I honestly don't know why I read the entire book The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living, by Mark Boyle.
This entire "living frugal/living without money" genre is one that I never particularly enjoy, but yet I can't stop reading them anyway. I think subconsciously I'm looking for money-saving tips that don't have anything to do with extreme couponing. I already try to spend as little money as possible (I spent the entire summer babying my one pair of shorts along, sometimes hand-washing them, so they didn't develop big holes and I could make them last through the summer), but I do not like couponing.
Unfortunately this book was an extreme version of its kind. Boyle spent a year living in the UK with absolutely no money--living in a trailer, creating his own power/electricity, using a woodstove, biking or hitching anywhere he needed to go, and doing everything he could to get the word out about moneyless living. I guess it wasn't a boring read--I did make it through the whole thing--but I can't say I really enjoyed it. There's a lot of this sort of thing:
"...if I wanted bread, I was going to have to come up with a new solution. And I did. I decided that although I loved bread, it would have to be a treat. Instead, I would sprout the grains. This means sprinkling a layer of rye grains along a couple of stacked, perforated trays and rinsing them with water twice a day until they sprout. This only takes five minutes and so is much less effort, for more nutritional gain, than making bread. Although not quite so pleasing to taste and smell!" (p. 28.)
Oh brother. It's all I can do to get through the day even when I just buy my bread like a sucker.* Experiments like this are just too extreme for me, I'll admit it. But I have to give the guy credit for trying something a little different with his life, and for writing the book about it.
*I also wouldn't be much good as a moneyless woman. Here's what Boyle has to say on certain, ahem, feminine needs: "For coping with periods without money, there is an obvious solution that even I know about: a mooncup. This is a rubber cup, which the user inserts in her vagina to collect the menstrual flow. It's held in place over the cervix by suction." (p. 180.) At the risk of sounding twelve, I've got only two words in response to that idea: icky poo.