Hands up – who’s read that story about Michelle McGagh, the woman who saved the equivalent of NZ$38,000 with a ‘buy nothing’ year?

She did have to buy some things, obviously – basic food, toiletries – and pay for housing and bills. But she cut out spending on transport, clothing, eating out, entertainment, and holidays. Now that’s extreme. Actually, it sounded pretty grim to me…

You’ve gotta admire her determination. But if reading her tale of austerity left you disheartened with a sinking feeling in your stomach, don’t despair.

You don’t have to give up everything to save money.

Trust me, you don’t need to take it that far.

Just take a step back and ask – does your budget reflect the kind of life you want to live?

Work out what’s important to you – whether that’s travel, concerts, food, fashion – and how that adds up. Prioritise the things that mean the most, and build those into your budget. 

Have a look at your budget categories and what you’re spending on various things. Are there any numbers that stand out as being high yet not all that rewarding? Look for the easy wins: stuff that you don’t care much about and won’t really miss.

Budgets need to breathe, so make room for what really matters to you.

You CAN have your cake and eat it too.

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