The No Spend Year: How I Spent Less and Lived More, by Michelle McGagh

The No Spend Year is a short and interesting read about how a middle-class Londoner spent a year spending only on necessities, and managed to pay off a chunk of her mortgage with the proceeds. It was semi-inspirational, although I definitely couldn’t take things to McGagh’s extent. She notes that she didn’t class deodorant or antiperspirant as essentials, and had to throw out most of her clothes at the end of the year due to ingrained BO. Yuck.

Still, I picked up a few good tips on batch-cooking, and using vinegar as a cleaning agent. A lot of what she was able to do entertainment-wise was purely as a result of living in the capital, and would be very hard to translate to more rural areas.

Oddly, the sections of the book I enjoyed most were those not promised by the title. In between recollections of her year, McGagh breaks down the basics on pensions, ISAs, stocks and shares, bonds, mortgages, etc. – basically most financial products that I should understand at the age of thirty, but still really benefitted from having explained in simple terms.

I think McGagh could easily base a whole book around this concept as long as it was packaged right – Finances for Dummies or similar. For those who aren’t as shamefully financially ignorant as myself, I can imagine that these sections may have come across as surplus to requirements.

So i’s a mixed bag of a book, but it only took an evening to read, and it’s got me looking seriously at my finances which is no bad thing!

[Read on 14 July 2017]

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