How much could you save in a week?
We’ve challenged a selection of our team, content creators and the public to only spend their money on the essentials for one week. Check out the My No Spend Week hub for some inspiration on saving. Maybe a ‘no spend’ week could change how you view your spending habits?
We’ve quizzed our diarists how they feel about their spending habits before their challenge week and then after, how they might approach saving and spending in the future.
I’m Chloe and I’m a nomadic traveller who blogs at I'm Just A Girl and loves visiting new countries, cities and continents! Fuelled by a love for travel, an adoration of garlic bread and an overwhelming obsession with New York and New Zealand.
Are you a saver?
I’ve always been great at saving as I’ve had a clear goal in mind about what I wanted to save for - travel. Before returning back to the UK in March, I spent 11 months backpacking around New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia with my boyfriend so for years before that, I saved as much money as I possibly could from my job in digital marketing as a content writer and then from my freelancing and blogging endeavours when I became self-employed full time in January 2019. At the moment, I’m still saving as much as I can in order to travel full time when it’s possible again.
I try to save at least £500 out of my earnings a month, which has been fairly easy to do throughout lockdown as I was spending very little. As we’ve started to go on more local trips again in the last couple of months, that figure has fluctuated somewhat, but I still try and put away a good few hundred pounds at the end of every month.
My biggest change in spending throughout lockdown was that I practically spent nothing! We were lucky to move into a caravan in my parents’ garden in the Lake District when we arrived home in March as we had to quarantine, so apart from paying to top up the boiler and food, we had very little living expenses. I’d always like to be able to save more money. I’d like to think I’m pretty frugal already, but I know for sure there are still ways I could always improve.
Take the No Spend Challenge
This Monday was a bank holiday, but we didn’t have anything planned so I just stayed at home and worked instead. I’m a full-time freelance writer and travel blogger so my workdays can vary massively. Sometimes I just sit in front of my laptop all day, and some days I’m out attending events or on a press visit (it sounds quite glam, but the reality isn’t always so!). We’re staying in York for a few weeks right now with my boyfriend’s parents as we used to live in York before we went travelling so all our friends are here, so it makes sense for us to spend some time here in between our trips right now. I only left the house once on Monday to take the dogs out for a walk, so I didn’t spend a penny.
Tuesday was very similar to Monday in that I barely left the house apart from to take the dogs out for a walk, so I didn’t spend any money again. I spent most of the day writing content for my own blog, as well as some copy for a client so it was a productive, albeit rather boring day.
Wednesday was slightly more eventful as I headed off to Lightwater Valley for the day as a part of a collaboration with them. As this was a press visit, we were very kindly gifted the tickets, so we didn’t spend any money to attend. Although we drove there which is an hour each way, our car didn’t need any petrol as we filled up last week, so we saved on that expense as well. We also took our own sandwiches and drinks to the theme park, so we didn’t need to buy any food out.
On Thursday, I spent most of my time at my desk again working as I had a few projects I had to finish before the end of the week deadline. We went on a long walk with the dogs again but we took them on the back fields behind the house so there were no shops around and I didn’t need to spend any money.
I spent Friday morning finishing up some last bits of work for the week and then my boyfriend and I headed into town to run some errands. For over ten years now, I’ve had a Boots Advantage Card which means you get points every time you spend money there. So, we headed to Boots because we needed some toiletries and I was delighted that I had enough money on my card from the points I’d accumulated previously, so I didn’t technically spend any actual money!
Saturday however, My No Spend Week came to a bit of an abrupt end as we met some friends in town for a few drinks. I spent approximately £30 on drinks on Saturday evening which I didn’t necessarily need to do, but it was a sort of date night for the two of us after having a relatively quiet week. I don’t feel particularly bad about this purchase at all, as we really haven’t spent much money on meals and nights out since we arrived back to the UK and went straight into lockdown so £30 in one week on “unnecessary” purchases isn’t too bad.
On Sunday, I didn’t spend a penny as I spent pretty much the whole day on the sofa recovering from the previous night’s shenanigans!
I didn’t find it difficult to not spend; even though I spent £30 in one night on drinks, that was all I spent all week and I spend way more than that when we’re travelling full time so it didn’t feel like a great splurge. However, I have missed spending throughout lockdown, so it was nice to be able to go out for the evening. The purchases I did make this week were more considered. For example, the shopping I bought at Boots was done so in the knowledge that I had enough Advantage Card points to cover the cost of everything I bought so it was practically free!
As I was busy with work, I didn’t struggle to not spend much money. I very rarely buy lunch out and I’m not a big coffee drinker at all so my disposable income never goes on takeaway coffee or anything like that. Even when we go on day trips which we’ve been doing frequently recently (apart from last week!), we nearly always take our own lunch, drinks and snacks with us to save money.
It’s difficult to say how much I’ve saved as no two weeks are ever the same for me. I think compared to recent weeks where we’ve been going out a lot more to different places (Ripon, Edinburgh, Glasgow, just to name a few), I’ve saved money and I’ve certainly saved money since we were travelling full time. I’m always on the lookout for more ways to save money, so this challenge did encourage me to think more about my purchases and spend my money on what I deem to be essential and necessary. I’ll be trying more of these weekly challenges in the future for sure!
Your No Spend Week?
So, what do you think? Could you go a whole week and only spend on essentials? No treats or coffees or new clothes? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook and if you’d like to write your own ‘My No Spend Week’ diary – send us an email telling us all about yourself to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our range of savings accounts and our Essential Savings Guides too for some more tips and tricks for saving money.
*The featured content creators have been asked to take part in and keep a diary of their ‘My No Spend Week challenge’. However the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed belong solely to the content creator. The opportunity is open to members of the public too if they also wished to take part in the challenge. There is no commercial relationship between The Nottingham or content creator and any products or brand mentioned in their diary.
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