Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Tenner Challenge: day seven - a week on £9.29

Well, I've done it. I've been without chocolate, Diet Coke, meals out, socialising and other little luxuries for (almost) a whole week. Instead, I've made bread, biscuits and fresh pasta at home, bought bargain birthday cards, pampered myself economically, re-started unfinished projects, explored on a budget and been on a date for £1.92.

At lunchtime today I popped out to spend my remaining pennies on a can of Diet Coke - the thing I've missed the most - and a box of Celebrations for my colleagues.

I'm proud to be able to say, therefore, that this week I've spent a grand total of £9.29. 

I honestly can't remember the last time that I spent so little in a week. Perhaps when I was 15 and had a Saturday job at McDonalds for less than minimum wage. I'm feeling a bit smug and rather proud of myself - I honestly never thought that spending so little, and still managing to do quite a considerable amount, was possible.  

So, what have I learnt?

  • I really love Diet Coke - Having banished buying chocolate, crisps, snacks and sweets from my life this week, I now know that I can easily go without. To be honest, I really haven't missed the daily naughty smackerel of something even a tiny bit. In fact, this week has made me realise that I buy these things, and other food too, because it's there and it's something to do - rather than because I actually want it. Diet Coke, on the other hand, is a completely different ball game. I'm addicted to its sweet, sweet nectar, and at 11am every day I found myself getting the Diet Coke withdrawal shakes. Although it probably doesn't do anything good to my insides at all, I'd prefer this to be my vice rather than cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, and I can't wait to sup on my daily can again next week. 

  • Budgeting is, well, restrictive - Although the past seven days haven't been as boring or as hard as I thought they would be, they have been extremely tiring. Having to think about where every penny goes is exhausting, and planning everything in advance is extremely restrictive. Obviously budgeting and restriction are pretty much synonymous, but I'd never really considered how living off such a small wad of cash could have such a huge impact on day-to-day life. Although I'm lucky enough to live in a city that hosts lots of free events, there are always hidden costs - food and transport really ramps the amount up. Just going for a walk on Saturday wiped out a third of my budget. Socialising was pretty much out of the question due to a lack of funds, which left me feeling housebound and a bit depressed by day five. I'm someone who thrives off doing stuff, and having a week of doing very little left me very down indeed. I can't imagine what it must be like for people who never have more than £10 of disposable income to spend every week due to necessity  and I hope I never have to experience it. But with half of the world living off less than a dollar a day, and hundreds of thousands of people living on the breadline in the UK, it's a very real reality for a lot of people.

  • I can live off a lot less than I normally spend - Would I choose to live off £10 a week again? No way, jose. Would I recommend doing it for a week to others? I would. The truth is, this week has massively put my spending in perspective. Detoxing my spending has given me the confidence to cut down on eating out, snacks and little luxuries. Doing so will do my bank balance the world of good, and to be honest, I won't miss it. It's kick started my willingness to save more and spend less. 2013 is a year to start appreciating what I've got, get better at finishing projects and be more creative with the disposable income I do have. 

So, what's next? Well, I'm off  now to pack my suitcase for a weekend in London to see some of my favourite people and celebrate my wonderful Mum's birthday. Will I be spending more than £10 this weekend? Hell yeah, and I'm going to seriously enjoy it. But on Monday, I'll be back to watching what I spend. I won't be living off a tenner again or restricting the Diet Coke, but I will be turning over a new leaf that my bank manager will be proud of.

The Tenner Challenge: day seven
Total spent - £9.29

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rebecca - I just wanted to say a big 'well done'! Doing a Tenner Week really, really makes you have to step away from those everyday routines and spending patterns, doesn't it? By the way, your date night dinner looked delicious.

    Penny x