COS­MOPOLI­TAN CON­TRACT The money diet

This is an agree­ment made by A Per­son Try­ing To Save A Bit Of Cash This Month,

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents -

1 THE SORT The Thrifty will be­gin by mak­ing a bud­get spread­sheet. She will in­put her es­sen­tial out­go­ings for the month – food, bills, rent, Net­flix, beauty sub­scrip­tion box – and spend two hours fid­dling with Excel to de­cide which is the most fru­gal-look­ing font. Even­tu­ally she will add up the col­umns and dis­cover that she spends more in Top­shop than she does on coun­cil tax and heating. She will hide her credit card in the freezer.

2 TIGHT­EN­ING THE BELT In an ef­fort to stop giv­ing half her wages to M&S Food, The Thrifty will buy a big bag of lunch sup­plies. She will make a stuffed pitta with hummus and salad for lunch in the of­fice kitchen, telling every­one it only costs 75p when you break down the cost of in­gre­di­ents! Which she has. When a col­lec­tion en­ve­lope comes round for Janet’s leav­ing present, she will put in an IOU for a hug.

3 THE BIG STRETCH To save money on trans­port and jus­tify can­celling her gym mem­ber­ship, The Thrifty will de­cide to start walk­ing ev­ery­where. In or­der to mo­ti­vate her­self, she will buy a new fit­ness tracker (only an ex­tra £35 for rose gold!), a new pair of train­ers and two ex­tra cans of de­odor­ant for her desk drawer. But you have to spend money to save money, every­one knows that.

4 THE PER­SONAL TOUCH In­stead of buy­ing a birth­day present for her best friend, The Thrifty will de­cide to economise by mak­ing some­thing. She will lose sev­eral evenings (and some blood) to hand-sewing a… a thing. Is it a blan­ket? A wall hanging? A tea towel? To make it look more spe­cial, The Thrifty will end up buy­ing a gift bag that in­ex­pli­ca­bly costs £5.50. “I’ve al­ways wanted a dream­catcher!” the friend will say.

5 TRIM­MING THE FAT To avoid go­ing out for din­ner, The Thrifty will in­vite every­one round for a night in. “I’ll just cook a big, cheap stew!” she will say, choos­ing an easy Nigella recipe which will turn out to in­volve pine nuts, saf­fron and a spe­cial type of oil that costs £4.79. The Thrifty won’t buy any wine, hop­ing every­one will bring some. They won’t. She will end up serv­ing some li­mon­cello she won in a raf­fle.

6 CUT­TING BACK The Thrifty will vol­un­teer as a model for trainee hair­dressers, which will end in tears when they con­fuse Zooey Deschanel with Zoë Wana­maker. Af­ter her eco-friendly re­us­able cup drib­bles cof­fee all over the in­side of her bag, The Thrifty will switch to her back-up strat­egy: be­ing ag­gres­sively smi­ley to Pret baris­tas, in the hope of blag­ging a free flat white. Even­tu­ally one will ask, kindly, if she is in pain.

7 TREAT YO’SELF The Thrifty will find her­self com­pos­ing a fu­ri­ous all­com­pany email to ask who took her last pitta from the fridge, typ­ing,“Who­ever did it OWES ME 37p!!!” She will go to Janet’s leav­ing drinks to rinse the com­pany bar tab. By 9pm, she will have bought a round (of ex­tor­tion­ately over­priced craft spir­its). By mid­night she will be in an Uber with a KFC fam­ily bucket and a Euromil­lions ticket, do­ing an ASOS haul on her phone. In the morn­ing, she will wake to find her Visa card in the sink, sur­rounded by de­frosted peas…

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