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Nowadays, cars merge on to motorways like a herd of buffalo on their annual migration.
So I told only a select few friends who, in truth, could have done with cutting back themselves. ' they cried, over their third glass of Merlot and bag of Doritos. I offered myself up to trainee hairdressers (the only price I paid was looking like Bon Jovi) and signed up for one-off gym trial days and pool sessions.
In my previous existence, I would eat at Wagamama twice a week. I became an expert at making perishables last: storing red cabbages in the dark so they kept longer; cooking in a wok to use as little oil as possible; blending left-over veg into soup.
Back in the day: Mr Olley (left) was a water engineer in Shipdham when he met his future wife, and Mrs Olley (right) worked at a fireworks factory in Swaffham.
The average young woman spends £289 a week - £15,028 a year - on stuff, according to statistics. But if telling people was difficult, not telling people was even harder. I would read glossy magazines over a venti soy chai tea latte at Starbucks or scour Bristol's upmarket shops for new clothes, shoes and handbags. I used everything - vegetable peelings, bones, even the jars of lime pickle.
Each time he suggested eating out, I feigned a headache. Eventually, as it was getting dark, a French lady pulled over and insisted on taking me back to her home, where I was fed and put up for the night.
And life's necessities proved easy enough to come by, too.
Now the challenge is over, I find it hard to spend money.So many people - like my former self - are constantly in debt, living beyond their means.Even those with decent salaries are in fear of not earning enough. But if we could open our eyes we'd see there is a different and more satisfying way to live.That includes £82 a week on clothes, accessories and shoes; £46 on toiletries and make-up; £64 on socialising; and £19 on phone bills. As a fortysomething teacher living in Bristol, I earned enough to get by. As I didn't have children or a boyfriend, I socialised most nights with my friends. Let's just sit in the park.' 'But Kath, it's snowing.' I didn't want to spend the year scrounging off my friends, so time and again I'd drag them to a bench in a park. ' I mused, although I resisted the urge to purge everything in case it came in useful during the year. On top of this, I'd gorge on tasters at organic stores and buffet food at university evening lectures.Yet I was permanently peering over the precipice of my overdraft, spending whatever I wanted without a thought for the future. Then one day I saw an American lady called Judith Levine on TV's Richard & Judy. I realised I didn't need to spend all the money I did. My brother's wedding was a year away and that was another incentive. There were art openings, haircuts, gigs, massages, holidays, dinners on the riverfront, taxis home. not thirsty.' Those friends who knew of my challenge offered to help. I'd bring a flask of coffee and a rug - and a few 10p doughnuts if we were lucky. At the start of my challenge, I examined my dusty cupboards. I quickly became obsessed with food bargains and well acquainted with the discount shelf in Tesco. And in warmer months I'd pick blackberries, apples and hazelnuts in the countryside.There are fewer pick-up places than there were back in the Seventies.