Tenner Week Jan 2019: Day 6 – Financial filing


We made it to the weekend! Now we’re moving on to Day Six of the January 2019 Tenner Week Challenge, and while your budget might be dwindling you might also have a little more free time today to get things done.

All through this week the aim has been to get by on a budget of just £10 for personal spending, and it can be tough at this time of year, especially when the weather’s so cold and grey. However, lots of people are trying to get out of debt right now or just organise their finances more effectively, so at least there’s less social pressure to go out and spend, spend, spend, and it’s easier to stay home more and hibernate.

How’s your budget holding up? If you have a spare moment today it can be useful to engage in a small amount of introspection about situations and emotions that trigger you to want to overspend. When have you felt the urge to splurge in the last few days? What led up to it? Would it really improve your life, or just leave a hole in your bank balance? What could you do instead to avoid the triggers or react to them differently?

Today it’s time to turn our attention to our finances and start tidying them up at the simplest level: filing. It might be straightforward but it’s something that many of us put off – even though sorting it out can give you helpful clarity.


Today’s declutter: Financial filing

We’re doing this on a Saturday in case you need a few extra minutes to complete the task, as some of us have more clutter here than others. It’s time to sort out and file those bills, bank statements and more, whether they’re on paper or they’re digital files.

Here’s the running order:

  • Collect up any unopened bills or scattered financial paperwork. Open the unopened ones.
  • Collect up your digital files. It’s up to you whether you do bank & building society statements, household bills, or another category of your choosing, such as savings and investments, pensions or whatever else you like.
  • For digital files, you may need to log in with a provider, or request to be emailed your statements.
  • Go through your paperwork, and sift out anything that’s junk mail or unwanted marketing mail. Shred it if it has your personal details on it, otherwise put it in the recycling.
  • Separate paperwork into piles for each provider, and arrange it into order by date. Put it into a designated file or folder if you have a spare one, and improvise with an envelope or temporary bag if you don’t.
  • Create folders for your digital files, so that you can find them easily in a hurry.
  • Go through your organised statements and bills, and give them a quick check though for mistakes, final demands, missed payments, or anything else that needs to be dealt with swiftly.
  • If you find any problems, contact providers today if you can, or visit the website of a debt charity such as StepChange if you need urgent help. It’s easier to sort problems out if you have the files or paperwork in front of you, neatly laid out so you know exactly where you stand.
  • If you have urgent problems but can’t contact your provider on a Saturday, commit to contacting them on Monday.
  • Put your shredding and junk mail out in the recycling.
  • Add folders, files or document boxes to your shopping list for next week if you need any.

I know that this can be scary for some of us, but it’s genuinely better to know what’s going on. While it isn’t a fun or entertaining thing to do, it can give you a valuable sense of taking charge of your finances and generally being more organised so it’s 100% worth doing.


What’s happening here

Yesterday I did a very quick sort of the sock drawer, and as it was done so quickly I also had a quick trawl through the underwear drawer. There were a couple of bits and bobs in there that never get worn, so they’ve gone in the charity box, and anything that was bagging, sagging or dragging has gone in the recycling or the bin. That makes it a lot easier to get ready in the half light of those dark January mornings – less clutter, more streamlined.

Today’s paperwork and digital files declutter won’t be too difficult here because I did a big tidy up of that last week. A pile of unopened mail built up while I was ill and under the weather at the end of 2018, and it was giving me a touch of anxiety whenever I looked at it. I’d already picked up some new folders, so it was just a case of making a cuppa, sitting down, setting a timer and getting on with it. Most of it turned out to be junk anyway, so the shredder got put into action. I’ll use the extra time today to make a quick summary of my finances and think about where I’d like to improve them in the coming year.

Last night we had veggie burgers from the freezer, with sweetcorn, salad and spicy homemade sweet potato wedges. It was lovely, but I think it could have been even better with a helping of chilli or tomato relish or some salsa. We didn’t have any in stock, and I was tempted to buy some but decided against it and improvised with ordinary ketchup. Another time, maybe, when I’m not on a budget.

We’ve been steadily chomping our way through our leftover Christmas food and drink, and some of the edible gifts that people kindly gave us. My plan for breakfast today is to use up some cute mini pots of jam that a neighbour bought for us – I tend to put sweet treats like that on a shelf and smile at their cuteness whenever I pass by yet never get around to using them up, so it’s time to make a change. Toasted English muffins from the freezer, fancy jam and a big mug of coffee should start the weekend off just right.

Tonight I’m making a cheesy leek bake with crusty bread and lots of greens on the side, seeing as it’s the weekend and we like to relax and take our time cooking. We’re probably going to stay at home, read and watch movies today, and I might sow up some pots of herbs for the kitchen windowsill too – not very exciting but definitely very thrifty. Sunday will be more sociable with a trip into town, carefully avoiding my favourite shops.

After buying milk on Wednesday I’ve managed to avoid spending anything else, so the majority of my little budget is still intact. That might change today if we do drag ourselves out of the house; we might need a few groceries or decide to visit a cafe. Will keep you posted.

Total spent so far: £1.20.


Do you have any bills, bank statements or other financial filing that you need to do today? Do you have any of your £10 budget left?


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  1. Dear Penny, I bought the excellent book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen to reorganise my life completely. This is my challenge for the coming year. Have you heard about it ?
    Love Paty

  2. Hi Paty – I haven’t heard of that book, but I’ll go and have a look at it. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Dear Penny,
    I just ran across your blog and want to thank you for your excellent ideas. I plan to take on your tenner challenge this coming week.

  4. Hi Mary Ellen, so glad you like the blog and thank you for your kind words! Hope you have a good Tenner Week Challenge, and best of luck.

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