Scott Dannemillers’, THE YEAR WITHOUT A PURCHASE, is one of the best books I have read in quite a while. Filled with personal experiences and plenty of statistics to back him up, Scott explains what prompted his family to stop spending and start connecting with one another and the world at large. Often witty, but ever insightful, he takes us on a journey with his wife Gabby from their early careers, to their year as missionaries in Guatemala, to raising 2 children in middle class suburbia in a world where he with the most toys (shiny stuff) wins.
It all starts with realizing they have more than they need, but are still consuming goods because the world tells us we are the sum of what we have. He shows the reader through his own experiences that our constant buying or consuming is an attempt to find self-worth in a society that sets its standard on what we own. We actually draw our identity all too often by what we purchase. We often buy new rather than fix, we seldom hand down items or buy used, and we fret over the gifts we give, rather than the person we are giving them to.
At the end of the year the Dannemillers’ realize their experiment, although not perfect, allowed them to increase their connection and appreciation of one another, as well as other members of their family. It wasn’t what they bought, but the time and experiences they shared. It allowed them to volunteer their time and more of their money to charities that were dear to their heart and taught their children the value of giving to others of their treasure, time and talent. It deepened their faith and allowed them to realize what we really all crave and search for is the love of God and how we can share that love with one another.
Personally, I don’t think anyone can read this book and not contemplate how we are using and spending our money. When reaching for the latest gadget in the store or the new electronic device one can pause for just a moment and ask “do I really need this or do I want this” or “will this increase my happiness”. May-be the Dannemillers’ experiment is not for everyone, but I plan to consider all my purchases with a little more careful consideration. I will also contemplate how I am using my time in service to others. And at the very least I will keep my 2016 New Year Resolution of at least sticking to my budget.
I highly recommended this book. I appreciate being given a copy of THE YEAR WITHOUT A PURCHASE for a fair and honest review.
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