Kath Kelly and her pound a day | Beyond The Beyond


Kath Kelly and her pound a day | Beyond The Beyond.

Kath Kelly and her pound a day

* By Bruce Sterling
* November 9, 2009  |

*This woman was the most surprising guest at Share Festival 2009. Kath Kelly’s story is a lot less hokey than it sounds. It was a short, heartfelt and simple narrative, without any lookah-me righteous grandstanding, and there was something quite eerie about hearing it. Kath Kelly’s abandonment of consumer culture — “I realized that my friends were my ’shopping-friends,’ and I needed people more than I needed to shop” — it reminded me of something, but I couldn’t place it at the time.

*After a day, I get it now. Her story reminded me of listening to old-school white Southerners talk about abandoning segregation.

*In the American South, there was tremendous emotional anxiety about letting segregation go, and absolute knee-trembling fear for the worst, and then segregation went away and suddenly there was all this nice free time to do other stuff that turned out to matter a lot more.



“She picked fruit from bushes and trees and collected £117 in loose change dropped in the street – a third of her annual budget.

“She even managed a free trip to France by hitchhiking through the Channel Tunnel.

“And to cap it all, she found love while working as a volunteer on an organic farm during the holidays.

“Miss Kelly was sharing a house in Hotwells, Bristol, when she complained to her friends over a few glasses of wine that she could not afford a wedding present for her brother Danny.

“She boldly announced that she would survive on £1 a day for the 12 months up to the wedding.

‘I woke up the following morning and instantly regretted it but it was too late – I’d told my friends and now I had to go through with it.’

“With her rent and utility bills already paid for the year, her budget had to cover transport, food, clothes and socialising.

“She soon learned to spot a bargain and after working at the English Language Centre in Clifton, where she teaches for 20 hours a week, she regularly visited super-markets and butchers at closing time to buy reduced food.

“She added: ‘I had a freezer full of stuff. I was out all the time with a bag on my back and if I saw bread for 10p at the end of the day, or reduced vegetables – anything – I bought it.’

“Miss Kelly would hunt down market researchers in the street as they often have samples to give away.

“Kath’s daily shopping bills, consisting mostly of fresh fruit and veg, would often come to just under £1
She ditched her mobile phone and cycled to friends’ houses if she wanted to speak to them, leaving a note if they were out.

“She used the library for free internet access and developed a taste for mince pies – which she would stockpile at Christmas when they are given away at stores.

‘I went to the public lectures at Bristol University that had a buffet afterwards, and I went to the library’s 100th birthday where they had a buffet as well. I was the queen of the buffet.

‘Every time there was a public event and a crowd was needed, I was there.

‘I dragged my mates out to free events, too….”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1052710/How-cash-strapped-teacher-beat-credit-crunch-living-1-day-YEAR-drunken-bet.html#ixzz0WNowIaNu