There is this priest on television who tries to live along the principles of Saint Francis. In the one episode that I happened to watch he set up his sustainable garden completely without money. He was living moneyless. And he made one profound discovery that already Saint Francis had talked about: Living without money is hard because you depend on others. The priest realized that his pride was often an obstacle when he needed help from someone or when somebody offered him something. For a meal and some food for his cat and chicken he would clean the dishes and the floor of a restaurant. For catching fish he would have to accept somebody else’s fishing hook. For getting somewhere he would depend on lifts from others. The good thing he figured was that he got into contact with people he otherwise would not have gotten to know.
I do not live without money, but I am trying to keep up a frugal lifestyle. Most of my food I collect at night, from overflowing dumpsters behind a supermarket. The furniture in my room is not mine. It belongs to the owner of the apartment, just like the bed sheets and the flask that I use.
I do not own a phone, either, because I hardly use one. But in rare cases I need to have one. My classmate just offered to lend me one of the several phones he is not using. I was almost embarrassed by the trouble it caused him to get the right phone with the right charger for me.
Recently I lost my gloves and I do not know where. I asked a friend whether they were in her office. She said no but offered to borrow me another pair of hers which she does not use currently. Soon I will visit her, bring some homemade candy and get the gloves.
I also did not have a USB. Someone offered me one because he had too many but then he must have forgotten. And there was my pride, standing in the way, preventing me from asking him for that favour again. But then I got another one from the IT service who fixed my school account. Just keep it, he said, rather amazed about my surprised joy. It is a small, practical USB with huge storage capacity. And it just found me.
Indeed it needs more work, more effort and more uncomfortability to live frugally. I have to ask people for favours and take extra ways to get things. But that way of life creates nice relationships. I realized that there is so much unused potential, so much stuff that people have lying around and do not use. So why should I buy those things? And sometimes the universe has some unexpected surprises in store for me and just sends me a little fortune without any effort.