This 2016 book by Annie Raser-Rowland and Adam Grubb (authors of The Weed Forager’s Handbook) contains 51 short sweet chapters about how to enjoy life without spending money. A book after my own heart.

From ‘Create your own normal’ to ‘Sup at the cultural buffet’, Annie and Adam guide you through the meandering journey of joy without dollars. Drawing on everything from neurochemistry to peasant culture, they explore wonderful ways to live without spending money thoughtlessly: ‘…let this book be your primer for a life less dependent on the comforts of consumption, and more focused on extracting maximum pleasure from the most essential parts of being human.’ I like the idea of spending less money out of a sense of abundance rather than lack.

My imagination was really set on fire when I reached chapter 2: Relish, in which Annie describes her childhood pleasure of plunging her arm into each dry bean bin at the bulk food store. She’s not suggesting that adults go out and try this, but it got me thinking about what actually feels good that goes unnoticed in my life because it’s free. How finely can I tune my sense?

Three free sensory things I’ve enjoyed this month: when I drove through the rain in Perth, and I went under a bridge on the freeway, the drum of rain on the roof paused for a second until I came out the other side. I don’t know why I liked this but I did.

Second, walking barefoot on the shoreline and noticing the way the damp sand turns pale under the pressure of my foot, just for a few seconds. Watching each foot press the sand around it drier in a halo, left, right, left, right, like a pulse as I walk.

Third, I was snuggled up with my son in a soft blanket. I don’t even have a dog, but there were a couple of animal hairs on it, and they had become charged with static electricity. He thought the hair was magnetically attracted to the blanket, by the speed of it falling. He spent some time gleefully holding a single dog hair near the blanket and letting it go, and watching it zip sideways. Playing with recharging it by rubbing, holding it at different angles, different heights, using different hairs. No batteries, no plastic, no movie merchandising, no shopping, not even a dog! Just a hair on a blanket.

October is Buy Nothing New Month in Australia, so this book arrived at the perfect time for me. Share it with your friends and gather a tribe around you to set a new social norm of wild thrifty pleasures!

Thanks Annie and Adam, for giving me the licence to see the fun in a hairy blanket. My son didn’t need encouragement to play with the world, but us adults sometimes need a bit of prompting. What does your frugal hedonist want to play with today?

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