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Michelle McGagh didn’t spend money for one year: was it worth it?


Michelle McGagh, a freelance personal finance journalist from London, undertook a challenge that would be a dream for others. She did not spend money for one year.

Few professions are as hard hit those days as journalism. And for us, freelance wordsmiths, an initiative like McGagh’s was nothing short of turning water into wine. For the rest of us, it would be an unattainable miracle. Would it, really?

Well, no. If she could, the rest of us mortals could, too. Other than the basics of food (she spent almost $40.00 a week, after sharing expenses with her husband), utilities and the mortgage, McGagh spent no money at all. There were days when she felt miserable, especially in the cold seasons. She missed out on trips and social occasions, too.

Yet in the end she found out she did not need objects to be happy, discovered a whole lot of entertainment and other stuff that were for free, and ended up saving $23,000, a neat amount of money. All very nice and commendable. You definitely end up differently after such a trip.

But the question is: Would such a challenge be for you? Would it not be penny-wise but dollar-fool? (Metaphorically: the numbers do add up quite well). It would take nerves of steel, and very understanding companions and friends no to strain relationships. More importantly, if you can do without your coffee in the morning somewhere not your home or that beer with friends or take your significant other out for dinner, then it is for you. All you will be doing, however, is saving money and perhaps missing out on a year of your life.

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