My No Spend Year | Michelle McGagh | TEDxManchester

  • Published on Mar 22, 2017
  • Michelle McGagh is no stranger to writing about the merits of saving. But how much did she really know about her own spending?

    Last year, she set herself the challenge of only spending money on essentials for a year. Her challenge to stop “squandering” money became a book called The No Spend Year, and saved her £22,000. Learn the reasons why Michelle did it, what she learned about herself, consumerism and why we spend.
    Personal Finance Journalist Michelle has spent more than a decade writing for titles such as The Guardian, City Wire, AOL and Money Observer.
    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Comments • 420

  • eveny119
    eveny119 4 days ago

    Cant concentrate on talk… Anybody else annoyed by her hair falling in her face? She should have combed it to her left but pushed it to her right so its sticking straight down. Maybe because I spend my money wisely I think it was the hair.

  • Mer Mer
    Mer Mer 5 days ago

    Very slow and boring start... I couldn't get through it. So you pretended to be poor. Big deal.

  • Jesse LenzRokobauer
    Jesse LenzRokobauer 6 days ago +3

    Her blouse is distracting me from listening. It looks weird and doesn’t fit right. But good speech.

  • Mafe Rogers
    Mafe Rogers 10 days ago

    Miss Michelle emphasized that our source of happiness is not in things but in relationships we value and nurture.

  • Hana Tanana
    Hana Tanana 12 days ago

    I'm on 'low buy' trying to do 'no buy'. But instead of getting rid off my stuff I'm reusing, repurposing , and upcycling the items I already own. I don't think it's fair to throw it all out or donate and have somebody else to deal with my 'junk'.

  • Cris
    Cris 14 days ago

    "Do I need it, or do I simply want it?"
    That's the question I've also been asking myself since 2014 every time I consider buying something, and it has completely changed the whole shopping game for me. When you stop and make yourself that question, you come to realise how few things we actually need. Loved this talk.

  • Marilyn Garry
    Marilyn Garry 17 days ago

    Second hand stuff is a great saving idea.

  • Geraldine McArdle
    Geraldine McArdle 24 days ago

    I want to stop spending it's all materialism

  • EW W
    EW W 24 days ago +1

    that piece of hair is damn irritating

  • onenighttoremember
    onenighttoremember 24 days ago

    What is important to you?

  • Gatorman
    Gatorman Month ago +2

    Good talk but please, the hair in the eye needs to go lol.

  • Buddha Girl
    Buddha Girl Month ago

    Her book is fantastic.

  • Laura
    Laura Month ago

    Guess why we are taught to buy things in the constant hope to fill a void... Because our whole society nowadays depends on consumption. Economy and state would break down if we all stopped buying the useless stuff they offer. And I'm not talking about the occasional treats you give yourself.
    Work, consume, die... Reducing your own consumption is the most revolutionary thing you can do. You'll have to get to know yourself and your needs, you save ressources such as water, raw material, energy and hence CO2, but also money. And you might actually be able to reduce working hours and spend more time on the real important stuff. To me this sounds like my master plan towards a more fulfilled life. It's just so hard to "achieve" it in our success-driven society only looking at the outermost shell of the human being....

  • CarrieToo
    CarrieToo Month ago

    That was excellent.

  • Cathy Gruman
    Cathy Gruman Month ago

    Very motivating and inspiring. Thank you!

  • K Budzisz
    K Budzisz Month ago

    I don't know if everyone heard this but she's had a NO SPEND YEAR IN LONDON

  • deb zeb
    deb zeb 2 months ago +1

    Loved this TED talk. Paying off my mortgage years early was a great feeling. I did take one extra year because I did a Masters degree and that made me really happy too. Education is always a great investment. Everything else? Meh!

  • Clo Medrado
    Clo Medrado 2 months ago

    It´s worth being a minimalist and asking yourself what you need and want.

