Living without money and the trappings of wealth is easy to visualize, but another thing entirely when it hits the “Let’s make this a lifestyle” phase. Yet one woman has made it happen. Heidemarie Schwermer, a self-sufficient, 69-year-old from Germany, has lived without spending a single a single euro for more than 16 years.
Opting out of ‘greedy consumer society’
Schwermer is actively attempting to convince anyone who will listen that “greedy consumer society” prevents individuals from achieving a better quality of life and personal freedom, reports Bankrate. A recent documentary film called “Living Without Money” highlights her philosophy. While U.S. audiences may balk at the fact that as a European, Schwermer is entitled to more social services and hence can afford to live a cashless life. However, Schwermer’s ideas on frugal living are plentiful.
Bartering for life
Initially, Heidemarie Schwermer opened a barter shop for people to exchange goods and services. She wanted to see if she could go just a single year living without money. After selling all of her possessions except for a suitcase full of clothes, Schwermer saw what she described as a path to happiness. She gave up her job and her apartment, and began to live the life of a nomad, without money. Since then, she has traded services like housekeeping and gardening for food and lodging. All proceeds from her three books on the journey have gone to charity.
The challenges of living without money
Alternative lifestyles like Schwermer’s aren’t easy to adopt. She’s constantly on the move, yet this affords her the opportunity to meet new people and stay in touch with old friends. Where she will sleep, how she’ll get there and where her next meal will come from aren’t sources of worry for her, note the makers of the “Living Without Money” documentary. Schwermer is dynamic and open to new experiences; she lives in the moment.
A parasite on the run
Heidemarie Schwermer’s life without money has been an inspiration to some, a target of ire for others who call her a “parasite.” Nearly any family or group of friends has that one person who is happy to live off the fruits of others without contributing anything of real value in return. However, Schwermer doesn’t see herself as one of “those” people. Her unbridled willingness to contribute services in exchange for room and board are a “visionary source of inspiration” for some, say the film’s producers. For her, living without money is an escape hatch from materialism and over-consumption.