herald

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Darren Kennedy went a day without spending a cent and shares his short-term recession survival tactics

FREELOAD: Darren found sponging fun for a while

The country may well be feeling the pinch but one savvy recessionista is giving us tips on how to survive.

Darren Kennedy took the challenge of living on nothing for the Derek Mooney radio show on RTE Radio One.

"My mission was to see just how much I could sponge off my friends in one day. In other words, I was to have my cake, eat it and have someone else wash the plate," he said.

Far from being embarrassed, Darren revealed that he got a kick out of his stingy ways.

"My first task was getting a shower and a shave, and with electricity and gas prices soaring in the past couple of months so I wasn't going to squander my cash on heating water," Darren explained.

"I door-stepped one of my dear friends, Kieran, at 9am. I asked, somewhat cautiously, could I use his shower, using the excuse that the water in my area had been turned off."

Darren didn't bring a towel, shampoo or razor blade using his mate's instead. Then he thought he might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, and blagged breakfast as well.

"My initial reluctance to sponge off my friends had transformed into a hunger to get more and more," Darren told the Herald.

"My next task was to get my dirty laundry washed, so, over to my friend Jedda I went, using the excuse that my washing machine was broken."

Darren persuaded his friend to put on two washes, and tumble-dry and iron his trousers.

Then he dropped into the conversation that he was starving. And it paid off. He left only after a ham, cheese and tomato sandwich.

Darren's final task was dinner, and he managed to fool another friend.

"I invited my friend Dave to come over to eat. But 45 minutes before he was due to arrive, I called him saying the steaks I'd bought for dinner had gone off and could he pick some up on his way over," cheeky Darren said. "I pushed things even further telling him I'd seen a fantastic bottle of red wine on special and asked if could pick that up, too. He arrived with fillet steaks, bottle of wine, and to top it all off -- dessert!!"

"A recent study suggested that the average person spends E61 a month on friends who sponge," said Darren.

Darren reckons his tactics saved him roughly €50, although, on a long-term basis, the cost on his friendships would no doubt mount up.

"The secret is to spot serial spongers and avoid them like the plague, but if your mate needs a dig out before payday -- be nice. We're all in this recession together," he said.

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