  • Dawn Hapgood
    Dawn Hapgood 2 months ago

    When I moved out I guess I spent the most on furniture and building up my store cupboard. You’d be surprised how many free things you can get on Facebook these days so my bed, sofa and dining table were all free. Just cost me the petrol to pick it up. I still go out but to cheaper places and for lunch instead of dinner. I don’t earn very much so I have no choice but to live this way.

    AUTHENBLISSITY 2 months ago +4

    I'm currently on a no-buy year, and it has completely changed my outlook on life. I used to be obsessed with stuff, and now I know I don't need any of that. It's been amazing to discover what's truly important to me.

  • Amanda K
    Amanda K 2 months ago +2

    Very good talk! It's true that beyond a certain point it doesn't matter how much money you have, but what you do with it that counts. If you always spend more than you earn, it will never be enough. But if you budget and save and spend strategically, you can actually save up for things you may have once thought out of reach.

  • Bat Hombre
    Bat Hombre 3 months ago +1

    Why is she dressed like that?

  • Julia Mastouri
    Julia Mastouri 3 months ago

    LOL I basically live a „No spend life“ 🤣

  • thewinterizzy
    thewinterizzy 3 months ago

    Wonderful talk.

  • heypookeybearitisi
    heypookeybearitisi 3 months ago +1

    Recreational Poverty. Soooooo inspiring.

  • charles910
    charles910 3 months ago +12

    Paid off my condo at 37, then my house at 45. Now money comes so easily and quickly because I don't need the money. It is true "To those who have everything, more will be given"

  • Jk Im just kidding
    Jk Im just kidding 3 months ago +1

    I agree wit what she is saying but only to a certain extend; If I would stop spending on everything I don't NEED then I could maybe own a house by the time I'm in my thirties BUT now I just love going out to dinner with my boyfriend, traveling far away countries, feeling confident in those heels I bought, meeting friends at a bar, taking expensive dance classes, spending a lot on a masters degree etc. I fear that if I would cut back on this I would miss my youth in a series evenings at home to then do what? Start a family and also staying at home a lot..
    I want to enjoy my youth and have fun and stories to tell once I am older and many of these things sadly cost money. I love spending money feelings and emotions. And if I don't own a house by the time I'm thirty I'm sure I'll figure it out. I am investing in experiences and education as I feel it should be when you're just starting life

  • Sirena Spades
    Sirena Spades 3 months ago

    Really great. Also she has amazing hair!

  • HelloMsAnny
    HelloMsAnny 3 months ago

    This is such an inspiring speech, I'm really tempted to think more about how I spend my money!

  • Natasha Weedman
    Natasha Weedman 3 months ago +1

    My husband and I recently moved to Finland from South Africa, and because everything is a lot more costly, we had to seriously change our spending habits. In South Africa we would go to a restaurant at least 2 times a week (or get take out), we would go to a bar and be free spending on alcohol because it was so cheap, and we had 2 cars that ate holes in our wallets (insurance and fuel). Now, we rely on public transport, we cook all our meals and maybe go to dinner once a month (its really expensive eating out here), our free time is spent walking our dog in a nearby forest, and we have cut down on alcohol. I mostly love living like this, only buying what I need ( i have always been frugal with buying clothing and make up etc.), purchasing food that will be eaten, rather than stuff that will just go to waste, and so on. Things I miss, admittedly, are my own transport and the socializing of going out for drinks with friends.

  • sheepu
    sheepu 3 months ago

    I srsly came here to learn about how to spent like nothing! I Was expecting her to growing her own veggies!!! but great talk!

  • MusePeruse
    MusePeruse 3 months ago +6

    I did this as well! I spent an entire year doing exactly the same thing I bought nothing except bare essentials. It wasn’t really a money thing.. it was more about not consuming just to consume for ecological reasons. It was a really nice and quite easy year actually!

  • Sierra Aspen
    Sierra Aspen 3 months ago

    Look at your bank statement XP ouch

  • Alana Garisson
    Alana Garisson 3 months ago

    This is great but I think this is an extreme for many, I’d like to get into a comfortable middle in my life of both frugality and buying things I really enjoy like beauty products and clothes

  • Kathryn Abbey
    Kathryn Abbey 3 months ago +1

    The hair in the eyes is unattractive and distracting. It was hard to watch this.

