Jump Start Aug: TENNER WEEK: Day 1

tenner week menu plan food stocktakeHello, hello – it’s time for a new Tenner Week! Are you up for the challenge, to live on £10 for a week? If so, take out £10 in cash and see whether you can make it through the next seven days without spending more than what’s in your budget.

If you haven’t done a Tenner Week challenge before, the £10 covers the food, drink, entertainment, treats and other discretionary spending for one adult.

Your £10 does not include: spending on pets/kids, travel to and from work, anything you’ve already booked and paid for, work expenses, essential medication, utility bills, rent, regular standing orders, course fees etc.

You are positively encouraged to use things up and minimise waste, so it’s fine to use up whatever’s in the fridge, storecupboard, freezer, kitchen garden/allotment, shed, garage, craft box and so on.

There’s an optional ‘TV Diet’ too. You’ll get the most out of the week if you avoid staying at home and watching TV every night – it’s a very effective way of getting out of that particular rut. Limit your at home screen time to four hours or less if you’re joining in with this one.

As this Tenner Week is also part of a Jump Start month, we’ll be doing one different activity each day – something simple and fairly easy to do – to improve your personal finances or wellbeing.

Here’s the plan for the £10 week:

  • Day 1: (Thu) Food stocktake & menu plan
  • Day 2: (Fri) Cheap night out / cheap night in
  • Day 3: (Sat) Go shopping with no money
  • Day 4: (Sun) Mend or alter something
  • Day 5: (Mon) Get involved
  • Day 6: (Tue) Find a freebie
  • Day 7: (Wed) Aaaaand…relax…

Today is the food stocktake and menu plan. Start by making a note of all the food and drink you have in and around the house, including:

  • Fridge
  • Icebox
  • Freezer
  • Cupboards
  • Shelves
  • Larder/pantry/store
  • Fruit bowl
  • Biscuit tin
  • Bread bin
  • Spice & herb rack
  • Baking box / flavourings
  • Condiments & sauces
  • Wine rack / drinks store
  • Windowsill herbs
  • Kitchen garden
  • Allotment
  • Greenhouse

There’s probably a lot more knocking around than you thought. Yes? If there’s anything that’s in date but about to go off, prioritise using this up as soon as you can, or freeze it if it can be frozen to preserve it.

Getting a good idea of your available food should inspire you with a few meal ideas. Now all you need to to is write up a menu for the week, including breakfasts, packed lunches, evening meals, snacks and so on.

If possible, try to make your meal plans healthy for the most part, ideally including 5 portions of fruit or vegetables per day. Also try to cook a few favourite meals if you can, so there’s something nice to look forward to.

I’ve been working on my menu for the week and it’s mostly going to involve using up gluts of tomatoes and courgettes from my kitchen garden, although I did find one or two tasty-looking things in the freezer. Might need to buy some milk and a snack or two before the end of the week, but let’s see how all that turns out.

Tonight’s menu: spinach and cheese gnocchi, and some mixed berries for dessert. Not bad for a quick supper, quite looking forward to that.

Available now: The ‘How to Live on £10’ ebook

To make your Tenner Week go with a bigger bang, try ‘How to Live on £10 a Week: Take the Tenner Week Challenge’. It includes a real life example of a shopping basket and menu, and plenty of free and cheap ways to keep yourself entertained.

It costs less than a cup of fancy coffee, and will save you loads of cash. You don’t need to own a Kindle to read this book – there’s free, safe official software you can download to read it on your phone, tablet or computer.

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