The No Spend Year, by Michelle McGagh

I’ve just ordered this book by Guardian journalist Michelle McGagh having heard her on Women’s Hour this week. I’m going to go the whole year without buying any new clothes, which I reckon will be hard enough but Michelle went the whole year without buying anything apart from food and a few household essentials. I’m hoping it will be a helpful and motivating book to have on my bedside table for the duration.

Buy here




  • Patty says:

    What about makeup, perfume, nylons, underwear, hair cuts, facials, moisturizers, sunscreen, lipstick, undershirts?

    It is a double sided adventure. I do not drink, do drugs, but every.once in a while a small, beautiful ball of yarn is a wonderful treat.

  • Sue Evans says:

    I did a no-spend year when I was saving money for a house and it was an addictive exercise. I suppose it depends what you deem “essentials” as to what you spend. Trips to the hairdresser, nail parlour and new underwear were not essentials for me but a weekly bottle of gin and 6 bottles of wine were definitely on my shopping list. I managed without buying clothes unless totally neccessary — as in needing to replace a worn out pair of shoes — by upcycling and piecing together things I no longer wore ( maybe some of those 26 shirts and unworn skirts could be assembled together to extend your frock wardrobe Amanda ? It’s a haphazard, collaged look I’ve got away with for years !) I actually got to the point where I enjoyed spending no money ! Might even buy this book and try it again this year …….

  • Jan says:

    I’d be hugely interested to know what you think when you read the book. I haven’t read it but like you heard the discussion on WH and have read numerous articles about the author plus reviews of the book. Having read an interview in the Telegraph,
    it seemed to me that her reason for doing it was partly because she’d been over indulgent spending loads of money on trivia. The other reason perhaps was that it would be a jolly good project on which to base a book being as how she’s a bona fide financial journalist. So actually shouldn’t already be more savvy than the average bear on how to use money wisely?
    It’s one thing when people have little money and try to find canny ways to live more cheaply it’s quite another when someone who, from what she says, is earning a good salary, decides to shrive themselves publicly to eventually write about and make loads more money. Is that a kind of post truth irony perhaps?
    I can understand someone feeling guilty about wasting their hard earned cash but as she said she had no debt apart from a mortgage she must have had a lot to waste. By choosing not to spend money she must have adversely affected all those shops and services where she had previously thrown her money around. Instead of not buying stuff she could have used the money she saved, £22,000 apparently, more wisely and supported her local community. For example she could have had one or two beautiful garments made by a local designer/tailor/seamstress, she could’ve bought her food from local independent shops, and cosmetics could have been sourced from British independent makers. She could even have donated some of the money she saved to a charity.
    I feel a wee bit sceptical when a grown-up journalist is quoted as saying “ …we didn’t need to spend money to be happy.”

  • Amanda says:

    Actually Sue, you’ve been a source of inspiration for my Year Of Nothing New. I look at your amazing creations on facebook and love the skill and creativity you project with your sewing projects. I have no where near the skills you have, but I think I might do a sewing project or two throughout the year! Also, there’s NO WAY I’m skipping my G&Ts, ever! Ax

  • Amanda says:

    Jan, agree with you, have my ‘sceptical raised eyebrow’ face on, but will let you know what I think when I’ve finished it. x

  • Sue says:

    And, yet… it is amazing how much, and how quickly, quite a lot of money can pile up when you cut down on discretionary spending over a few months. I am always stunned by how much I can get by selling things I no longer wear on eBay (or things I didn’t wear afterall, more often than not). I prefer to work out how to make my money go further to achieve a good quality of life for less. Have you seen the £1 Chef person and his very good recipes? Obviously this sort of frugality is flavour of the month.

  • Babs says:

    I found Ms.Mcgagh’s experiment into no spending a little extreme if not downright ridiculous. At least treat yourself to a tube of moisturizer that will last a year. I mean come on. That being said I am going to try using up all my various tubes and bottles of toiletries instead of running and buying on whim. Once that is done then and only then will I replace them. In the age of Trump we need a few treats at the end of the week.

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