If you’re looking a book purely about decluttering and spending less you’ll be disappointed in this book. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders is so much more than that. I tried reading that cult favourite book which asks you to take every item you own and hold it in your hands, see if it sparks joy, then throw it out if it didn’t. That book didn’t spark any joy so I threw it out. The Year of Less has its own electric current and I struggled to put it down.
Cait Flanders is a well-known blogger and freelance writer living in BC, Canada. I’ve been a blogger since 2006 and a freelance copywriter for almost as long and so can tell you, it’s rare to see anyone write so openly, honestly and so compellingly about alcohol dependency, consumerism, mental health and facing and overcoming it all in a brave and inspiring way.
Cait tells us what led to the decision of starting a year-long shopping ban, how the challenge was set up, what she could and couldn’t buy and we live with her through that year, and beyond. We see events unfurl in her life that threaten to break her, we look at things in her past that have shaped who she is today (or during the period the book was written about) and we look at where she finds herself after the year of less, and beyond. This is a personal journey for Cait that she generously decided to share with all of us and in doing so offers inspiration to countless others struggling with the pressures and expectations life likes to heap on top of us.
There are many books out there which tell of how a person has reinvented themselves or found the “true them”. Some are tongue in cheek, some hilarious and some rather dark. The Year of Less offers a lot of this and yet is somewhat unique in that it is written in a refreshingly matter-of-fact way.
This is a beautifully designed book that is easy to read (you don’t want to put it down) which glows with a truth that’s hard to deny. If you’re not sure what I mean by that read it. There’s a little of all of us in Cait Flanders and I for one wish there was more of Cait Flanders’ bloodymindedness in me!
If I was the sort to hand out stickers and give people star ratings The Year of Less would get a solid 5/5.
Find out more about Cait on her website and purchase her book from all major retailers (you won’t be sorry).
Hay House Publishing were kind enough to send me this book to read and review. My thoughts about the content are entirely my own.
Budgeting, cutting costs and making your money go further is something that the majority aspire to. The UK economy over the past decade has hit many hard with the gap between price rises and wage increases widening, the overall cost of living rocketing and firms downsizing or closing down meaning a loss of jobs.
While the economy does seem to be improving most are still working hard to ensure that they live well within their means in case of being bitten by financial uncertainty in the future. I myself have completely reorganised the way our family finances work as Roy has been made redundant twice in the past year. We are mindful of meal planning, have cut our food budget considerably, have a wealth of fun activities for the kids dreamed up which cost little or nothing and have worked to become a very green family (both cutting energy costs and helping with the environment).
The one set of expenditures which we have struggled with are our transport costs. Roy drives to another town now for work and so our petrol costs which were negligible before as he often walked to work have jumped up considerably. We’ve also had to take into account the fact that we have more wear and tear on the car to consider so the potential for higher maintenance and repair bills is ever present.
From a fuel point of view we’ve taken advantage of the Tesco Fuel Save scheme which sadly ends in February next year as well as taken steps to reduce our fuel consumption. As far as spares and repairs goes Roy likes to take on some of the work himself, saving himself hundreds of pounds of garage labour costs. Keeping an eye open for vouchers or discounts for places such as Euro Car Parts means that not only does he eliminate labour charges but that he also cuts the costs of parts and equipment.
As I don’t drive myself public transport is something I rely upon quite heavily during the week or through school holidays when Roy is at work and the kids and I fancy a day out. I’ve managed to make real savings using the Family and Friends Railcard, booking in advance and watching for special offers which do of course all add up. To further cut public transport costs I’m considering the idea of us becoming a biking family (don’t laugh!). Look at Wiggle discounts it seems that it might be possible to make real savings off accessories and more associated with biking so we’ll see. First I might need to borrow a bike and see if I can stay on it for more than thirty seconds!
We already walk where possible and fortunately at the moment don’t need to pay for parking at work (Roy) or nearby as everything is again within walking distance.
For all my frugal readers or those wanting to cut back on transport costs what have you got in place to help reduce transport costs? Do share your top tips!