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The Year of Less

How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
Narrated by: Cait Flanders
Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,603 ratings)
Regular price: $24.49
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Publisher's Summary

In her late 20s, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy - only keeping her from meeting her goals - she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year.

The Year of Less documents Cait's life for 12 months during which she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, gas for her car. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping. She decluttered her apartment and got rid of 70 percent of her belongings; learned how to fix things rather than throw them away; researched the zero-waste movement; and completed a television ban.

At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt. Blending Cait's compelling story with inspiring insight and practical guidance, The Year of Less will leave you questioning what you're holding on to in your own life - and, quite possibly, lead you to find your own path of less.

©2018 Cait Flanders (P)2018 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"If you've ever felt there must be more to life than consumerism and its vicious cycle, you'll find inspiration to break free in The Year of Less. Cait's highly readable and personal story is encouraging, challenging, and unbelievably helpful." (Joshua Becker, author of The More of Less)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Twenty-something coming of age

While I initially dove into this book with the hopes of being inspired to declutter, shop less, and simplify life all together, I soon realized this was actually a memoir of reflection and discovering how to become an adult. The author Cait has a special place in my heart now, as she put into words the challenges and blind spots living in your twenties throws at you. Being a mother and 15 years her senior, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the self-consuming thoughts and focus one has at that age. So while this book may not offer resounding help for an older adult with a family (with lots of shopping needs) I know it will help me think more about saving money and rethink some absent-minded shopping habits. This would be a good read for someone setting out on their own life so they can learn how to budget and think about their (retirement) future. She made a good point: that decluttering actually helps you learn more about who you are with the decisions you make of what to keep, and also what items you buy deliberately to last. Lastly, this story can help us remember to have more empathy for others, that some people put on a good face, but may actually suffer from depression or loneliness.

105 of 108 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Trite message with horrendous Narration

If anyone had any sense, they would have stopped her within the first five minutes and gotten pretty much anyone else to read this book. This was the author?! The way she was reading this sounded like she didn't care about anything she was saying, which was painful to listen to and impossible to care about as a reader. What a horrible waste of a credit. I bet the book itself would have been more compelling because the message is a valid one but the tone of the writing along with the abysmal quality of the audio narration makes me want to steer clear.

65 of 71 people found this review helpful

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A Personal Story, Not A Self Hell Book

I really wanted to like this, I really did. I can relate to being a young adult looking for fulfillment in having less, but this novel was JUST the author recounting her life. At least it was 1 hour in. So already, 1/5 of the book is the author talking about her life. I understand a certain level, being that this is autobiographical, but I really didn’t see how this much was necessary. So if you are looking for tips/guidance to living a minimalistic life, you won’t find it here unless you grind through the authors blog-style-writing.

The narration by the author is serviceable, but not THAT good either. I found myself not minding after awhile though.

26 of 28 people found this review helpful

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More of a memoir than an instruction book

This book revolves much around Flanders' year and it is more of a memoir than a self-help book. Honestly, the author's life is not that interesting. I got bored of her life's details and stopped listening in the middle. I really didn't need to know Flanders' long-distance boyfriend and how it ended. This hasn't much to do with minimalism.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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Finished it

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Spoiler alert!
The premise is great; however, I could have done without the family drama details. I was looking for more of a motivational story and tips for decluttering & stopping impulse shopping. I listened to this story and finally had to increase the speed because the narrator's voice was grating.

Would you be willing to try another book from Cait Flanders? Why or why not?

Not really

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Year of Less?

The details regarding her mother & step-father's divorce and her reaction to it.

32 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Your Epiphany

Great Daily Deal $1.95
This is about you, if you need a good therapy session for the price of the daily deal.
If you need a list of how to, then this may not do the trick. See Goodbye Things, author Fumio Sasaki which changed my life from a daily deal.
I do use the 1.25x speed to match the author’s intent. No,author is not an Audible narrator, but in the intro she tells you she is a person who can be or was out of control. BUT she is committed to making big changes in her life e.g. losing 30 lbs in 1 yr, getting rid of $30k debts in 2 yrs.
This book is about affirmations for you via a lady who was out of control, took action, but more importantly she wrote it down on a blog, hence the overflow notes are the results of this book.
If you are a recovering shop-aholic as I am, and need a boost to get back on tract of spending less, then this book is for you.
Spending should be considered a treatable disease, just like Alcoholism. If you are frustrated, and want a quick fix, think of AA steps because very few self help books nail it in one, just don’t give up.
Were my comments helpful?

