“The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders and How I’m Applying it to my Life

We all know that the pandemic has changed our lives. And there have been highs and lows. One of the highs has been more time to read! Unfortunately, one of the lows has been a significant decrease in my income. So I relied on library books quite a bit! One of the ones I read that I especially loved was “The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders.

The back cover reads: “In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy—only keeping her from meeting her goals—she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for a year.”

I sped through this book finishing it is less than two days, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. It’s not an instruction manual. But it is a deeply personal story of struggle and achievement. I’ll be reading it again in the future because it motivated and moved me so much. Cait set rules from her year of less including what she COULD spend money on. Everything else was off limits. I know this challenge isn’t a new one. I’ve even did No Spend September last year. But the way she presented it was inspiring. Cait wasn’t just saving money for a month. She was changing her lifestyle.

The evening that I finished the book I sat down with JT. Together we created a list of approved spending and we talked about the hard things to not buy. I’m going to share the complete list here. Well the updated list, since we’ve had some trial and error already! Some of my yeses I’m sure wouldn’t make it onto someone else’s list. Feel free to judge me. No hard feelings. And drop a comment with your own list!

a collage of a book with glasses and a bedside table


Things I’m allowed to buy:

  • groceries and basic kitchen supplies
  • basic cosmetics
  • toiletries
  • cleaning products
  • gifts for others
  • 2 new books
  • clothes to replace ones that don’t fit me
  • eating out with friends
  • date nights with JT
  • any business expenses that get purchased with my business account

That puts pretty much everything else in the NOT allowed to buy category! The hardest one has been house plants. There was a MASSIVE monstera one of my friends was selling for $75. I almost bought it, but didn’t! I’ll check back with my progress here!




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