Living Without Money, The Story Of Heidemarie Schwermer


Have you ever considered living without money? Meeting your needs by bartering with friends and strangers? Trading favors for some food? Well, this is how the German Heidemarie Schwermer has lived for 20 years, and ensures that she has been doing great since she lives with less.

This is demonstrated by the documentary Living without money , which came out in 2010, and where a sixty-something-year-old Schwermer explains the wonders of living without a penny.

Related: Living without money. Mark Boyle has done 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 she decided to change her life completely and began to give away all her belongings: her books, her car and even her house. .

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

“It’s about understanding that the things you know how to do have value, and a lot. You are not what you have, you are what you know and have to offer others ”(…), says the German woman to a group of young people who are interested in knowing how to be happy without having to obtain money.

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


Heidemarie has always said that her intention is not that others live like her, she just does not like the economic system with which we live today and considers that it is something that must be changed in some way. Something like consuming less living better.

It is good for them to reflect that there are other ways of living and obtaining what they want without having to resort to money and doing what they are good at (…) The problem is that we tend to separate leisure and work, and most end up trapped in an office, ”says Heidemarie.

Likewise, it indicates that her peculiar lifestyle provides excellent results in terms of self-confidence. That is, you offer what you know you are capable of and that another needs, in exchange for the other to do the same.

In this way we stay in constant motion and being happy while doing the things that we are passionate about and in some way benefit from it. Without restrictions of place, time or being conditioned to receive a payment at the end of the month.

Similarly, the 52-minute documentary shows how Schwermer emphasizes that this modality reinforces trust and solidarity between individuals and is a good way to begin to change mentalities and assert what really matters: human value.

Heidemarie Schwermer passed away on March 23, 2016.


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