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Can you live on 100 yuan a week?
    2009-01-01 21:56:53     CRIENGLISH.com

While the global financial meltdown still lingering, young city dwellers are trying to cut their expenditure. More and more white-collars in Beijing are carrying out a plan which sets the ceiling on their weekly expenses at 100 yuan or 15 US dollars, which was only enough for a fancy meal previously.

Our reporter Hefei talked to the initiator and some of the participants. Let's see how it works.

The initiator is a 24-year-old photographer named Wang Hao mainly working in Beijing. He's now busy furnishing his new apartment bought six months ago with personal housing loan. It was the pressure of paying out the monthly installments that drove him to cut his expenses.

"I read the notice from the bank. Oh my God! It takes half of my income every month. I was shocked, because I used to spend it all before, and naturally I have no savings. How can I survive afterwards? I realized that maybe I should make a change somehow."

As the typical post-80s generation, Wang Hao was a party animal, and a crazy fan about latest electronic products. As a result, his monthly earning, some 5000 yuan, or 800 US dollars, never lasts to the next salary day in the past couple of years.

"At that time, I bought everything on impulse, and then lost my enthusiasm for it within a week because new ones came into the market. My friends and I had fancy dinners every evening. We went to entertainment places such as KTVs very often. All those cost me 1, 000 yuan a week."

Can you live on 100 yuan a week? [Photo: soufun.com]

Naturally, when six months ago Wang Hao declared his plan that to live on 100 yuan in a week, and called on people to join him on a popular online bulletin, many doubted whether it would work. But still, six people responded.

26-year-old Tu Pan is one of them.

"At the beginning, I participated just for fun. I didn't have that much pressure like to pay out a housing loan. I just enjoyed sharing experience with others. So I kept accounts, took photos on what I bought, and post them online everyday."

Tu Pan has carried out this plan for four weeks till now, and finds it really works.

"I always use up my monthly salary, but now I can save about 2, 000 yuan every month. I use to take a taxi to the subway station on my way to work, which costs 10 yuan each time. It seems a small sum of money, but day by day it grows to a big one. Now I walk there or take a bus, and 500 yuan can be saved on this item every month. Besides, I control myself on clicking online shopping stations, which saved me another 500 yuan. That's a big achievement."

Now the number of people who join the "100 yuan a week" campaign has risen to thousands. Most of participants are white collars in big cities aging from 20 to 30, earning relatively high wages. They figure out different ways to save money.

"I go to wholesale market instead of supermarket to buy things because it's cheaper. And I took bus instead of subway, which can save me 1.6 yuan each time."
"Two colleagues and I used to drive to office respectively. Now we share one together, which save each of us 300 yuan. "

Professor Yu Gefei from Central University of Finance and Economics says it's good for the society to promote a thrift lifestyle among the young generation.

"Participants share experience and ideas on consuming, and set exemplary roles for each other. After a while they will help the whole society to practice economy."

According to the initiator Wang Hao, the success rate of controlling the weekly expense below 100 yuan is only one out of five. But those who failed doing this also saved a lot though. Wang Hao has tried for 14 times, among which only three or four he made it. But he has saved enough money for his monthly installments of housing loan.

"I spent nearly 300 yuan in the first week. But that is already the least I've ever spent within a week. And I have affected many of my colleagues."

Now Wang Hao and his colleagues abandon the expensive restaurants in their office building, but walk to more economic ones ten minutes away in the streets. And he uses many discounts when buying household appliances, which would never come into his mind before.

In response to many questions about whether the control of expenses brings down the living standard, Wanghao says this campaign only helps to live a better and healthier life.

"It doesn't lower the living standard. For example, pizza and steamed stuffed-bun might have huge difference in price, but hardly any difference in nutrition. And riding bikes not only saves your traffic fee, gym fee, but you're medicine fee. Indeed, I haven't caught a cold this winter thanks to the good habit since June."

When more and more people are joining the "100 yuan a week" campaign, some begin to challenge themselves by a new standard-70 yuan a week. Though professionals also suggest people not follow the fashion blindly, white-collars seem just to enjoy the satisfaction of living a thrifty life.

For Beyond Beijing, I'm Hefei.




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