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 all about how they feel about their spending habits before their challenge week and then after, how they might approach saving and spending in the future.
My name is Lucy and I have been blogging over at Curiouser and Curiouser for almost 10 years now. I live in Hertfordshire with my husband and three cats. I supplement our income with freelance writing jobs and surveys and also write a money saving series on my blog.
Are you a saver?
I have my parents to thank for instilling the value of saving money in me. It’s really rewarding to save up for something rather than spending the money as soon as it hits your account. My husband and I saved for years before buying our first home four years ago. It may have taken a while, but we managed to put down a larger deposit than we needed to which helped bring our mortgage down and means we have lower monthly payments. We were engaged for two years before getting married and spent that time saving for our wedding. We delayed our honeymoon, again, saving for it first. Recently we have been saving for an extension.
Previously my worst spending habits were going out and clothes shopping, both of which I have culled and am already noticing the benefits. I thought I’d miss going out as much, but nowadays we prefer visiting friends and family in their homes and having them over to ours.
Take the No Spend challenge
One of the things I enjoyed during lockdown was getting back into yoga again. YouTube and Amazon are full of free resources which are great for this. I have already done a gruelling 30 day yoga and HIT workout and am now part way through another 30 day yoga challenge. I like how yoga gives my day some structure and routine. And even better, it’s free!
Tuesday is typically our food shop day. During lockdown we noticed that we were spending a lot more on food as a lot of the supermarkets had upped their prices. Also a lot of own brand items were out of stock forcing you to go ‘branded’ which we normally wouldn’t do and impacted our total spend. We have since managed to fine-tune this and now spend less by swapping our weekly shop for a fortnightly shop. It forces us to think ahead, which is where meal planning comes into its own. We received our last shop last week so nothing is coming today. Another no spend day.
Like most other days, I write and have a few surveys. The surveys pay peanuts but each one I do goes towards a birthday card for friends or family, meaning I don’t have to touch my savings. Today I feel fed up with wearing the same things over and over again during lockdown. Normally I’d hot foot it online, but I am realistic and know that I have zero restraint. Instead I have a sort out around the house. Whilst doing the washing I find clothing in the bottom of the washing basket that I’d forgotten about. And going through part-filled charity bags, I find items that I have mistakenly thrown out but in fact fit me perfectly. For very little time and effort, I now have different clothes to wear. Are they new? No. But being long lost friends, they feel new.
Dinner tonight is what I fondly call the leftover lottery where I defrost a box of the unknown from the freezer. I have started labelling said boxes but it's not foolproof as I seem to have got two curries mixed up. I thought we were eating leftover cauliflower curry tonight but turns out it's a turmeric chicken curry. No harm done!
Since lockdown we've been especially fond of a 'fakeaway' where we try and replicate our favourite takeaways at a fraction of the cost. Tonight instead of spending 20 odd pounds on a takeaway pizza, we spend just £1.50 on a chargrilled vegetable pizza from Tesco (currently half price) and I make brownies for dessert as we have eggs that need using. I serve the brownies while they're still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream already in the freezer.
At the weekend we like to cook with wine and usually rustle up something that requires a little more effort. When we have vegetables that need using up we tend to cook a vegetarian curry or a homemade pizza. Tonight we are making a katsu curry which uses up the last of our carrots and onions. The rest of the ingredients are things we have in the house already. We always make the sauce in bulk and freeze the leftovers for an easy meal another day.
On Sundays we create a cosy home cinema with lots of blankets (weather permitting). Whilst we occasionally find ourselves missing the actual cinema, we don’t miss the prices. For dinner we make one of our money saving favourites, vegetarian lentil ragu. It comes in at less than 50p per portion and we usually get 10 portions of it, most of which we freeze. It’s really filling and low in fat. Sometimes it can be expensive to eat healthily but this dish proves that this isn’t always the case!
In all honesty, I find zero spend - or low spend - weeks fairly easy as seeing the money build up in your account rather than leaving it is hugely motivating. A big part of us spending less has been because we haven’t gone out these last few months, so money spent socialising is now zero as we are now using video calls instead. This week I saved on daily yoga classes, clothes (a dangerous cost that can easily spiral), a cinema visit (plus snacks) and takeaways. All of these being nice things to do but aren’t essential and can easily be replicated for a fraction of the cost. I do find that writing money spending diaries on my blog or on paper does help rein me in. I definitely question potential purchases a lot more now and try to identify whether it’s a ‘want’ or a ‘need’.
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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