Frankly it’s all a bit scary…tomorrow I am leaving the safety of my full-time job at a well known City investment magazine for the precarious existence of a freelance journalist, working from home. "Hey, that doesn’t sound so bad," I hear you cry. "Think of all that spare time and the hour and a half commute to work that’s soon to be whittled down to 20 seconds from bedroom to office. Not to mention more quality time to spend with the pets/Tricia. Sounds like a scream." Er…yeah…but guys there’s just one small catch: I have signed up for the ultimate experiment in personal finance. I have agreed to become MSN’s guinea pig for living on the edge….
Out are the long business lunches with City contacts lingering over the expensive vino and waist-stretching desserts, and in are 9p baked beans, cut price custard creams and home brew. That’s right. I’m conducting an experiment to find out what it is to live frugally. Quite literally I’ll be counting the pennies, scrimping and saving and trying to discover new ways of saving cash, whether that is by trying to live on the equivalent of the stingy state pension or going back in time to the rationing of World War Two.
It’s a frightening prospect…OK – I might not exactly be Posh Spice when it comes to throwing my money about – I’m more likely to be found in Primark than Prada. But I like my meals out, my comfort takeaway Chinese/Indian and my cheeky taxis home when I can’t be bothered to walk home late from the station in the dark (thanks a bunch to the taxi driver yesterday, by the way, who spent the entire drive making me green with envy about all his favourite Indian and Chinese grub haunts when I won’t be able to try them out now…!).
And I do like to shop. Sometimes I have that awful habit of buying stuff I don’t need just to cheer myself up. There’s nothing like a new pair of jeans (probably just like the five pairs already hanging up in the wardrobe at home…) to make you feel good…unless (as is often true in my case) they don’t fit without a stretch…after those naughty City lunches. And yes, once when I’d had a lousy day at work I spent two hours and far too much money at lunchtime having my hair straightened just for the hell of it (admittedly it was the only time the guys I work with noticed something different about me – although they weren’t quite sure what it was – so maybe it was worth it!).
Plus I like to holiday in a comfortable clean hotel not some ‘rustic’ campsite where you have to dig your own toilet, (OK I did go to Glastonbury twice but that isn’t really camping as I’m sure you’ll agree, after all Rod Stewart was there…) despite the feeble attempts of my other half to drag me off on walking holidays. So living frugally isn’t going to be a stroll in the park, but hopefully I’m going to learn – and save – an awful lot along the way.
It’s going to be an adventure….and I hope you can come along for the ride…. Piper xxx