Even though Michelle McGaugh worked as a financial journalist for 10 years, she was never good at budget planning. She thought it was inappropriate to ask people questions on the topic.
So she decided to carry out an experiment and live an entire year spending money on bare essentials and nothing else. She wore the clothes she already had, went to work on a bike, ate only home-made food. And she managed to save $23,000!
"I realized I was spending too much. What a waste of money! So I made a decision.
I allowed myself to spend on:
Mortgage, public services, health insurance, support for my parents, charity, phone and internet - less than $2000 per month.
Other essentials: shampoo, toothpaste, etc. Detergents, products to cook at home - $35 per week.
I said no to:
Cinema, bars and restaurants, takeout food, trips, special food, gym, new clothes, perfume, cosmetics, haircuts, public transport, taxi etc.
I started to:
Ride a bike everywhere, organize picnics, go to free concerts and expositions. Eat well, avoid chocolate. Work out at home. Learn to cook and save food.
It wasn't an easy thing to do, especially in the beginning. Sometimes a wanted to stop torturing myself and come back to the old lifestyle.
But I realized something important: you don't need money to enjoy life.
5 things that I really missed:
Curry. I love it so much!
Daily facial cream. Well, that was my mistake - I didn't include it in the list.
Perfume. I feel better with it.
Bus. Well, every other windy or rainy day I hated myself.
I managed to save $23,000, unbelievable! Now I think I can pay my mortgage earlier than I planned. It's amazing how saying no no several things in your life helps you to save so much money!
In the end, jeans, perfume and a nice haircut are all I need."