The Marshmallow Test and Money – What are you Saving For?

Four multicoloured macarons = three in a tower (peach at the bottom, pink in the centre, lilac at the top) with the fourth (green) leaning against the tower.

Children taking the marshmallow test is one of my very favourite things to watch on Youtube.

The premise, if you’re not familiar with it, is simple: “Hey, kid. Here’s a marshmallow. I’m going to leave the room. If that marshmallow is still there when I come back, you get another one.”
Adorable hilarity ensues.

Image result for marshmallow experiment gif

Apparently, the studies done into the Marshmallow Experiment proved a whole raft of benefits for those who were able to delay gratification. Fortunately for those of us who struggle to resist or delay temptation for 10 minutes or more, the results are in doubt since they’ve never been able to fully replicate the results of the test.

But it did make me think of what I would have done if they’d done that experiment on me as a kid.

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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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