This German Woman Has Been Living Without Money For 16 Years

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As we edge closer to a cashless society, some consumers are quietly challenging the idea of money in the first place––by giving it up completely. 

Daniel Suelo, 50, traded his nine-to-five for dumpster diving and a cozy cave in Utah’s canyonlands back in 2000.

But even before Suelo, there was Germany native Heidemarie Schwermer. In her early 50s, Schwermer decided to see what it’d be like to leave her cushy job as a psychotherapist and live money-free, a journey that’s been documented in the film “Living Without Money.” 

Sixteen years later, she hasn’t looked back. Schwermer, now pushing 70, recently took a pause during her stay in Hamelin, Germany to chat with Business Insider about why she decided to leave everything behind.

Image source: Living Without Money

Image source: Living Without Money

Image source: Living Without Money

Image source: Living Without Money

Image source: Living Without Money


Image source: Living Without Money

In the beginning, she did odd jobs around her hosts' homes, like gardening or window washing, to earn her keep. These days, people usually don't expect anything in return.

Image source: Living Without Money

She's a light packer. When seasons change, she gives away old clothing and waits for new ones to come along. When they do––usually donated by hosts or friends––she calls them 'miracles', rather than charity.

Image source: Living Without Money

Image source: Living Without Money

Image source: Living Without Money

Image source: Living Without Money

Image source: Living Without Money

Here, she coaches a group of student environmentalists from Muenster, Germany's BUND Youth in the ways of bartering. At a local market, they managed to turn that pencil into a fistful of fruit.

Image source: Living Without Money

Image source: Living Without Money

Image source: Living Without Money

Image source: Living Without Money

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