Freeconomy – The Moneyless Manifesto

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Freeconomy – The Moneyless Mantra

A kind friend sent me a link for the Sustainable Living Festival running in Melbourne this month. In amongst the program I found an event talking about Mark Boyle’s quest to live money-free for a year. Naturally, I found the idea instantly appealing. I wanted to read more. Well, I can. For free. And so can you. Mark Boyle has published a book and made it available to read in its entirety online. This makes me BNN happy, but also, a different happiness. Could this be the beginning of something? A more generous society? Less concerned with accumulation of wealth and belongings and more concerned with community?

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. 

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Why are we doing this?!

The new year seems to be approaching faster than usual and I’m trying desperately not to impulse buy (in bulk) things we might need in the next twelve months. The Buy Nothing New For a Year (BNN) project that our little family of three has committed to for 2013 came to me when I was researching Freecycle groups in my local area. We have a couch that is pretty awesome, but flawed, that I wanted to find a new home for. In my research I discovered communities of BNNers around the globe.

If you REALLY think about the concept it can capture your imagination. With all those oodles of idle moments I have (hmm) I spent a lot of time trying to imagine what would be the hardest thing about buying nothing new for a year. Clothes are not an issue for me, or for Little Fearse, because we always wear second hand. (I won’t speak for Big Poppa Fearse, who is a bit of a hat and sneaker addict.) Books, my real addiction, I almost always buy second hand. Ebay has become my best friend this year while I’ve been on maternity leave and our finances have been drastically reduced.  If I can’t get it on Ebay, I often won’t buy it.

There are a lot of things I really like about the concept of BNN. We have so much junk that we don’t need. We even have a lot of junk that we don’t want. We just have. Little Fearse has her own customised ‘sleep’ playlist that we listen to each night when she’s getting ready for bed. It includes John Lennon’s Imagine. I’m a pretty big Beatles fan, and of the Beatles John was always my favourite. I’ve been listening to Imagine since I was 9 years old, but you know what? I’ve never actually taken the time to imagine any of the things he sang about. How about this line?

“Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can.”

Well, it turns out I can’t.  The concept of possession starts REALLY young. I think about it when I’m admonishing Little Fearse for stealing other children’s toys; “No, sweetheart, that’s not yours. You need to give it back.” Given that most of us eventually grow out of putting everything we touch in our mouths maybe we need to really look at why we are so obsessed with owning everything ourselves and how sustainable that really is.

When I suggested BNN for 2013 to Big Poppa I think he had one of those (not very rare) moments where he wondered why he had to marry a woman who likes to complicate life so much. I’ll let him tell you about that.

Anyway, those who know me know I could go on for about eleven pages about why we’re doing this, but for the sake of anyone committed enough to still be reading here are the dot points.

  • Ecologically we need to think about where all this junk ends up. We don’t need it. Let’s not buy it in the first place.
  • We don’t have space in our lives, our hearts, our home for so much stuff.
  • Financially next year is going to be a challenge. Big Poppa will be studying full time and only able to work as much as studies and Dad duties will allow. I’m working half time, so our only guaranteed income will be my half pay each fortnight.
  • In an ideal world I want Little Fearse to grow up as a more aware consumer than her parents. I hope, eventually, that she will learn the difference between “want” and “need” and incorporate that into her life philosophy. First time parenting is full of such ideals.

We might need your help throughout the year. We don’t want you to help us by buying us things. That would entirely defeat the purposes outlined above. If we are in need of something and struggling to find it though our usual channels (Ebay, Freecycle, Zilch etc) we may ask through here if anyone has said thing lying around unused, or available for loan. If you’re keen to be of help keep your eye on the blog.

Thanks for reading, one loyal reader who made it this far. (Hi Mum!)

Be kind to each other,

Mama Fearse xoxox