courage to fully tackle the emotions behind my spending impulses this year.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
ben renz
Book contents: Millennial. Alcoholic Father. Alcoholic Daughter. Begins drinking in a pub at 12 years old. Drugs. Spending too much. Later finds out the problem and gets clean, with her dependencies and her house. I fast forwarded through most of it -- ie: the parts that she talks about her co-dependencies, etc. The end there were the tips. Listened to the audio book, where the author is the narrator. I appreciate when the author narrates their story.
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