By Sarah Francis
A thrifty woman has revealed how she saved $30,000 in eight months – by eating lunch out of the trash.
Amanda Holden, 32, was able to quit her finance job and travel for a year by feasting on the leftovers of her bemused coworkers who nicked named her Dumpster Dog.
While dieting on scraps, she also cut her social spending and shopping until she had enough money to hand in her notice and jet off to Latin America.
Now she blogs about her finances through her humourous blog, aptly named http://dumpsterdogblog.com/
Amanda, from Portland, Oregon, said: “I worked at an office with lots of dudes so there was always extra food.I ate their left overs.
“In approaching this challenge, I was very self-deprecating and using my humour.
“I told my close friends at work. I talked about it openly and most people embraced it.
“There were some times when I couldn’t find any scraps to and I would have to buy food. I would never go hungry.It wasn’t about hurting myself, I was just doing everything I could.
“If someone is going to eat half a pizza, I would just ask them to toss it over.
“When I gave my boss my two weeks notice, he took a minute, then looked at me with a wonky eye and asked if that was why I was eating trash and why I was called the dumpster dog.
“He said he’d seen me pull a half eaten burrito from the trash.
“We had a laugh about it, I was always full of antics.”
At 27-years-old, Amanda found herself without savings and in need of a career change.
She said: “In my twenties, I wasn’t very careful with money. I wanted to reassess but I had no savings, apart from my pension plan, I had nothing else to speak off. No emergency funds.
“I was having a lot of fun, going out every night but it’s not something you can sustain.
“It was no secret that I didn’t love my job. I hit a point I didn’t like what I was doing.”
Amanda set a goal of leaving her job within six months and hoped to save $20,000 to go travelling.
She said: “It was a big ask on my 27-year-old salary.
“The first thing I gave up was shopping. Although it was never my addiction, it was hard as a woman not to spend money on make-up and beauty products.
“The second thing was social spending. I was extremely social person, if I wanted to spend money I had to temper that.
“I cut out hair cuts, no gym membership or buying coffees.
“The third way, I just made an effort to cut out food.”
Once hitting her saving goals, Amanda flew to Mexico and traveled down central America and into South America, where she discovered her passion for teaching financial planning to women.
When she returned to the US, she launched her own business, Invested Development, to coach young women.
She added: “My goal is to make it funny. This is my way of giving back.”