Monday, January 29, 2018

"The No Spend Year" by Michelle McGagh... A Book Review

I am always looking for ways to save money, so when I saw that one of my friends posted a photo of this book on Instaram, I was intrigued and ordered a copy that day. After all, as I tell my children, there is one thing that is never a waste of money... a book!

I have to admit, I almost didn't finish the book. Why? Well, I just couldn't relate to the first part of it. But I stuck it through and I'm so glad I did. This woman is a pearl of wisdom.
I'll start by telling you why I couldn't relate to some of the book. There were 3 things

First of all, "No Spend", means you still pay your bills and you still eat. You just don't buy anything else. Ever. The woman that wrote this book, she struggled, a bit... but she has no kids. My first huge issue... You cannot just not spend when you have kids. It's impossible. Thinking back to when mine were babies, even with using cloth diapers (that lasted a whole month) there are things to buy! Kids are the most expensive thing on the planet, (though completely worth it I might add). Even now that my children are teenagers, there is always something coming up with school that they need money for, they outgrow clothing and their feet (it feels like) grow 2 inches a day, they are always needing shoes. I'm not saying there aren't ways to save, as a stay at home mom of 5, I used thrift stores for jeans and learned to cook big meals on a budget. Unless someone provides for you, there is no way that anyone with children, can just not buy. 

The 2nd thing I couldn't relate to, she lives in London and cycles everywhere. Even when I lived in a big city (Austin, Texas), there was no way I could cycle to work. Are you kidding? How can I get 2 teenagers to school on the back of my bike? Not to mention in the sweltering heat. I also lived in the country and traveled into the city. Now that I live in Olympia, Washington I still live way out in the country... Could you imagine trying to get groceries home for a family of 5 on the back of your bike? There are many parts of the US that this isn't feasible. Even if I did live in London, there is that topic of children again. Uniforms, Food, School Fees, Medication... I think I've made my point.

The 3rd thing that I couldn't relate to. Is a personal issue, based on my character and how I feel about things. One of the things that the author would do to save money, is if she were invited to a party, because she couldn't stop and buy flowers and a dessert, she would bake a cake at home (nothing wrong with that right?)... But then put it in her backpack to ride over on her bike. I wouldn't ever treat a host like that. There are times in our lives, that we fork over a few bucks, just to make others feel appreciated. Heck... You can pick flowers if you live in the country, but the cake being bounced about in a back pack and then given as a gift. No.

Now that I have written what I can't relate to, I feel as if I have done the book an injustice. That's not the case at all, in fact, just because this woman is in a different place in her life than I am, doesn't mean that I don't completely admire her tenacity.

**First of all, she cycles everywhere... snow, rain, sun... that's dedication, that's strength. I would cave the minute I felt any discomfort. I mention her cycling and commitment, because that's the feel during the whole book. She doesn't give up. She did not spend money for a whole year, and she will share with you how.

**If you live in London (I do not but travel there often), You'll learn how to get into the greatest places, how to find them, how to meet new people, visit galleries and openings. There are many events that I would not have even considered before this book. HOWEVER... Big HOWEVER, the tips that she gives for finding free gigs in London, can be used locally wherever you are. 

**Her food budget is pretty amazing. I spend over $100 a week on food. She spends pennies. She will tell you how.

**She saved thousands over the year, the author tells you how she spent it after the year and how to get out of the consumerism trap. (I think this is by far the best thing about the book, her views on needs versus wants)

**The Author talks about investing, what it means, how to do it and breaks down the different types of investment, from savings accounts to bonds to passive funds.

**Michelle is married, her husband only participated in the food part of the challenge, he still continued to spend and purchase... interesting combo right? She breaks it down.

Would I suggest this book? Yes. Absolutely. Why? Because even if you can't relate to all of the book as a whole, you can take the bits that you like, the parts that will benefit you... and run with them! If you read it, tell me what you think!

I hope you're having a great start to your week,
Until next time,
Tammy

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