  • K
    K 3 months ago +1

    Dear,but you badly need to spend now on a haircut.

  • Ryan
    Ryan 4 months ago +8

    Anyone else just want to comb her bangs out from DIRECTLY IN HER OWN EYE

  • Captain Heinie
    Captain Heinie 4 months ago +4

    Four years ago. In short. First We did not pay the TV licence, as we do not watch TV. ( We have researched this first). Then cancelled our household contents insurance. then got rid of much of our unused stuff that we had not used for the past 6 months. If we 'need' anything (nothing so far) then we would go to the charity shop to buy things much cheaper, but only if we NEED it. It feels great. Done some other things just like Michelle. We feel free and we do not worry about it all. ........ We went on holiday together with what we had saved. We fasted once every month for 24 hours (only drinking water) Lost two and a half stone in the first year. Feel FANTASTIC.. You only live once. Greetings to all. Good video

  • amukae88
    amukae88 4 months ago

    Could I put Korean subtitle in this video? cause I want to show this for Korean. please set the option that people can add subtitles!

  • Diane Choate
    Diane Choate 4 months ago

    Happiness can not be bought in a shop. Lovely to hear what we all know. Great speech.

  • Lillian Goetz Trahan
    Lillian Goetz Trahan 4 months ago

    I paid off my mortgage, once. Then our town was first devastated by a hurricane, wiping out the city infrastructure, Then an oil spill. The air for months, smelled horrible..I then realized, what good is a home that's paid for in a town u cant live in...Im now mortgaged to the hilt, intentionally!

  • Safoan A. H.
    Safoan A. H. 5 months ago

    I can't even do it in only one day, but at least this motivate me to spend less and save more

  • Wilfredo Bernabe
    Wilfredo Bernabe 5 months ago +30

    I love this talk and the jokes. What a miserable audience.

  • Aj's allotment
    Aj's allotment 5 months ago

    this is great advice I try really hard to rein it in however its so much more difficult with five children half of which are teenagers. I used to be quite frugal out of necessity the last few years we have been very much sucked back into that consumer world. I guess searching youtube for the answers means Im half way there to taking steps to want to change our lives once more. Thank you

  • borges1983 Borges
    borges1983 Borges 5 months ago

    I had about 4 years of low expending because i was into findom, a fetish that made me have to save money to give to mistresses online. In the beggining, felt great, because i did simples thinks that didnt need money. However, after sometime i got used to it, that turned into a depression.

  • Romany Rose
    Romany Rose 5 months ago

    Question: do we chuck our expensive Christmas tree away? Do we need to buy a new tree every year (in uk most use artificial trees) this is the only thing I’m confused about throwing away

  • Vee K
    Vee K 5 months ago +1

    Konmari for your Bank balance, brilliant!

  • Helen Fay
    Helen Fay 5 months ago +1

    Loved this talk. This lady made me realise that I have been living a frugal lifestyle for almost 11 years now, since with my family we bought a big van, got rid of all unnecessary stuff and went on the road. We now have our own place, have our own home, grow fruit and veg and make rustic signs and furniture from the wood around us. No debt. The reality is that I also don't save any money as our income is small, but this has set me thinking...What would make me really happy is to travel a little before my son is too 'grown-up' to want to go with me...maybe it's time to get an 'outside' paid job for a while...

  • Teisha Needs A Nap
    Teisha Needs A Nap 5 months ago

    She saved around $28,000 USD (based on today). If anyone was curious.

  • Brad Barber
    Brad Barber 6 months ago

    Great video. Identifying needs vs wants is a big start. I always make myself wait a few days or weeks for larger purchases before buying something I want. If I still thinking about it weeks later then I know I want it, but most items I forget about right away.

