Tuesday, 10 March 2009

£1 a day?

I've just read How I Lived a Year on Just a Pound a Day which has been a thought-provoking read. Author Kath Kelly discovered why it is that the poorest memmbers of our society are the fattest even as she walked miles to avoid paying for public transport.
Her challenge isn't one that many people could pull off. I feel she was very lucky in where she lived (Bristol) as there seemed to be free events, receptions, shows and openings every night of the week, all of which provided free food and wine. There certainly aren't so many free events in my neck of the woods, and I couldn't use them to feed the children! Also, she hitch-hikes a lot and I wouldn't feel safe doing that. She constantly reiterates that she was safe doing it, but I can't help but think that every person who has ever been murdered hitch-hiking presumed they were safe until the fateful encounter where they weren't safe.
I also have a few problems with buying elderly and reduced fresh food from the supermarkets - everyone knows (don't they?) that vitamin content is hugely reduced in fresh produce the older it is, so I think it's actually a false economy to buy that kind of thing when discounted. Obviously, this doesn't apply to all produce and I'm the first to buy other kinds of discounted products.
I did enjoy the book though. The author is likeable and some of her money-saving ideas are interesting, and the whole idea is quite inspiring. I felt slightly sick that she managed to find over £117 in lost cash over the course of the year of her challenge (I've never managed to find that much, people are obviously richer in Bristol!). And, as she herself pointed out, if you're trying to spend as little as possible then you can't buy organic, fair trade or ethical. For me, this is unacceptable. And all the free samples she manages to blag of toiletries and household cleaning products are full of chemicals which I'd never use on myself, the children or around my home, even if they were free or only cost 10p. But the whole book is very good at helping you see what your own priorities (and extravagances) are, and on the whole I'd recommend it as a good read, and one which makes you think.

1 comment:

bethnoir said...

that does sound very interesting. I haven't noticed lots of free things in Bristol, but there are sometimes markets where you can try things to eat and good events at the museum, not with food though!

I do find quite a lot of dropped coins here, but Gavin reckons that's because I look for them all the time. I accepted a lift from a stranger once and he tried to make me pull up my skirt and show him my thighs, never again!