A couple of months ago, Save The Student, wrote an article that suggested you could live off £10 a week in order to save money. The writer laid out her claim pretty convincingly, suggesting that it’s both possible and bearable. She seemed to eat relatively good meals and although she didn’t do any socialising, she didn’t seem phased by sitting in all the time.
This is the sort of budgeting I like, I thought. If I spent just £40 a month on simply existing, think of all the good shit I could get up to with the money I save...
So, for one whole, long, long month I lived off £10 a week and this is why it’s actually, legitimately a load of bullshit.
Bland food isn’t bearable
This article presupposed you already had basic cooking ingredients, like garlic, which I didn’t. So I either spent my budget stocking up on the basics, or I just accepted my lot and dove head first into the blandest menu of my life. At first, it seemed completely doable. I bought bread, pasta, some cheap vegetables, tomatoes, eggs and I felt like I was going to be eating like a king to be honest.
But by the end of the month I couldn’t physically look at bread anymore because I’d had toast in every way- mainly dry. I had to steal my housemates shit on occasion because I couldn’t eat plain tomato pasta for another night running and don’t speak to me about eggs. I became bitter and resentful as other people around me ate chocolate, bacon and butter whilst I nursed the feeling of dulled hunger.
Walking is shit
I cancelled my gym membership in order to save money and as I’d now be walking everywhere, I’d get good, free exercise. Well, my bike got stolen during the first week of the month, probably because I was so hungry I couldn’t remember how to use a bike lock properly anymore. So I had to walk everywhere.
I started weighing up how worth it going out was based on how long the trek would be and if I did venture out, I was so tired when I got there that I became hungry- again. At one point, during a particularly long walk to a friend's house, I had to stop and rest at a bus stop and I just stared blankly into the distance for 40 minutes because I didn’t have the energy to muster up a single thought.
It’s boring and it’s lonely
The girl in the article did it for a week so sitting in doing fuck all was okay, but not a whole month. For the first time in my life I really knew the length of a minute. I couldn’t laugh at how funny it was on a Saturday night out because I couldn’t go and I had to order iced water in the pub with the saving grace of a lemon for a bit of flavour.
I spent most of my nights with Netflix asking me if I was ‘still watching’ and on the occasions my housemates humoured me and stayed in, they ordered pizza and I got so pissed off I stormed off to my room and put Netflix back on. It’s isolating, lonely and if you don’t like your own company you’re basically screwed.
There is no real purpose
I get that I should save and I think it’s a fair point. But going to these lengths serves no purpose. I saved a lot of money but it just meant that the next month I went harder at life. I didn’t get a pint in the pub, I got an expensive ale; I didn’t make dinner, I got a takeaway and walk everywhere? Me? Mate I got a taxi to uni one morning. If saving loads of money comes at the expense of me living my life, then I’d rather save a tenner a week and spend the rest.
So, by all means, try living off £10 a week if you're desperate to save money. But don't expect to enjoy it. Or, you can budget your money so you can save and spend at the same time. For more info, take a look at our Beginner's Guide To Budgeting.