A brand new Tenner Week budgeting challenge starts this Monday (the 20th of February), and the general theme for this one is decluttering and spring cleaning because it’s time for a big ole’ tidy up before the warmer months arrive.
It’s a simple money-saving challenge: you try to live on a budget of £10 (pocket money) or £25 (all in, with groceries) over the next seven days for your personal spending, plus you get a new activity to try each day that fits with the general theme. This type of short-term budgeting can be especially useful if you’re low on funds the week before payday, having to pay an unexpected bill, trying to break the habit of overspending, saving up a small amount of money for something, or trying to clear debts faster.
Make the most of what you own, and try to recycle, mend, upcycle, improvise, use up groceries you already have, and avoid waste wherever you can.
What’s included & what isn’t (NB: NEW RULES!)
Last month the Tenner Week challenge was almost impossible due to rising costs, particularly caused by extraordinarily high rates of food price inflation. As a result, the challenge budget has had to be redrawn, with two options to choose from:
- OPTION 1: You have £10 that’s just for your personal ‘pocket money‘, so that’s things you might like to have as a little treat for yourself. Aside from that, try your best to keep your other essential spending down if you can, but you don’t need to include it in the challenge.
- OPTION 2: You allow yourself £25 budget for your personal share of any food & drink you might buy, and one or two little treats for yourself.
If you choose Option 1, your £10 pocket money budget is for: tea, coffee, snacks while you’re out, a glass of wine or beer, soft drinks, stationery, books, magazines, accessories, a bar of chocolate, small beauty treats, little ornaments or other homeware, or whatever you like as long as it’s within budget. These are basically things that tend to make life more pleasant, but aren’t 100% essential.
If you choose Option 2, this includes money for your main grocery shop for the week, ideally a very thrifty one (it will really help if you do the Sunday stocktake below after reading this, and write a meal plan). When I say ‘your personal share of food’, let’s say you spend £6 on ingredients for a meal for four people, and you each eat approximately the same sized portion of the food – this works out at £1.50 for your share, not the full £6.
As always your Tenner Week challenge budget doesn’t include: rent, mortgage, utility bills, prescriptions and medicines, travel to and from work, anything you need to buy for work, tickets or subscriptions you’ve already purchased, or money you need to spend on your kids / pets / partner. [Every time I run one of these challenges someone moans at me because they had to get something for someone else and it ‘ruined their budget’ – so every time I now make a point of repeating that basic bit of the rules in bold italic type. You’re welcome, it’s all part of the service, don’t @ me. XOXO.]
Declutter & spring clean week schedule
There will be a new activity to try out each day, always including at least one completely free option in case you’re financially and personally under a lot of pressure.
Here’s the schedule for all the decluttering, tidying, organising and spring cleaning activities throughout the week:
- Monday: Declutter your herb & spice rack
- Tuesday: Declutter your bedside table
- Wednesday: Declutter your bathroom shelf
- Thursday: Dust it down
- Friday: I’m cleaning windows
- Saturday: Drop it off
- Sunday: List and sell
Some of these mini declutters or clean-ups only take five minutes or so, especially at the start of the week when working days are often hectic. If in doubt, keep any declutter small and specific, so you can easily complete it without feeling lost or overwhelmed. One properly-sorted box or drawer is a win, my friends. As always, don’t worry if you have to miss a day’s activity, you can just catch up later at the weekend.
The Sunday stocktake (optional)
The next activity is completely optional, but it only takes a few minutes to complete the speedy stocktake and it can really help your budget, particularly for food. Look around your home to see what’s already available to you right now, because you might need a quick reminder.
Start with your food and drink, making a note of everything including the contents of:
- Fridge, especially salad drawer & other perishables
- Cupboards, esp. staples for making easy, cheap meals
- Bread bin and biscuit jar/tin
- Tea or coffee tin
- Fruit bowl or basket
- Baking box
- Garage or shed
- Herbs & spices, condiments
- Drinks cabinet / wine rack / soft drinks store
- Kitchen garden or allotment
- Secret chocolate stash
You might want to plan ahead and freeze one or two things like milk or bread so there’ll be some left to use towards the end of the week.
It’s also a good idea to write out a quick menu if you have time today, making sure that you use up any perishable ingredients first before they have the chance to go off.
Seeing as it’s a week devoted to decluttering and spring cleaning, today’s a good time to take stock of cleaning and organising items. This could include cleaning cloths and dusters, window cleaning spray or vinegar, multi-purpose cleaner, small boxes and baskets, food caddy liners, bags to take things to the charity shop in, and so on. You might also need to charge up the power pack on cordless items such as vacuum cleaners.
It’s also helpful to try to keep busy during the week so you don’t feel the need to spend too much – you might like to take stock of these:
- Entertainment: subscriptions to streaming services, Freeview TV and film, games, podcasts, memberships, books you own, library card, music collection, and so on.
- Creative outlets: art and craft materials, design software, musical instruments and apps, decorating materials for the home, notebooks and journals, etc.
- Anything else for health and fitness, self care, DIY and decorating, and more.
Are you ready for a thrifty challenge that will also declutter and freshen up your home? Please join in – I can’t wait to get started tomorrow!