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. Today we’re hearing from Lauren.
Lauren is a 24-year-old Customer Services Adviser from Nottingham, who loves spending money on clothes and meals out. She was keen to take our No Spend Week challenge to see if she could change her spending habits and see her hard-earned cash stack up in her account rather than the tills of local clothes shops and restaurants.
Are you a saver?
Yes and no. I try to regularly save £250 a month into a savings account but it’s very rare it stays in there. I also have ‘save the change’ set up on both of my bank accounts and often use cashback websites for online purchases and this tends to add up over time.
I remember hearing someone say “save first and then spend what’s left” and that is what I try to live by, but so far it hasn’t gone to plan. My worst spending habit is buying clothes and food, without a doubt. I love to eat out at restaurants and hardly ever say no if a friend asks to meet up for a meal. I can never decide on a style either, one day I’m dressing like its 1985 and the day after I’ll be dressed in office chic. This style swapping does not come cheap.
I’ve been going to work as normal throughout lockdown, but I guess early on the biggest change was not buying as many things on my lunch break as all the shops were closed.
I’m currently saving for a house deposit, which is a huge, long term savings goal and I’m determined to kick some of my bad spending habits as I want to have more money to put away for the future.
Take the No Spend Challenge
The only thing I did differently was make my own lunch for work, which didn’t consist of anything exciting but it kept me going. I did have a bit of a stressful day so ended up buying a few things on my lunch break but this only came to about £5 so it didn’t break the bank, however I already felt like I had failed the challenge.
I did much better here, instead of heading towards the shops on my lunch break I went the opposite way and had a walk around the park instead. There’s nothing to throw money at there so whatever I would have spent stayed firmly put in my purse.
I carried on with my new daily routine here: homemade lunch, Nespresso coffee from home and a walk in the park.
I did spend a little here, but this was on necessary items… kind of! I went to Boots to pick up some essentials but I got easily distracted and purchased a couple of non-essential items. I only spent £8 in total so I wasn’t too upset with myself.
I popped to Tesco again, and the fact I can’t remember what I bought suggests it wasn’t essential. The only other thing I bought was a book for 99p, but you can’t ignore deals like that!
Saturday & Sunday
I’ve compiled these days into one section as I went to go and visit my family in Skegness for the weekend. Usually I’m a sucker for some holiday tat and 2p slot machines but I surpassed myself by only breaking into a £20 note and still coming back with some change!
It was a difficult challenge, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Not being able to buy clothes online or eat unnecessary meals out didn’t break me like I thought it would.
It definitely opened my eyes as to how much I spend on unnecessary items in a week. I am going to try and continue my no spend week so I can teach myself not to splash the cash on unnecessary items.
I worked out that I roughly spend about £200 a week on unnecessary items, whereas this week I only spent approximately £50, so I’ve definitely seen a huge saving there! Every time I bought something I felt bad, as if I’d failed a school test, so I definitely think I’ll consider my future purchases more thoroughly.
I think I’ve kicked my lunch spending habit. It’s so easy to make my own lunch and takes me about five minutes in the morning to throw something together so I think that’s something I’ll continue to do.
I will be saving more for sure! Knowing that I wasn’t spending money on things I don’t need felt good.
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.
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