Lessons learned from the ‘Boost Your Mood’ Tenner Week Challenge

Boost Your Mood tenner week challenge budgeting lessons learned

Well, what a week that was! The ‘Boost Your Mood’ Tenner Week budgeting challenge came back with a new feel-good theme and the same amount of spending money.

As usual, there were plenty of highlights, plus a few ups and downs. Here’s how I got on with all of it, and I’d love to hear about your experiences too (leave a comment in the box at the bottom of this post if you’d like to share).

My Tenner Week spending diary

I chose to work with the £25 all-in budget, and here’s how my spending went:

  • Tuesday: £1.55 on groceries at the supermarket – no regrets
  • Wednesday: £3.50 on coffee on my day off – no regrets (it was freezing cold outside and there was nowhere else convenient to hang out nearby for free)
  • Wednesday: £4.65 on a mushroom toastie at Caffe Nero – no regrets, again, it was ‘brass monkeys’ outside and there was nowhere nearby that was warm enough to sit and eat a packed lunch anyway
  • Saturday: £12.94 for lunch (bowl of veggie stew), coffee and service charge at a nice bakery – no regrets, this trip had been planned for ages and it was great to socialise

Total spent: £22.64, which was a little better than the last time I did this challenge back in October last year. I had £2.36 left at the end this time, instead of 5p.

On balance I think I made fewer mistakes than during the last one, but different times of year bring different pressures. Most people are low on funds or trying to drink less, or eat more healthily in January, for example, so that probably went in my favour.

If I was going to nit-pick, I’d say I could have scheduled my Wednesday appointments closer together timewise, so I wasn’t hanging around town in the middle of a chilly day in January. I’ll probably do that differently next time (some places tell you they’re soooo busy, then you get there and realise there are more staff than customers…hmmm).

Peer pressure & upselling

There was also some peer pressure on the Saturday. Almost every time I do one of these challenges, someone tries to get me to overspend. Nobody needs to know, we won’t tell anyone, I often hear.

Yes, being on a budget can cause a little friction with others from time to time, but I’m more than happy to make my own decisions here. I’m not an insecure teenager trying to ingratiate myself with the cool kids.

When this sort of thing happens I just repeat myself a few times without raising my voice, then I change the subject and the conversation moves on. It gets easier the more you do it, but I suddenly feel a strong urge to put together some related articles and exercises – it’s a minefield and affects so many people.

five pound note

How the daily activities went

The latest theme was ‘Boost Your Mood’ and it was all based on well-researched and studied techniques to help people feel better in themselves and their lives.

Here’s a quick reminder of the schedule, if you want to look the days over in more detail:

I printed off a Tenner Week spending diary (you can sign up for a FREE one below), and started with a quick Sunday Stocktake, then made a simple menu.


Tenner Week Spending Diary!

The Sunday Stocktake

There were, as always, a few items in there that I’d completely forgotten about. I’m not the only person who puts leftovers in the freezer – when you’re busy, there are are only so may things you can concentrate on at one time. There were some portions of batch cooking in there that saved time during the week, plus a few treats that were surplus to requirement over Christmas and New Year.

The fridge was less of an issue. That’s organised with everything on view and I make an effort to keep it clean and tidy,so it’s rare to have anything go off there before it can be used up.

Monday: Gratitude / attitude

I tried keeping two mini diaries, doing a quick ‘things I’m looking forward to’ diary in the mornings, and a three-line ‘grateful for’ diary in the evenings. They mostly didn’t match up, which just goes to show how many days take you by surprise! I especially enjoyed the morning diary, which put me in a positive mood for each day.

Tuesday: Keep on moving

The easy option was going on the folding exercise bike in front of a comedy show on the telly. Reader, I took it. Sometimes you need to bribe yourself, or make it more convenient, and that’s okay.

Wednesday: We like a challenge

You probably know that I like to do a good declutter from time to time. I decided to take it one step further by reading up on what professional home organisers get up to, and also discovered that some of them seem to disagree with one another. Which certainly ‘sparked joy’ here, sorry not sorry.

Thursday: Give out, not in

This activity was all about acts of giving and kindness, and I ran a few things to the local food bank drop-off point. Mostly staple foods they’re always asking for, but a few treats as well because everyone deserves a little treat from time to time.

Friday: Go to ‘can do’

Friday’s ‘can do’ attitude was about finding a range of solutions to a small or medium-sized problem. I picked ways to boost my finances in February, and (probably unsurprisingly) ended up with a handy can-do-to-do-list. So spending less with a new budget and some extra challenges (oh yes, look out!) is on the cards, plus ways to earn more such as selling old things I found during January decluttering exercises.

Saturday: Connect five

This activity was all about little steps to boost your social life and/or deepen relationships. It ranged from saying a big thank you to cafe staff and complimenting their work to inviting friends to events. Having mobile phones switched off over lunch was idyllic, and I’m sure the other customers felt that way too.

Sunday: Mindful moment

I nearly forgot to choose and do a mindfulness exercise, and it’s been pointed out that it wasn’t very mindful of me. So helpful, thanks *rolls eyes*. Anyway, I ended up doing a guided 10 minute exercise on the free version of the Balance app, and it was all about resolutions. I felt very refreshed afterwards, and ended up doing some more thinking about goals and values, which are both good to come back to on a semi-regular basis.

There was nothing I didn’t enjoy about the daily activities, so I would be happy to do all of them again. My favourite thing was making an ‘I’m looking forward to…’ list every morning, so I just picked up a mini week-to view pocket diary (discounted, seeing as it’s February now) to keep up the habit though the year. It doesn’t feel forced, and it sets me up nicely for the day.

To sum up: Tenner Week lessons learned

All in all, the ‘Boost Your Mood’ daily activities definitely combined to give me a little pick-me-up at a very blah-feeling time of year. I would definitely love to do another January well-being challenge next time around.

The updated £25 budget went okay, in spite of the cost of living crisis still getting a bit worse. Not too low, and not too high.

We pretty much managed to avoid doing the weekly ‘big shop’ during the challenge, apart from a couple of bits and bobs. This week’s grocery shop is also a fairly normal size and cost, so fortunately we seem to have avoided doing a dreaded ‘rebound shop’ too. That’s a good result during a skint, grey January.

So this time around, my main Tenner Week lessons learned were: don’t spend too much time in town during cold weather (there’s a serious lack of no-spend ‘third spaces’ and you can’t eat or drink in the library), peer pressure is still a pain in the bum, and also the feel-good factor is very important in January.

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Did you try the ‘Boost Your Mood’ Tenner Week Challenge, or are you thinking about trying it out in your own time? How did you get on if you tried it?

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