“The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders explores a Canadian millennial woman’s yearlong goal of not spending money on superfluous items such as new clothes and music to increase her savings account and adopt a minimalist lifestyle. More of memoir than a self-help book, her journey is uninteresting but enlightening.
Cait works in media and finds herself overindulging in alcohol, fast fashion, and toxic relationships, which tires her as she embarks on a journey to spend less to save money for the important experiences such as vacations. In the process, she learns more about herself while seeing her parents divorce and her career taking a turn away from satisfaction.
Her overindulgences seem pretty normal for many people with the alcoholic purchases and having toxic relationships, but she tries to emphasize how these are major wake-up calls that made her spend less. Her parents get divorced, another common occurrence, while she finds her telecommuting job isn’t fulfilling her anymore though she should be content working from home. But this leads to her following a freelance career with getting rid of 70% of her material possessions in her home and using her savings to take small vacations throughout North America.
She blogged about her experiences, which led to this book, and it is interesting to see the little steps to meeting her goals and questioning the validity of having certain things in her life. But not all blogs need a whole book. This could’ve been more of a worksheet-type, how-to-do-it book. The moral of the story is spending less to clear your mind is attainable, but the memoir part weighs it down, where possibly the science behind her actions (reminiscent of an Arianna Huffington book) could’ve been mentioned with tips interwoven into the story. The tips come at the end, but they are obvious tips.