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Sunday, 28 June 2009 22:23

Living Lightly by Mayo based Gillian Marsh is a timely six-part TV series starting in September. It follows three Irish families as they strive to revolutionise the cost and quality of their lives. Their goal: to forget what they want and focus on what they need.

Reduce, reuse, borrow, barter, choose cheaper alternatives, break bad habits, grow your own or do without. Spend less. Live a better life.

All three families are living way beyond their means, still addicted to ‘must-haves’, little luxuries, spending patterns and ways of life more suited to 2006 than 2009. And now, all three face a challenge.

For ninety days, they’ll be advised, monitored and mentored by two sympathetic taskmasters: consumer expert Conor Pope, who’ll audit their spending and set targets designed to reduce it, and ‘frugal enthusiast’ Ella McSweeney who’ll suggest alternatives and offer practical help. On the agenda: everything from reducing fuel and transport bills to rehabilitating impulse shoppers, fast food aficionados and treat-addicts.

Helping them - and more dauntingly, their kids - to see the light will be no easy task. Conor, Ella and the families themselves will have to be  innovative, resourceful and immensely patient. There’ll be failure as well as success, not to mention frustration, denial, confusion and the odd tantrum.

But it’ll be worth it. Because saving money is only part of the plan.

As we’ll see, cutting the cost of living can do wonders for the quality of family life.