Personal Finance

UK Man Hasn't Used Money in Almost Two Years

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

A UK man claims not to have used money in almost two years, the UK newspaper The Telegraph reports. Mark Boyle, 31, stopped using cash in November 2008. He originally planned to give up using money for one year, but he enjoyed the experiment so much that he decided to continue it indefinitely.

Boyle did spend money setting up his experiment before embarking on it: he bought a solar panel for 360 pounds, planted a garden to grow his own food, and bought a wood-burning stove. He got his home, a caravan, for free on Freecycle.com, and he parks it at an organic farm where he volunteers.

He now finds cash-free alternatives for even the smallest activities: he makes his own toothpaste by combining cuttlefish bone with wild fennel seeds, and concocts laundry detergent from boiled nuts. His veganism makes it easier for him to eat for free, without having to worry about hunting animals or finding another way to obtain meat.

Boyle decided to begin living without money when, in the pub one day, he and his friend realized that money was directly or indirectly responsible for all of the world's problems, such as sweatshops, famine and environmental troubles. Shortly after this realization, Boyle quit his job and sold his houseboat.

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Boyle has published a book about his experiment, "The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living," and he also runs the Freeconomy, an online network whose members share skills and possessions. It has 17,000 members, and includes message forums tackling subjects like how to clean house without spending money on products. Boyle also now writes a biweekly column for Britain's Guardian newspaper, in which he gives tips to others who want to learn to live without money. This brings up the question: does the newspaper pay him for his work? And if so, where does he put the money if he's not spending it?

He finds it somewhat hard to entertain his friends now that he lives without money - instead of going to the pub, he now invites them back to the caravan to sample his homemade cider. And he's not sure how he's going to meet a partner with whom to share this lifestyle. "Because of the book and my blog, a few women seem interested in me," he told the Telegraph. "I’ll be lucky if there’s one woman in the whole country who wants to give up cash for life," Boyle admits, however: "and I might not even fancy her."