  • C Fitzl
    C Fitzl 6 months ago +2

    One trick I use for my own spending is "delayed gratification". I made myself wait YEARS before allowing myself to buy my first IPhone. I haven't regretted it. I also wait and do lots of extensive research when buying cars (only buy used -- buying a car with a few thousand miles on it shaves thousands of $ off), Bluetooth speakers, furniture, computers, etc.

    • Yehuda Hamer
      Yehuda Hamer 6 months ago

      The first five years of waiting were the hardest? :-)

    • Holland Sharah
      Holland Sharah 6 months ago

      C Fitzl you wanna make extra cash or increase your credit score Follow @Lulzsecu on Instagram you can also text him on WhatsApp +1 (650) 542 0674
      Or text him directly (281) 607-0456
      He paid off my auto load and mortgage bills am left with no debt and no regret keep sharing his great work

  • alltheprettythings06
    alltheprettythings06 6 months ago +2

    I'm doing this exact thing this year... After looking and my husband and I's budget, I realized I was the problem of our spending. I kept wanting to buy more, more more. My family and I decided to not eat out, and no junkfood for the first two months this year. So far we're doing good! And I have vowed to not buy any beauty products, or clothing, or any of those things for this whole year. We've already seen an influx in our bank where we've stopped eating out and we're able to spend extra at the grocery store on nicer foods. And I'm still staying strong to my no spend year. It's going to be a lot of work to resist the temptation to get things, but I'm pretty sure I can do it. In the end we want to buy our first home, so this will be a good start. Thanks for the video!

    • Holland Sharah
      Holland Sharah 6 months ago

      Project Panning Momma you wanna make extra cash or increase your credit score Follow @Lulzsecu on Instagram you can also text him on WhatsApp +1 (650) 542 0674
      Or text him directly (281) 607-0456
      He paid off my auto load and mortgage bills am left with no debt and no regret keep sharing his great work

  • Jamie Cox
    Jamie Cox 6 months ago +7

    good talk. lame audience.

  • Honestly,
    Honestly, 6 months ago +1

    I'm sorry McGagh, but this isn't so enlightening when you don't have money to spend frivolously in the first place.

    • Holland Sharah
      Holland Sharah 6 months ago

      you wanna make extra cash or increase your credit score Follow @Lulzsecu on Instagram you can also text him on WhatsApp +1 (650) 542 0674
      Or text him directly (281) 607-0456
      He paid off my auto load and mortgage bills am left with no debt and no regret keep sharing his great work

  • Gerry Lawler
    Gerry Lawler 6 months ago +3

    This is a good message. However, your hair blocking one eye was distracting. When you pulled it back, you revealed your authentic self which was so much nicer for your audience to connect with.

  • Luxe Life
    Luxe Life 6 months ago +1

    Read your book, it was amazing. Well done!

    • Holland Sharah
      Holland Sharah 6 months ago

      Luxe Life you wanna make extra cash or increase your credit score Follow @Lulzsecu on Instagram you can also text him on WhatsApp +1 (650) 542 0674
      Or text him directly (281) 607-0456
      He paid off my auto load and mortgage bills am left with no debt and no regret keep sharing his great work

  • Holistic-Healing UK
    Holistic-Healing UK 6 months ago

    Very good.

  • Johnny Patterson
    Johnny Patterson 6 months ago +8

    like if you re doing this !!

  • Karen Rolf
    Karen Rolf 6 months ago +3

    Thank you so much for both this inspirational talk and an entire year spent experiencing what it was like not to spend money and the results of this. Your talk was organized, detailed, and inspirational! I can't thank you enough!

  • Larry Yarborough
    Larry Yarborough 6 months ago +1

    4:20, "I would go to work for 8 hours to earn money to buy things that I was told would make me happy...that didn't make me happy so I'd go back to work for another 8 hours to earn more money to buy different things...then I was spending money to repair and insure and replace those things that weren't making me happy." 8:15, "It was living in the world and it was the best experience..." 9:50, "It wasn't rocket science - I spent less so I saved more." 10:55, "...that we can somehow buy a better life...that lie is this and it will make you happy - and it will...until your mood changes...or the thing that is the thing to buy has changed, the new thing has come along." 13:00, "...once you've found out where your money is going, ask yourself 'Is it making me happy?'"

