Could You Quit Using Money Forever?

the man who quit money bookI don’t think I could do it.  In fact, I don’t think I *WANT* to do it! Haha… but, I think it’s one of the most interesting things in the world someone can do, and I find it all kinds of fascinating.

And apparently so does my friend (and fellow car-giver!) Miss Britt who just read a book on someone who’s actually doing this right now! As insane as it sounds…

The book’s called “The Man Who Quit Money by Mark Sundeen, and it’s about a guy named Daniel Suelo who lives life without touching a cent whatsoever.  I have yet to read it as yet (it’s at the top of my list!), but from Britt’s review, and just looking at Amazon’s summary below, it’s all kinds of crazy :)

Check it out:

In 2000, Daniel Suelo left his life savings – all thirty dollars of it – in a phone booth… [and] has learned to live, sanely and happily, without earning, receiving, or spending a single cent. Suelo doesn’t pay taxes, or accept food stamps or welfare. He lives in caves in the Utah canyonlands, forages wild foods and gourmet discards. He no longer even carries an I.D. Yet he manages to amply fulfill not only the basic human needs-for shelter, food, and warmth-but, to an enviable degree, the universal desires for companionship, purpose, and spiritual engagement.

Now, I’m definitely one who loves getting all hardcore on a mission, but my LORD is that taking it to the extreme! I wouldn’t have the balls or knowhow to even last 7 days, none the less 12 years or however long it’s been, haha… How do you provide for your future, or your kids/family’s future, with nothing saved? Or can you only do it while riding solo? (And what if you got sick or couldn’t physically work anymore?  Is it game over?  Should I just read the book and find out?? ;))

Either way, I think the CHALLENGE itself is great.  And even more so, the potential we all have inside us to actually PULL THIS STUFF OFF when we commit to it 100% like that. Think of all the awesome stuff YOU could accomplish if you pour your hearts into a project and get super creative with it all! That’s how dreams and goals are met, right?  Setting your mind to something and pushing the limits over and over again until you reach it? Maybe y’all are already doing that and reaping the rewards?

As much as this inspires me, it also makes me feel like a big panzy too for even thinking of giving up on my No Mortgage mission! Haha… guys like Daniel are out there killin’ it every single day for something they really believe in (just like my debt-freedom dream), and then here I am complaining of a little extra hustling ;) I gotta start owning up a bit more…

I also thought about my reasons why I couldn’t pull something like this off, other than my wife divorcing me and not being able to blog anymore for a living (it costs money to keep this stuff up!). 

In about 30 seconds I came up with a good 10 or so:

  1. I suck at camping
  2. I could be very lazy at times
  3. I’d have to give up my currency collection ;)
  4. My future baby wouldn’t get any medical attention
  5. I really wanna leave something behind to my family and future generations
  6. I love touching and feeling and managing money in general
  7. I enjoy working on business ideas: non-for-profit AND for-profit
  8. I think paying taxes is pretty important for the general good
  9. I like drinking beer and engaging in other social activities around town
  10. And lastly, I enjoy the ability to go out and by something on demand

So as much as I love the idea of never needing money, or the amazing challenge of accomplishing this feat, deep down I know it’s not for me. But I give Daniel all the respect in the world for getting out there and pulling it off! I don’t know many people at all (or any, really?) who could even come close to doing it. And I’m super excited to pick up the book and live in his shoes for a bit too… then come up with my own wild dream to write about one day, and very much for profit ;)

How about you? Think you could ever pull off a lifestyle like this?  What reasons would be on YOUR list if you were to write a few of ’em out?  If you’ve already read the book, do tell us what you thought! Stuff like this always stops me in my tracks and gets me to reflect a little more in life, and I very much enjoy the mental break.

PS: How do you think he got compensated for the book? ;)

(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)

Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!


