The No Spend Year by Michelle McGagh.

I picked this book up in my local library because the bright green cover stood out to me and I’m really glad I did. I don’t really know what I was expecting but based on the title and the supposed emphasis on ‘no spend’ I guess I assumed it would be like the lead protagonist of the Shopaholic series going cold turkey for a year.

Au contraire, my problematic biases!

Michelle is a financial journalist and decided that, for one year, apart from absolute necessities, she is not going to spend any money. She initially wrote it as part of a column for the Guardian before it was a book, so you can get a bit of a peep there if you like.

Something that struck me was that, because she has a bike and cycles most places, she decided to not allow herself the ‘luxury’ of the bus or cabs.

Now think about that for a minute – trying to visit your friends or family or constantly commuting and even going on holiday (yes she does, for free, seriously) purely by bike. What the heck! Only by bike?! I thought as I read. Never mind Man vs Food, this is like Woman vs Life.

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Wedding Guest Shenanigans

This year, we’ve had ten wedding events between us, most of them weddings. And like I’ve said, I frigging love weddings.

I also read an article that said that the average cost of being a wedding guest in 2019 was £391, so the maths says we should have spend over £3,000 on attending other people’s weddings this year.

Unsurprisingly, the maths is wrong and not just because it didn’t occur to me to not take my chipped nails to someone else’s event and my make up is older than my first born.

Speaking of which, attending a wedding with a baby makes things…interesting financially.

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My favourite thrifty fitness activities

A person wearing red athletic shoes and a yellow and black striped tracksuit.

As a teacher, I happily put my hands up and admit that summer is my off season. I can put my feet up and relaaaax. Quite often this involves ice cream and cake and a table but sometimes, I relax by…well, working out.

I find it gives me more energy (to do less), my mood is lifted and I generally tend to have more patience with other human beings.
A sedentary Draig is a pretty miserable Draig indeed. Plus, there are a whole load of preventable diseases that run in my family for which exercise seems to be the number 1 solution.

But I resist the siren call of leisure centres and gyms trying to lure me with summer deals and an impressive puns on the word ‘sizzling’. Nope, unless it’s for a swimming pool, I’m not going in.

Rather, I’m trying to make the most of the sunshine, warmth and free Vitamin D I have access to before winter comes a-knocking to stay for what seems like forever…

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Money After Marriage: Lessons I learnt from my Aunties

My mum was (is?) a social butterfly in her community. She was the friend her friends called when life got messy because she’s sympathetic and supportive without being abrasive. As the daughter of such a woman, this meant I got to have a peek into the lives of many of my ‘Aunties’ and – unwittingly – how they navigated their money and lives. What I’ve saw definitely impacted my money moves.

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Why I Pay My ‘Baby’ Cousins to Babysit

After I was awarded my very first teaching class, I threw my all into developing my teaching. And after a month, I received my payslip.

My eyes widened.

“Wow! I can’t believe I get paid to do this!”

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Yes, those words actually left my mouth. In public.

You see, I was grateful. I was grateful to have a full time job but most importantly, I was grateful that I was getting paid to do something I loved – to pursue a burning passion. So I didn’t question or check or compare the numbers.

Which meant I didn’t realise that my tax code was wrong and I was getting taxed an extra £200 a month until my friend looked at my payslip and screwed up her face and said:
“We should be getting paid the same. Why does yours look like that?”

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