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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I could not put this down

Would you listen to The Year of Less again? Why?

I loved this book. It was not what I expected it was a such a good story one we can all learn from. I loved the honesty it was refreshing. I felt so proud of this young lady and I am so happy she wrote this book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Year of Less?

Her honesty made me feel bot sad at times at at other times happy for her.

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite scene was when she Tod the story of how she morned her parents divorce. It really helped me look at letting go in a different way.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The part that moved me was what an amazing best friend she had and what she would do for her.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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Wish the author's personality shown through more

I liked the theme but wish the author's personality showed through more in her narration. I recommend finding her "author talk" about the book at Google and watching that video instead.

After a few chapters in, I started listening to just the first 3 minutes and the last 3 minutes of each chapter. I didn't understand how the personal stories, which made up the bulk of each chapter, related to the theme of the book.

I also found the writing style to be repetitive. The author literally said the same sentences 2-3 times throughout each chapter. Perhaps the style makes sense in a blog format, but it didn't work for me in this book.

I will be "spending less" by returning this and getting my money back. If you're looking for something in this vein I recommend "Frugalwoods" instead of this, or checking out the author's blog.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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great life lessons, financial advice & motivation

I really loved this book, so much heart and great wisdom from this writer. I hope to read more from her soon.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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So so so insightful!

This book is the perfect read for anyone who just made a purchase they regret or who ever made a purchase they regretted. It gives a fantastic outline to follow for anyone who wants to make more mindful decisions about consumerism. Thanks Cait!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Catherine Oliver
  • 02-20-18

Quite a lot of moaning

If you fancy listening to someone moan about their life then this is the book for you! It kind of sucks the energy out of you but it has made me think a little bit about a few changes I’d like to make. I wouldn’t waste your time with this audiobook.

81 of 81 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-08-18

Deciving title

This is more autobiography and definity not a book about spending less or anything about living and spending only on necessities.
Do not get me wrong her story is inspirational. But book talks about her life not about year of no spend. She barely talks about it at all. I expected a book about how she came to decision to do it; how she started; what she found the hardest; how she coped; what would be her advice for other people who are thinking of doing the same; etc.
I was disappointed and had hard time getting to the end of the book.
Narrator was speaking clearly and enunciated well but I found her monotone and a bit boring. It just made it harder to listen to.

34 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Louise
  • 02-11-18

Not what it says on the cover

I have listened to over an hour and a half of this and have decided to return it. It’s not about the Author’s year of not spending, it’s more an exploration of the troubles in her life and her various addictions. I’m really not interested in reading about failed relationships and battles with alcoholism, I just wanted to know about the year of not spending much money.
The book is definitely not what the title leads you to believe.

87 of 89 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • 07-04-18

big disappointment-am returning

I thought this was a book about what it says-which is a self-help manual about living with less and cutting down the shopping habit. I was quickly disappointed. Instead it turned out to be a memoir about someone who had an alcohol and eating problem. I then read other reviews which said similar, that it was dull and that it dealt with a relationship break-up etc. If I had wanted to read about someone I had never heard of and their life disasters I wold have made that choice. Yes it says memoir in the small print apparently but I found it in the self-help section of Audible. I was not impressed and stopped it after a couple of chapters. Am returning

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • guido de jesus fontgallon flores
  • 11-19-18

waste of time

it was a completely waste of my time I thought it was a book about minimalism but it was about her life eating, drinking and taking drugs.
don't buy it

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Jules P
  • 04-24-18

Very disappointed with this, utterly dull .

Not as described, more like an auto biography of a normal person, with very occasional passing reference to the actual topic!!

skip straight to the last chapter when she finally sums it all up, for what it's worth.

Also I found the narrators voice really irritating.

Did not like this at all - complete waste of money!! So maybe I did learn a lesson.... 🤔 Don't believe publishers hype!!! IT was certainly not true in this case!! Awful book!!!!

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • FaMa
  • 08-06-18

Disappointing

I had expected this to have more substance. Whilst the author does cover what changes she made, she also goes into her own personal life a lot which at times seems irrelevant and space fillers to pad out the book.

