My No Spend Week - Michelle

We’ve challenged a selection of bloggers, 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. Today we’re hearing from Michelle. 


Michelle Chai is a 29-year-old freelance writer and blogger based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. She’s a self-confessed ‘fancy coffee’ enthusiast and can’t resist buying stacks of books on most lunch breaks. Michelle is currently saving to buy her first house alone.

Are you a saver?

I currently save as I’m hoping to finally buy a house this year! I’ve had a rubbish track record with saving. There should be some sort of money guidebook for when you get your first proper job, because I ploughed through my earnings in those first few years and the habit was really hard to shake. My saving method is to put a set percentage away when my pay comes in. I now have a Direct Debit set up that automatically transfers this to my savings account; this way I don’t even see the larger figure in my account and get tempted to spend! Then I use the round-up tool in my banking app to save as I spend, and I put away any leftover cash at the end of the month.

Eating out is by far my worst spending habit! I’m not sure what it is that makes me think £25 is an ‘expensive’ grocery shop, but £30 is fine for one dinner?! And as a freelancer, I still sometimes have the bad habit of treating myself whenever an invoice is paid! The biggest change in my spending from lockdown has been not eating out. I’m blown away at how much I’ve saved by not eating out, not commuting to London three times weekly, and cutting down on those sneaky after-work book or beauty purchases.

At the moment I'm saving for those first few months in my new house when I’ll need furniture, pots and pans, and all the houseplants as excitingly, I’ve now hit my house deposit (and related expenses) goal! I would definitely like to save more money. Saving money, and learning how to do it properly, has been life-changing and it makes me feel like I have a bit of a handle on things. I want to save for a little ‘emergency fund’ too.

Take the No Spend challenge 


I work a typical 9-5 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so I’m confident I’ll nail my no-spend. I took my dog out for a walk and was desperate for a fancy coffee, but made one at home, saving myself an £3.50 (I’m plant-based, so oat milk always costs extra) and lunch has been made (I have a red pepper and hummus wrap). £0.


Another day spent largely at my desk. I’ve been marvelling all through lockdown at how much I save from not being left to my own devices at lunch, taking walks around Soho. Today is ‘new book day’ because I finished my last one at the weekend. Instead of ordering another, I grabbed my Kindle and read a free NetGalley pre-release book on my lunch break. NetGalley is great for reading books completely for free, in exchange for honest reviews.


It’s my final 9-5 day of the week, as I work for my own business during the rest of the week. On my lunch break, I spot that Pokemon Cafe Mix has been released for Nintendo Switch, so I decide to treat myself… Only to realise that it’s a FREE download! Score!


I start my day with a weekly Barre class hosted over Zoom by my usual studio. This is one of my only regular outgoings at the moment, and so I don’t feel too guilty for paying the cash to ensure the studio can keep afloat. It’s also great for my mental health to have this regular ‘appointment’. £6.50.

Afterwards, I’m desperate for an ice lolly! I could nip to the shops, but choose to make my own with some Vimto and lemonade from the cupboard. £2 saved!


After working until 4pm, I’m ready to take my dog out for a later-than-usual walk. I’ve noticed that he’s much more restless than usual, and am constantly worried that he’ll get loose from his harness, so decide to invest in an additional collar for him, in case that ever happens. £12.99 from a local independent business.


Today I’ve planned to do nothing but read, sort the laundry and possible enjoy another ice lolly in the garden. Oh, and a socially distanced dinner with my boyfriend. We don’t live together, and it’s been a struggle during lockdown, but it definitely means I’ve saved on takeaways! And, instead of ordering a takeaway, we rustle up a three-course Indian feast at his. Well, he did. I waited patiently in the garden! £0.


Sundays are sacred in our household. They’re all about a lie-in, some brunch and a coffee. Alas, with restaurants still closed, we rustle up our own. I’ve got tofu scramble on a bagel, and a delicious iced oat milk Dalgona coffee. £0.

The verdict

I found it surprisingly easy to do a ‘no spend’ week! Although I did end up spending a little, it was nothing compared to what I’d typically do. The biggest thing I missed spending on was probably books, but NetGalley is great for those free downloads. I don’t feel negatively towards the week at all and I don’t feel like I missed out on anything either. It was fun to make my own ice lollies (I still have three left!), and this challenge made me seriously reconsider spending whenever the temptation hit. I absolutely considered each purchase, It’s illogical to say you’ll never buy things again, but this week has helped me to really consider my potential buys and think about what I could do instead. I normally batch-buy books, and love a fancy coffee a few times in the week… I think I’ve saved around £35?

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 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 paid 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 and 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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