Each Tenner Week challenge is designed to fit around busy lifestyles, so you can just start one on a Monday without warming up. However, if you really want to be sure you’ll have a successful Tenner Week, a little planning and persistence pays off.
[If you’re new to the Tenner Week budgeting challenge, you can read all about it here.]
Here are my twelve top tips for making sure you save money and live well during any Tenner Week challenge, whatever the theme might be.
1. Choose your budget wisely & EARLY
Decide which budget to use: either keep the bills low and give yourself £10 for pocket money, or choose the all in personal budget of £25.
Make a firm decision at the beginning, and stick to it. This makes it easier to plan your budget, and can stop you looking for loopholes that might sabotage your spending.
2. Always do the Sunday Stocktake
Work out exactly what food and drink you have in stock, and write it down. Seeing what you do have can make you less anxious that you don’t have enough, and it can inspire the creative part of your brain to come up with some good recipes.
Have a really good look at the ‘keep yourself entertained’ or specific ‘get ready’ weekly theme checks under the food and drink stocktake as well.
3. Plan to eat well
Write out a menu with what’s in stock, and try not to buy anything extra if you can help it. Put perishable ingredients like salad leaves or fresh berries on your menu at the start of the week, to use them up in time.
Make any food you do have last longer. For example, freeze some bread or milk so it doesn’t go off. Look out for free food to stretch your budget too: freebie vouchers, samples being given away, or anything being offered for collection on apps such as Olio.
4. Be a social animal
Keep in touch with friends, and make free or cheap social plans, but don’t plan too many social arrangements with people who love to spend spend, spend. Manage expectations and tell people you’re doing a money-saving challenge.
It’s okay to accept hospitality from people whose turn it is to pay for coffee and cake, or accept a dinner invitation if you fed them last time – fair’s fair if you’re a generous person.
5. Pace your spending for a successful Tenner Week
Plan a few no-spend days at the start of the week, and give yourself more options and cash for later. Keep most of your money back for the weekend, if that’s when you’ll have more free time.
If you’ve already paid for something, like concert tickets or a block of evening classes, make sure you keep going to those. You don’t want to waste them.
6. Try something new every day (if you can)
There’s a new themed activity to try every day with these budgeting challenges. If you miss a day, don’t give up: you can easily catch up at the weekend.
The Tenner Week challenge is designed to be flexible, because sometimes life can be unpredictable. You can do all the daily prompts in one go if you really want to, although it’s best to spread them out if you can.
7. Take PLENTY of really good notes
Keep a note of your all spending as you go along. You may find it easier to work in cash if you’re the kind of person who spends impulsively, especially if it’s through contactless payments via cards, ApplePay and so on.
Also keep a note of any urges you have to spend. What triggers them? What thoughts go through your head? How do you resist them or talk yourself out of it? Do the urges go away after a few seconds, minutes or hours?
Good quality notes can help you spot things that you weren’t aware of before, and can led to all kinds of interesting insights. They can be a highly effective prompt for making a few useful changes in your life.
8. We all need something to look forward to
If you work hard all week, plan something nice to do at the weekend. It doesn’t have to be expensive, you could choose something that’s completely free.
It shouldn’t feel like every single day is something to be endured – make sure there are things to be enjoyed.
9. Say no to FOMO & couch potato
Try not to spend too much time watching TV or scrolling aimlessly on social media. Find a few free or cheap things to do to keep yourself busy that will bring you happiness and quality of life (see below.)
10. Make health a priority
Think about life balance and your general wellbeing. Can you schedule in some free or low-cost exercise, a walk in nature, a chat with a friend, some time for a hobby, volunteering or helping out, anything educational, or time to enjoy creative works (books, music, film, comedy, theatre, games and more)?
Carve out a little time to properly relax too. Even a few minutes can make a difference. Remember that a successful Tenner Week isn’t just about saving money.
11. Consider what’s really important
Spend some time daydreaming or making plans for the future. What’s important to you? Where do you want to go? What do you want to try? How might you make it happen?
12. Pause, reflect and celebrate
After you’ve made it through the week, take a moment to pause and reflect. What went well? What didn’t work out? Was anything difficult at the time, but turned out to be worth the effort?
Is there anything you’d like to bring with you from your Tenner Week challenge into everyday life?
If you make it through the week and manage to stay within your budget, give yourself a big round of applause. The same goes for trying out all the different daily activities – celebrate your success. Sticking to a challenging budget is an achievement to be proud of.
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- Tenner Week lessons learned: Budget leak week
- Tenner Week lessons learned: Stress reduction week
- Tenner Week March Challenge & new budget rules
These are some of my top tips for having a successful Tenner Week challenge, but of course there are even more ways to stick to your budget and save money. There’s more coming soon.
If you’ve already completed a Tenner Week, please share your own successes and tips in the comments box below to help people who are new to the challenge.