It could be done in half the time imo.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-21-19

Totally self indulgent, like a teenagers diary

The pros- it made me think a little bit about how I spend money.
Cons- not spending money was a side- theme of the book, and instead the book was a self indulgent memoir of a girl I’ve never heard of. This element of it was a total drag to listen to, and not inspiring or motivational.
The narration sounded drab and insincere to me, considering this was meant to be her passion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-01-18

Life changing

I was so excited to hear that Cait was releasing a booking after being an avid follower of the podcast she creates with Carrie for the past 12 months. Last year I started my own shopping ban thanks to Caits story. I too was a blackout spender, I was in thousands of pounds of debt and was facing the very real possibility that I was about to lose my business. I decided to take control of my finances, listening to much of the advice given on the podcast. I gave myself to March 18 to get out of debt and I am so pleased to say thanks to all Caits (& Carries) advice, Jan 18 was the month I officially can say I got out of debt. Not only that, my home has been completely decluttered, my business is thriving and my mental and physical well being is so much healthier. The book was the icing on the cake to finish off such a successful year and I couldn't recommend it highly enough. I'm sure it will have the ability to change many more lives.

Thanks Cait!

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-22-18

Brave, inspiring & motivating.

Far greater than a stuffy 'self help' book, this reads more like a diary of someone desperately trying to better themselves. We feel all the motivation & each set back, forcing us to take a look at our own spending habits as Cait struggles through her self-set challenge to find greater meaning & appreciation of what she already has. Loved this book & will be taking on the life lessons as soon as I finish this review!

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-06-18

Didn't love it

I was recommended this book by an instagram I follow which is along the lines of minimalism, self improvement and living a stress free, simple life. This book unfortunately didn't make me feel inspired at all, it felt like I was listening to a friend complain about her life troubles for hours and didn't actually gain any helpful or inspiring tips. Did not finish it but tried hard to get through as much as I could.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Holly Priddis
  • 02-25-18

Not particularly inspiring

Would you try another book written by Cait Flanders or narrated by Cait Flanders?

Unlikely

Would you be willing to try another book from Cait Flanders? Why or why not?

Not likely, the book was not particularly inspiring or engaging. I am not sure what I expected but it was more a personal story of self discovery then the actual process of minimising. Throughout her life she had repeated challenged addiction (and good on her) I just didn't find the book inspiring.

What didn’t you like about Cait Flanders’s performance?

The narrator was quite monotone and lacked enthusiasm and animation

Did The Year of Less inspire you to do anything?

Nope

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Clare
  • 01-13-19

Relatable and applicable.

Having listened to the author’s podcast Honest Money Conversations (fka Budgets and Cents, I think) and reading the occasional blog post, I was surprised at how Flanders really went all in with sharing her story that I hadn’t known that much of before. I listened to this twice over Summer and appreciated hearing about how she figured out some tricky life lessons. She takes the listener (reader) on a journey through figuring out what really mattered in many aspects of her life, and how she journeyed to better financial freedom and clarity by stripping back her spending and challenging herself not to buy any non-essentials. I’d recommend this to anyone interested in simple living, careful spending, navigating adult-hood, minimalism, travel, or just hearing someone’s wonderful story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-15-18

90% story 10% information

Not what I expected. Felt like 90% story and 10% useful information. Some of the diversions into her life story were unnecessary and dragged on. If you've downloaded it already and are struggling to finish skip to chapter 15 and get the short version of the useful information.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anna
  • 01-20-19

A must read!

I felt like Cait was talking about my life, and it’s challenged me to be more aware, conscious and to set my goals in 2019 to spend less and save more!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-18-18

amazing book, so many great moments! thank u Cait

this was just what I needed.. serendipity at its best. thank you for being you

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  • Amber Dickson
  • 06-08-18

Good book

Narrator Kate was enjoyable to listen to. There was alot of backstory i thought dragged a lil but still a good overall book and was inspired to tackle my junk room. I'm pretty less is more for rest of house but that back junk room is where it all ends up haha.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Shaz
  • 05-23-18

LOVED IT

LOVED IT :)
REALLY ENJOYED HER STORY, AND HER MANY TIPS!
MAKES YOU THINK TWICE BEFORE BUYING ANOTHER ITEM. :)

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kirsten
  • 05-19-18

very honest

a great honest book about realising what is important. as someone who is striving to live a more minimilist life - this book was an incredible journey and realisation that proved our life is more than our posessions.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Laure
  • 05-06-18

Cait's year of less

What Cait accomplished is great and she shares some great life lessons.
Tone of voice is very monotone and can be a downer at times. The story is not all dark and it could do with more peps.
This is not the story about how to do it but about how she did it. This is good to know if you dont know what to expect.