  1. Call Me What You Want Even Cheap June 6, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    I definitely don’t think I could pull this off, nor do I have the desire to. Although Daniel is probably happier than most of us because he doesn’t have to think about the day to day stresses of life besides possibly being eaten by bear. Lol

    It would be interesting to know if he has a family. Or maybe they live out there with him. I haven’t read the book, but my feeling is that it may talk about how many things in life we could probably live without and still be happy.

  2. Michelle June 6, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    I wish I could, but I’ve never been camping and I’m horrible when it comes to germs since I’m a huge germaphobic. I would also be extremely paranoid that I’m eating something bad such as in Into The Wild.

    I also went to school for way too long, so I would feel like I’m throwing it all away.

  3. David Hunter June 6, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Sounds like he’s living the dream!

  4. too funny June 6, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    So let me see, he doesn’t use roads that others pay for, he will not use medical care and he doesn’t benefit from the military or fire departments. Sounds like I’m still paying for him.

  5. Daisy June 6, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Not to be a complete skeptic, but he still has clothes and forages the “gourmet” food of others.

    This means not that he quit money, just transferred his source – ie, other people’s money buy him what he needs (whether they throw out whatever it is that he needs, somebody bought that).

  6. Joe @ Retire By 40 June 6, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Noway. I want my son to have an education and it’s almost impossible to do that with no money at all. Sure he can get a scholarship, but I’d need some kind of back up. He’s dooming his descendant to a life of poverty if he ever have one.

  7. Kurt @ Money Counselor June 6, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    I think this is sort of cool, as long as the guy’s not taking advantage of others by letting them spend money on him. I’m a loner, but not a lifestyle I’d want to adopt. Living in caves? Wonder what he does when he needs medical attention. Taxpayers pick up his tab?

  8. Matthew Doyle June 6, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    This would be extremely difficult to pull off, but when it comes to survival I think a lot of would be surprised at the things we could do. I also wonder how truly happy this guys is, but I guess he has done it for quite sometime. Like Daisy said it sounds like he just transferred his source of money. It is like the book “Into The Wild” by John Krakauer. This individual gave up everything to live a life in the wild, but he also used others to survive. This book definitely has me intrigued. I will have to pick it up. Thanks!

  9. LB June 6, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    I saw something like that on PBS and thought Fing insane, no. Fing way! People think I am crazy because I don’t pay for TV, have a small house, no debt and don’t have a data plan for my cell phone, but I think that guy is insane! I like eating good-for-me food, getting health care and living near civilization. No thank you, I don’t even enjoy camping any more nor will I even sleep in a different part of my house. HA!

    Besides I love money, collect money and finally decided on a degree that has eveerything to do with money, so no way I would give it up.

  10. Ron @ Fringe Village June 6, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    How did he write a book without money? Did someone give him a laptop or did he scrawl it out on the cave walls?

  11. The Happy Homeowner June 6, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    It’s totally not realistic but I’ve sort of always wanted to do this, especially reading “My Side of the Mountain” as a kid. Ever since that book, I’ve always had a hidden desire to hollow out my own tree to live in…hahaha.

    But then again, foraging for mac & cheese might not be an option while living in the great wide yonder and that would make me quite sad :)

  12. Stephanie June 6, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    I love money! Heck I work in retail banking, but it’s coming to the time where physical cash is just paperwork. I have dreams of living off the grid in some small cohousing area.
    Unfortunately since my hubby is a engineer our income will most likely always be above homesteader limits. :: sad face ::

    I must get this book though!

  13. SavvyFinancialLatina June 6, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    I couldn’t do it! I am not a very happy camper and I have horrible allergies!

  14. Miss Britt June 6, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    You will LOVE this book. It answers not only all of your logistical questions, but the philosophical ones too. And, like you, it inspired me to stay committed to my own principles.

