The final day had arrived. Jack – a subscriber of mine I happened to bump into in Newcastle – and I were set to tackle the £1 challenge together in Edinburgh. This meant that each of us would essentially have 50p to spend for the day, which was sure to be a proper challenge.
When consulting Jack on what we should do with our 50p each, he suggested we go the tried and tested free coffee from McDonald’s route. This would have been a perfectly fine idea, had I not already discovered that Pret had a new coffee subscription deal, which you can find here your.pret.co.uk.
The deal basically required you to sign up, and in return you’d acquire a full month’s worth of free coffee. What it actually is, is £20 per month for bottomless coffee, with the first month being free!
We settled for visiting two different Prets to grab a coffee each. There would be plenty of time to cash in later. In the meantime, we needed to find something to go with our free coffee. Free donuts were the obvious choice.
Krispy Kreme has two deals that allow you to grab one free donut each; one for signing up, the other for being alive on that particular day (which, for all intents and purposes, is your birthday). We then feasted on our free bounty while listening to the joyous sound of bagpipes, emanating from a nearby square. Scotland was off to a pretty good start.
When it was time for lunch, Jack and I still had our £1 for the day. The only problem was that we still had no idea what to do with it. It really wasn’t going to take us all that far – although with enough searching we were sure that we’d find something eventually.
But then it occurred to me that the journey had been long and difficult, and much more so for Jack. For Jack, living life on the edge of society’s safety nets wasn’t a challenge, a dare, or means of generating content – it was real life. We would be parting ways soon, but before we did, I thought it might be nice to do something meaningful for him. As a kind of thank you for being such a great travelling companion.
I decided it was time to splurge.
The £1 series had been a success. I’d found many ways for a person to stretch their pound and, in many cases, acquire food for free. With Jack having been on the road for so long, I had a feeling that a new backpack, a fresh jacket, and a hearty meal might go a long way in sustaining him for the next little while.
It turned out that he was content with his current backpack, but the idea of a more protective jacket was an exciting one. The idea of a full meal, even more so (for both of us).
We made our way to Cosmo, a global kitchen buffet with more food options than we knew what to do with, and ate to our hearts content. After that, we spent the rest of the day taking pictures and exploring the beauty of Edinburgh.
My journey had finally come to an end, and what a journey it had been. I was unbelievably grateful to have crossed paths with Jack, because he was someone who had truly been living life via survival-hacks and, as a result, had a very unique perspective on life. He was living proof that it was possible – not just for a week, or a month, but as a lifestyle. Of course, you would never want to be in that situation unwillingly, but I found this exciting because it just further confirms the fact that the absolute worst doesn’t have to be as bad as it is now, for anyone.
I’d love to know what experiences you’ve had with living life on a budget and, if you enjoyed this series, feel free to let me know what kind of survival challenge you’d like to see next!