Have you ever considered living without money? Meeting your needs by bartering with friends and strangers? Trade favors for food? Well, that’s how the German Heidemarie Schwermer lived for 20 years, and she assures us that she is doing very well since living on less.

This is demonstrated by the documentary Live without money (Living without money), which saw the light of day in 2010, and where Schwermer, 60 and over, explains the wonders of living penniless.

Related: Live without money. Mark Boyle did it.

It all started when Heidemarie, a resident of Dortmund, Germany, with several children and a psychotherapist, became a widow in 1996. From that moment on, she decided to completely change her life and began to donate all her possessions: his books, his car and even his house.

Although it sounds a bit ironic, in the audiovisual work, Schwermer claims to have felt immensely happy once he saw the room of what was his house completely empty, and he started dancing to celebrate his new one. freedom.

“It’s about understanding that the things you can do have value, and a lot. You are not what you have, you are what you know and have to offer to others ”(…), The German woman comments on a group of young people who want to know how to be happy without having to get money.

In this sense, Schwermer explains to teens that they always have a place to eat and a place to sleep, thanks to the exchange of favors with friends and complete strangers. For example, a restaurant in town gives him a plate of food in exchange for cooking or helping with housework.


Heidemarie has always said that her intention is not for others to live like her, she just doesn’t like the economic system we live with today and considers it to be something that needs to be changed from a one way or another. Something like consuming less living better.

It is good for them to think that there are other ways of living and getting what they want without having to resort to money and do what they are good at (…) The problem is that we tend to separate leisure and work, and most get trapped. in an office»Said Heidemarie.

Likewise, it indicates that his particular lifestyle gives excellent results in terms of self-confidence. In other words, you offer what you know you are capable of and that another needs, in return for the other to do the same.

This way, we are constantly on the move and happy while doing the things that we are passionate about and enjoying in some way. Without restriction of place, time or condition to receive payment at the end of the month.

Likewise, the 52-minute documentary shows how Schwermer emphasizes that this modality builds trust and solidarity between individuals and is a good way to start changing mindsets and asserting what really matters: human worth.


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Heidemarie Schwermer died on March 23, 2016.