  15. Nicole June 6, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Hellz to the no!

  16. J. Money June 6, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Love hearing your thoughts – keep ’em coming :)

    @Call Me What You Want Even Cheap – Haha… yes, getting eaten by a bear would surely not be good! :)
    @Michelle – Oooooh that’s an interesting point! I’d imagine you’d have to be debt-free too to give this a shot or else some very angry people would be after you ;)
    @David Hunter – Are you next? :)
    @too funny – I think we have to read the book first to see, but yeah – on first glance it def. looks like society may be paying for some of it…
    @Daisy – For sure – he still eats and gets clothes etc that other people pay for, but he somehow barters for it and/or gets them for free… probably have to read the book for more details I suppose.
    @Joe @ Retire By 40 – That’s what I’m thinking too… although not like the kids would know any different either? Def. a strange one…
    @Kurt @ Money Counselor – I know, I wonder the same!
    @Matthew Doyle – I do agree with that – we are certainily more capable of stuff if we really try hard enough and/or are forced to survive ;) If you end up reading it, let me know what you think. I just went and bought it.
    @LB – Haha, amen to that ;)
    @Ron @ Fringe Village – I bet that guy followed him around and wrote it up (he wasn’t the author of the book). But I was thinking that even if he was, he could always go to a public library and do it? Though would be a long walk from a cave since he doesn’t have a car ;)
    @The Happy Homeowner – Oooh living in a tree sounds cool!! Haven’t heard of that one yet.
    @Stephanie – Do it and tell me what you think!
    @SavvyFinancialLatina – Yeah, would be hard w/ allergies :(
    @Miss Britt – Okay!! Well I just bought it, so I def. am my friend! Thanks again for blogging about it :)
    @Nicole – Haha… +1

  17. Shannon-ReadyForZero June 6, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    I definitely could never do it. As sure as I am that this person has reached a level of contentment and peace in life by not relying on money, I’m too practical to ever take that kind of risk. I had the same initial question you mentioned. What if I get sick? No money equals no medicine or hospital care if it’s needed and, even though I’ve always been very healthy (luckily), that’s just not a risk I’d be willing to take.

  18. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager June 6, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    From Wikipedia: “Suelo states he is not accepting proceeds from the book.” Wonder if the writer did?

    I like camping, but I also dream of having a nicer camper (with a bathroom) and a Jet Boil…

  19. Kris June 6, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Sounds noble, but with a family to support its not even a remote possibility. I wish money wasn’t the driving force behind living in the US, though, it would be nice to be more self sufficient and less reliant on the government, taxes, insurance, and all that crap that we have to deal with.

  20. Lance@MoneyLife&More June 6, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    I wouldn’t ever want to do that. He must have had a rough time with money or something to want to do that. I enjoy the comforts of my lifestyle (even though it doesn’t cost a ton) too much to give it up to not use money. I wonder if he did get compensated or since someone else wrote the book. Maybe he donated the money to charity…

  21. Dannielle @ Odd Cents June 6, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    I have to read that. What does he eat? I’m thinking crazy Survivorman stuff. Ewwwwww.

  22. J. Money June 7, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    @Shannon-ReadyForZero – The only thing I can think is that he’s best buddies with a doctor or two? Or he somehow trades his own services for free health services? We gotta read to find out I guess…
    @Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Oh I’m SURE the author made money from it, it would be crazy not to… although some times they donate proceeds to charities and what not too, so maybe he decided to do something else with it? Someone is getting money ;)
    @Kris – I think it’s a lot easier to do than we think for sure (ie. move somewhere super remote and start learning skills, etc…) but there’s no ounce of me that wants to deal w/ those kinds of tradeoffs at all ;) Just gotta find more of that middle ground if something becomes a priority to you.
    @Lance@MoneyLife&More – Maybe it’s a 10 year challenge or something, just to see if he can do it, and then he’ll go back to “normal” land? It would be alot easier for me to do something like that if there was a cut off pt. and it was a huge “thing” to accomplish… unless of course you ended up falling in love with it all, which it seems he just may have done now :)
    @Dannielle @ Odd Cents – Haha… I don’t know, but I’m guessing I wouldn’t be liking it either ;) Time to read the book!