  • 1001LondonKnights
    1001LondonKnights 6 months ago

    I am a big fan of Ted talks but I am afraid this is boring and self-inflated talk. After 7 min it felt like any of Londoners talk, not a Ted Talk.

    • Marina Krvtsn
      Marina Krvtsn 6 months ago

      Ted Talks are getting less inspiring every day...

  • Outback Wack
    Outback Wack 6 months ago +39

    Most people spend money they DON'T have, to buy things they DON'T need, to impress people they DON'T like.

    • greenkitty82
      greenkitty82 3 months ago

      Outback Wack Fortunately I've never had that mindset so I'm in the minority! My philosophy is if people don't like you, tough.

  • Satori Ankh
    Satori Ankh 6 months ago +1

    22.000 pounds saved in a year? Wow! That's my 2 years and half salary if I'm lucky to get the this job permanent.

  • Marion Fiedler Music
    Marion Fiedler Music 6 months ago

    thanks for sharing this. I can imagine it is hard to actually share the discoveries in this topic nobody really willingly wants to talk about. This is inspiring though. I cut my spendings over the year as well, and what I too did not expect were changes I observed in my habits and outlook. This was a cool confirmation and second perspective to hear about - THANKS!

  • Vaunnie Thayer
    Vaunnie Thayer 6 months ago +1

    I like this idea...challenge for 2019? I don't think I would take it to this level...but just not buying anything new or used that is not essential would be a good more Amazon ....or sales on the net period....amazing what you can live without if you have to put the effort out to go and get it...worth a try....

  • Citizenthirteen
    Citizenthirteen 7 months ago +5

    I'm sure we've all bought things that did make us happy. I have a lot of stuff that makes me happy . Not "made" me happy but makes me happy every day. I thought a lot like this woman until several friends and family members died and left a ton of money for other people to enjoy. I decided that this is the material world and I should enjoy material things and not be guilty about it. Of course its within reason and I'm not obsessed over things. Love your friends and family, like your things. My worst fear is being very frugal and dying before enjoying the money.

    • deelot1
      deelot1 5 months ago

      Citizenthirteen I grew up in a family that enforced miserly behaviour for the sake of accumulation and perpetually perceived lack. This can be just as damaging to the spirit as over-spending is. In both cases the focus is on the materialism anyway. So I agree with you that deprivation is not the answer. I am happy and grateful that I can spend on good quality essential oils and organic food. The power lies in how you consciously intend to spend your time, energy and money. Paying off debt and mortgage is definitely liberating, but I would refuse to enslave myself through self-deprivation in order to do that. There are other ways, as moderation is the key.

  • Nat Wolins
    Nat Wolins 7 months ago +52

    I am embarrassingly cheap. A couple of years back Aldi's raised the price of their bean burritos from 30 to 35 cent and, and lower the size from 3.5 to 3 oz. I am not over it.

    • Lorianne Reyes
      Lorianne Reyes 10 hours ago

      It’s like when I asked for a juice with no ice and they charged me more. I told them: “but you are saving on ice!”

    • Nini T.
      Nini T. 3 months ago +3

      lol lol lol lol I know the feeling. I would walk a mile more just to save 30p on a milk carton ... or filling up the super market basket but return everything back to shelves? lol lol We are scattered out there, don´t worry, you are not alone.

  • Christopher Dones
    Christopher Dones 7 months ago

    Good video. Her sense of humor needs work tho lol

  • Roudter
    Roudter 7 months ago +1

    Anyone who purposefully hangs hair in front of her eyes is stuck in affect...Not credible in the effort to put herself out there as 'down to earth'....Nope, far from it...

  • Aria Carmela
    Aria Carmela 7 months ago +5

    She is outrageously funny. I wish I knew her.