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The Year without a Purchase: One Family's Quest to Stop Shopping and Start Connecting

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  466 ratings  ·  121 reviews
The Year without a Purchase is the story of one family's quest to stop shopping and start connecting. Scott Dannemiller and his wife, Gabby, are former missionaries who served in Guatemala. Ten years removed from their vow of simple living, they found themselves on a never-ending treadmill of consumption where each purchase created a desire for more and never led to true s ...more
Paperback, first, 200 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Westminister John Knox Press (first published July 21st 2015)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is a story of a family that vows not to make any purchases for a year. Food, gas, and toothpaste are OK BUT clothes, new appliances, and gifts are Not OK. The beginning of the book is quite interesting but it then gets repetitive. I also found the book blurb to be misleading. The book has a very Christian focus and each chapter begins with a bible passage. I personally found this a bit off-putting. All that being said the book did make this reader think about how she spends money and why we ...more
Dec 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
I was intrigued by the concept of making no purchases for a year. This book is misleading in that they find loopholes and don't seem to be people who truly would benefit from the experiment. They begin with and given their prior mission work, they already know firsthand how the other half lives. I personally find it ironic that the author is basing all of it on Scripture yet nothing seems done with a humble heart. And funnier that they are profiting from this. While I see the v ...more
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the beginning but then I lost interest and skimmed. Made me think about where and why I spend my money.
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
First: This book is funny.

Second: It has a Christian slant.

Even though I'm not a Christian, I appreciate (and feel I share) Scott's core values: love, compassion, and service. He and his family used the year of not buying stuff to dive more deeply into these values. And that Scott does it with such a fun sense of humor made this book a good read.

I also learned some important things. Did you know the U.S. throws away 30-40 percent of its food supply? And that Americans throw away roughly 400,000
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: wwjr, simplify
This was a witty little book about a guy and his wife and their one-year-deal to not spend any money on anything but groceries and other absolute essentials for staying alive. Some chapters were pretty good, some were less good. It's a book that I read in drips and drabs. Nothing explosive here, but I like books about simplifying your life and cutting out the excess. The author seems like a fun guy to sit next to at a party. A strong 3 stars. ...more
Maddie Spilde
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
LOVE LOVE LOVED this book!! It did make me feel guilty for all of the things I currently have and also would like to have, but also left me with the realization that we live with SO much. This book helped me to want to take action in 2019 to become less held down by “things” and more motivated to connect and build my relationships!!
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of the book for review purposes.

I enjoyed this book. It contains timely and important issues facing most of us in industrialized (not third-world) nations. The author's self-deprecating, humorous tone throughout made this a very readable book, but I could have stood a little less self-deprecating humor and perhaps a few less TMI topics (really didn't need to know about their reproductive decisions) and a little more pl
Laura Cheifetz
Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read this book!

This is a really fun book to read. The author is hilariously self-deprecating, and his references to faith are gentle and genuine instead of tossing the Bible at your face. I grew up with experience gifts, which I sometimes still give to kids, so it was fun to read about this family's experiences of avoiding things in favor of experiences.

I did get bent out of shape regarding a baptism done outside of church with no church accountability or authorization, which is about me, becau
Dec 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
What cool idea. The preface explains why most people will not like this book. The reason, Dannemiller explains, is that most people think the book will be boring. The book was not boring but it was unreadable. Each chapter starts out with a verse from the bible. Not my thing, but I get what is going on there. Dannnemiller and his wife Gabby, were missionaries for a year. They are very religious. Great. Fine. Good. Moving on. The problem is, Dannemiller paints himself as a Fred Flintsone type. Hi ...more
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book but I lived it so I'm not an unbiased reviewer. I think people should read the book because it's funny and truth-telling and interesting. I've always thought Scott had such a way with words and am so proud of him for writing about our family's yearlong challenge. ...more
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it
This book has some great insights into our culture of consumerism. I especially enjoyed reading about how they handled Christmas and the service work they did with their children. His sense of humor is not my thing so it was distracting sometimes, but overall a good read.
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
Didn't think I would like this, but it has been interesting and funny. Gives you some things think about in relation to all the "stuff" we feel we need to buy. A quick read. Enjoyed it. ...more
Sean Goh
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith, pers-dev, relating
A joy to read, written in the author's jocular tone. He doesn't take himself too seriously, even as he and his wife do their utmost to take their quest seriously. Found the multiple euphemisms for a vasectomy rather childish, but that's a minor detraction.

Why would anyone want to write a book about not buying stuff? anyone who actually buys the book would probably feel like a failure from the word 'go'. [Good thing I picked it up at the library XD]

It's one of those wonderful reflective conver
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Year without a Purchase: One Family's Quest to Stop Shopping and Start Connecting by [Dannemiller, Scott]This book caught my attention with t he title. I opened it with doubt that the title could be true. Then the author, Scott Dannemiller offered and "Introduction to the Worst Book Ever". I like the way he approached the concept of this book with humor and insight.

To begin he decided to stop any reckless spending for a year. So he and his wife, Gabby, came up with specific rules, so they w
Arlena Dean
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Title: A Year Without A Purchase
Author: Scott Dannemiller
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: 5

"A Year Without A Purchase: One Family's Quest to Stop Shopping and Start Connecting" by Scott Dannemiller

What I enjoyed from this read.....