  23. Christa June 7, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    This would be impossible (or near-impossible) for me. Medicine keeps me alive, so contemplating this lifestyle is pretty implausible. What if I couldn’t work in exchange for my meds? Add in our growing family and the desire to retire, and it’s just not for me. But more power to him!

  24. sr June 8, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Anyone who lives experimentally like this gives value to society by showing us alternatives to our dominant paradigm of consumption and perpetual economic growth. This man gives more than enough to justify ‘using our roads’ and receiving medical care when necessary. I would like to see more of this sort of demonstrative living because our earth really does need new options.

  25. J. Money June 9, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    @Christa – Exactly, medication/health stuff throws this idea right out the window… and from what I’ve read so far, it doesn’t look like he uses a dentist much either – so a DEF no for me too, haha…
    @sr – An excellent take away for sure, I can get down with that :) Any extreme lifestyle is pretty fascinating stuff in this world.

  26. Marvin @ San Jose Options June 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    It doesn’t say if he lives alone or not, but for me, I need companionship. Whether if it’s in a friend or significant other, I need to be around people to communicate and connect in order to stay sane.

  27. Mikayla June 21, 2012 at 5:30 AM

    hmmm…let me think…..nope couldn’t do it!!!!
    Well not that way exactly, but i’m all for spending as little as possible. Just as you mentioned “paying taxes is important for the general good” I would rather go “off the grid” in a way that could still be civilized community and camaraderie. We’re all in this together right?. Solar power, water repurposing, growing your own (hey now), and trading goods or services cuts down on a lot of the silly monthly money changing hands that makes most people fed up and want to hole up in a canyon somewhere haha. For instance, a family member mentioned that they needed to reshingle their roof and I recommended photovoltaic shingles which don’t require the home wiring/extra bracing that panels do, in their sunny location they could do away with their energy bill entirely, the shingles would pay for themselves long before they needed any maintenance AND the excess power feeds back into your neighborhood grid thus saving natural resources… they passed on it cuz 1) they weren’t compensated for the extra power by the energy company and 2) they would be selling down the line so why pay now for the future homeowner’s electric bill… *sigh* I know it’s family, but they make my heart sad sometimes.

    I also think it would be a wee bit selfish to live soooo off the grid. If say my dad did this I would worry every day about bears and poisonous wild things and did I hug him hard enough and tell him I loved him the last time I saw him, that’s just terrible to put your family thru IMO… i’m sure some of my family would feel the same way if i were to take to the hills… great question J, you should follow up after you finish the book and get all the D’s, yes i’m trying to get out of reading it myself :)

  28. J. Money June 21, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    @Marvin @ San Jose Options – Oh yeah, me too! But I’m pretty sure this guy DOES see and hang out with a lot of people – at least from what I’ve read so far (I’m on page like 30 I think)

    @Mikayla – HAH! Well chances are I’ll never finish it (I’m GREAT at starting books but horrible at ending them), but yes – I’ll share what I find out once it’s time :) And we actually looked into solar panels on our roof too, but just like your friend it wasn’t worth the financial commitment since we’ll probably sell too in the near future. And every few years this stuff gets better and cheaper, so we’re gonna rock it once we get a more permanent home. I def. love all that stuff though! Esp the community helping out each other too – life would be better! :)

  29. Mikayla June 22, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    LOL me too! I’m terrible at the follow thru…your piece on time being your bitch hit me right there… still hurts ;)

    And if you live somewhere sunny def look into the solar shingles over the panels cuz like i said, you don’t need framework plus they are much easier on the eyes than those ugly bulky rectangles!!! – what’s sad about my uncle, the imported spanish tile his wife picked out was $12k and the solar shingles are only $10k haha

  30. J. Money June 22, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Woahhhh now that IS crazy! I hope they’re happy with ’em at least, ya never know what goes through any of our heads really – we’re interesting creatures :)

  31. Alex August 4, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    I like the money forever because the money is like star

  32. J. Money August 4, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    I have no idea what that means, haha…