This is the story of one family's quest to spend a year without any nonessential purchases.  No clothes, no books, no new toys for the kids.  If they couldn't eat it or use it up within a year (toilet paper and shampoo, for example), they wouldn't buy it.  

Filled with humorous wit, curious statistics, and poignant conclusions, The Year Without a Purchase, examines modern America's spending habits and chronicles the highs and lows of dropping out of our consumer culture.  

As the family bypasses the checkout line to wrestle with the challenges of gift giving, child rearing, and keeping up with the Joneses, they discover important truths about human nature and the secret to finding true joy.

 The Year without a Purchase offers valuable food for thought for anyone who has ever wanted to reduce stress by shopping less and living more.

(Available via AmazonBarnes & Noble and WJK Press.  And yes, we see the horrific irony of buying a book about not buying stuff.  So, if you’re starting your own challenge, there’s always the library!) 

The Rules – Simplified

  • Don’t buy “stuff”

The Rules – Detailed

  • We can buy stuff that can be “used up” within a year.  Groceries and gas.
  • We can’t buy clothes.  We have plenty.  If there truly is a “need” (ex: not a single pair of our kids’ shoes fit without causing irreversible toe damage), we will find hand-me-downs.
  • We can fix stuff that breaks, unless it costs more than a replacement.
  • We can use cell phones and internet, since they are both (conveniently) required for our work-from-home jobs.
  • Gifts must be in the form of charitable donation or “experience gifts” to build connections and memories (i.e. go to dinner together, visit the zoo, travel to visit friends/family etc.)