How to live on $20

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

So intrigued were we by a Telegraph story that tens of thousands of Chinese people had taken up the challenge to live on $20 a week, we thought we'd outline our own tips for doing so in…

So intrigued were we by a Telegraph story that tens of thousands of Chinese people had taken up the challenge to live on $20 a week, we thought we'd outline our own tips for doing so in Australia. Wendy Beecroft takes up the challenge

1. Eat at the office. Attend all fun committee/social committee/geek committee luncheons, morning teas and afternoon teas and gorge yourself stupid.

Better yet, join the committee and also score any and all leftovers from said functions for consumption later in the day/week.


Better better yet, be the person in charge of transporting said free fare to the meeting rooms and "accidentally" leave a plate or two in the cupboard/under the sink/under your desk.

Free-for-alls at the fruit basket go without saying, although if you miss the arrival of said fruit, "redistributing" to you might be effected from desks after co-workers have left the building.

"Accidentally" pick up someone else's plastic shopping bag from the fridge for a take home-dinner.

Beginners beware: discreet perusal of the contents of other people's bags is advised before selecting your free dinner: someone else's lentil surprise may not be your, well, bag, so selecting something you can consume or onsell to cash-strapped housemates is vital.

2. Drink at the office. Attend all fun committee/ social committee/geek birthday/public holiday /award recognition drinks and drink yourself stupid. Better yet, while you are non-sober enough not to care but not so drunk that you do it in front of the boss, stuff your bag with "roadies" for later. Beginners beware: carefully placing a glass containing alcohol in your bag and ever-so-gently laying a napkin across the top of it does not guarantee its non-spilliness, and will likely result in the added cost of having to buy a new bag and/or bag contents. Non-alcoholic beverage consumption is also strongly recommended. Not only is there no need to pay for tea and coffee while at work, there is no need to pay for it at home. Those single sachets of tea and coffee slip easily into a brassiere, pocket, handbag or jock strap (although rapid retrieval is advised in this instance) and are easily transported to your home where you can enjoy their wonderful freeness, or, alternatively, onsell them to housemates. Milk should be quaffed liberally and may be easily transported from the building in your Dora The Explorer thermos flask, although a reduction in tearoom traffic is advised for this manoeuvre.

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3.Sleep at the office. Does your boss love workers who stay late and start early? Rock his or her world and save on bus/train fares and shoe leather by staying at the office a couple of nights a week. This will also save you on electricity at your own home, many many sheets of toilet paper, wear and tear on your own carpet/lino/floorboards/park bench and, if you squeeze your eyes really tight and pretend as hard as you know you can, you can make believe you're in a really high-tech hotel room. Beginners beware: office sleepover playtime is much more fun if your office has a TV somewhere; if not be sure to park your sleeping bag under the desk of that nerdy girl who sits by the window and always has a stack of books in amongst her party hats and stuffed toys, so you have free library access.

4. Shower at the office. While ensconced in your professionally provided playpen, take advantage of all amenities and ablute to your heart's content. Take a shower for an hour, shave and depilate all those cute little fuzzy bits while wasting someone else's hot water. You can probably appropriate some dish liquid from the tearoom to double as body wash and shampoo and ripping open a few tea bags and giving yourself a vigorous rub with the contents can be a luxurious skin scrub.

5. Steal someone else's identity. If you are not so lucky to have a shower at work, this is where identity theft really comes into its own. Somehow pocketing the ID of a laid-off workmate is not easy, but oh so worth it. Choose someone you know who had a work-sponsored gym membership and become them. Voila! Instant access to free hot water (and other people's shampoo if you are really fast and flexible around a shower cubicle) and free exercise. Be thrifty - it's nifty!

Lawyers Weekly does not condone the theft of anything, except story ideas from China.

How to live on $20
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