Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Year without a Purchase: One Family's Quest to Stop Shopping and Start Connecting by Scott Dannemiller

Scott Dannemiller pokes fun at his own book, The Year Without a Purchase, One Family’s Quest to Stop Shopping and Start Connecting. It’s a book about not buying anything, so anyone who buys his book, he points out, is automatically a failure. As an alternative—you can check it out from the Virginia Beach Public Library.

The quintessence of Dannemiller’s faith-based book is that experience builds relationship and as such outlives material goods. His account is thought provoking and inspirational. I like the idea he picked up from President Obama, a family dinnertime game called Thorns and Roses. Each person shares a good moment from his day and a not so good moment. As the Dannemiller family incorporates the game into their challenge, they begin to treasure their daily experiences. They also learn  a deterrent to buying more: gratitude, for what they already own.

To align with their original mission to live life on purpose, with purpose, the Dannemiller’s set three rules. They allow themselves to buy groceries, gas, and hygiene products, get broken stuff fixed and give gifts as long as they are in the form charitable donations or experiences. Gabby, the author’s wife, calculates the family’s charitable donations at the end of the year. To the young couple's surprise, they have given more, while simultaneously reaping more togetherness. In the long run, the family gets creative. When their young child is invited to a birthday party, they brainstorm and put together the contents of a science experiment they find online along with the instructions as a birthday gift. The gift is a hit!

This is a very funny and honest book. The author is forthright about his personal challenges—realizing at one point that he is eating to make up for not being able to buy things.

Want more ideas on how to do less shopping, but still enjoy life?  Try this book from the Virginia Beach Public Library collection: Living Well, Spending Less : 12 secrets of the Good Life by Ruth Soukup.

Review by Sandi H

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