I found this novel very interesting...something to really think on long after the read. There were several ideas presented that did give me reasons to think upon from this author. With all of the consumerism that goes on just
Vicki - I Love Reading
Feb 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2016
A very interesting read. I give this book 3.5 stars.
I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but the title had me intrigued.
A year without a purchase, is that even possible. I'm really not sure I could manage it.
I did it for a week once, but that was because I was laid up in bed after surgery and my internet was down, so I couldn't shop online.
But yeah once I got started with this, it did turn out to be very interesting. I liked when they were not sure if a purchase was allowed and di
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book faster than it took to write this review. How can I express what I think without sounding sappy and too "adjective-y"?

Scott is one of the funniest writers I have had the joy of reading. He's super silly and creative and makes you think, "Yes! I was thinking that, but didn't know how to express it like that!". He also has this uncanny ability to start with a topic that may be hilarious and superficial and slowly change the subject into something deep and meaningful.

This is this
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
A really excellent, challenging, funny book showing one family's journey to "own what they have" for a year. Sometimes these books can just feel like a giant guilt trip in the sense that someone else both thought of and executed such a selfless act, but it felt like they shared the whole story (guts and gore and all) and knew that it wasn't a holier-than-all thing to do. It felt like an invitation to participate in their challenge with them. Highly recommended.
*Full disclosure, I got an advanced
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I thought it was a really interesting concept and I loved the style of writing. In no way was the author holier than thou; he was a normal married guy trying to raise his two kids the best that he can in our American age of consumerism, while wanting to do something different to 'get back to basics' and live out his Christian values. He freely admits where he failed and where he struggled....well worth the read. ...more
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
read with a small group at church for Lent. funny, not at all preachy (which, considering the topic is surprising), plenty to ponder and lots to talk about!
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was looking up books about anti-consumerism when I stumbled upon this title. I used an itunes gift card I got from my brother for my birthday 4 days prior to purchase it as an ebook. I ended up blasting through it in less than 2 days.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this is a christian book; Christ and his teachings are a big motivator in my decision to live a more minimalist life. However, at first I didn't like the author's humour (it made me roll my eyes in more than one place),
Linda Layne
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I found Scott Dannemiller's book entertaining as well as thought provoking. It was an enjoyable read which I managed to finish in a few days. Curiosity led me to pull it off the shelves at the public library and once I began reading it, I found it difficult to put it down.

If someone is interested in simplifying their life, reading this book might give them some ideas of where or how to start. It has good suggestions for anyone looking for inventive ways to save money and learn to appreciate wha
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The Year Without a Purchase" is a funny yet practical read on how to deal with stuff. It is one thing to be able to afford basic necessities, but it's also a challenge when you can afford more than that. Where do we draw the line of 'enough is enough'. The book also shares tips on how to let go and not be imprisoned by the crap that we buy which we don't really need but they create lots of stress in our lives. Not for the faint-hearted! ...more
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Entertaining and enjoyable with just the right amount of serious reflection thrown in. A non-Christian reader might be turned off by all the scriptural references, but I didn't think it was excessive and what do you expect? The guy is a Christian blogger and a worship leader in the Presbyterian church.

I took away a few stars because of his writing style. I'm all for humor in writing but the jokiness was so excessive it felt clunky and kind of got in the way of the story.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful non-fiction book about a set of parents who take on the challenge of living one full year without purchasing items other than the essentials for living (food, household items). Each chapter has a description of their experiences along with their reactions and how they cope with issues such as birthday parties, special outings, and the feelings that going along with customary giving. I found that each chapter had me thinking as well about what it means to give of oneself.
Luke Plant
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this story of one family’s challenge to not buy anything - easy to read and short chapters which I appreciated. I’m grateful it didn’t try to be a motivational self-help book and wasn’t preachy (mostly), but rather it just told the stories of the ups and downs the family experienced that year and some of their lessons and observations. I did start losing interest in the second half of the book and thought it good have been a couple of chapters shorter, but overall enjoyed it.
Laronda Blessing
Aug 29, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I'd read the book a few years and decided to re-skim it before giving it away. It's a relatively quick read, and while not the deepest reflection on consumerism and breaking the habit of purchasing our way to everything, I found it a worthwhile read. The writing is a bit uneven, some chapters are filled with corny humor, some are a tad self-satisfied, but overall, it's got informative statistics, relatable family experiences, and some lessons to share. ...more
Sheila Thornton
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A year of intentional living

I enjoyed this book. It was a conversation about one family's choice to live with what they owned. To find answers to questions they had about HOW they lived. I loved their choice to grow towards people rather than things. To live with more experiences rather than " objects." Sounds like a good answer for a lot of us. Takes a huge commitment and a lot of courage to carry it through a full year. Good for thought and action.......

Marci Dodds
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was not what I was expecting. It is not a "how-to" book on how to go a year without spending, but it is a fun journey with one family on the things they learned along the way about consumerism, connecting with family and friends and just how to serve others with the love of Christ. A very easy and enjoyable read. ...more
Debra Oehlberg
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It Made Me Think!

I thought I was a generous Christian, but this book made me reconsider the definition of generous! It was serious, funny, and each chapter explained a verse of the Bible quite well. It also proves that the average American really has few needs, only wants! Very well-written, and is increasingly heart felt as the story progresses.
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