Our latest Tenner Week Challenge ended a few days ago, and now it’s time for a quick roundup of what happened, and possibly a few lessons learned. If you joined in with the ‘Get Set for Summer’ Tenner Week with me, please join in and share your experiences too, and it’d also be great to hear from you if you’ve carried out a Tenner Week on your own this year as well.
It was a bit of a mixed bag this time around, mostly due to circumstances that were outside my control, but over all I think it was definitely a success and it’s definitely been a jumping off point to bigger and better things. I’m glad I stuck to my schedule and made it through the week.
Activities day by day
The Sunday Stocktake was quite a reassuring exercise because as usual I didn’t cheat and make a stockpile before the challenge started. It was good to check the cupboards, fridge, freezer and garden and to find enough food to get through the week without worrying about running out of anything too important, and I quickly worked out that we’d be able to create a decent menu of tasty favourites.
Monday was dedicated to finding free or cheap things to read, and I managed to get some good things from the library. On Tuesday we got ourselves ‘picnic ready‘ and tracked down cool packs, boxes, bottles and flasks, then watched a free screening of Lean on Pete in the evening. Wednesday was pamper day, and yet again I was shocked at how much bubble bath and deep conditioner was hiding in the back of our bathroom cabinet – I definitely need to make more time for a relaxing soak in the tub, listening to the radio.
On Thursday I exercised at home because my budget didn’t stretch to cover my favourite local drop-in class, managing about an hour which wasn’t too bad, but then felt strangely tired afterwards. By Friday I finally had to admit to myself that I’d caught the local head cold or whatever germ it is that was going around, but I still made time to hunt for some freebies, including sending off for some vegetable seeds. Not sure whether those will ever arrive, but you never know… We also went out to a free local event which was part of a festival.
The weekend was a bit of a wash out if I’m going to be completely honest. I decided to sleep the germs off on Saturday morning, then turned my attention to my social calendar, looking for free events to attend. My focus was on groups and workshops for writers, because I’ve realised that I haven’t been spending enough time with other authors in recent months and wanted to correct that. It turned out that there were quite a few free and low-cost things to do in the coming weeks and so I’ve signed up for some of those and couldn’t be happier.
It was an excellent opportunity to pause and reflect, and make some positive changes and I’m grateful for that. Everyday life can easily become humdrum if you don’t make time for the good things.
Sunday was the final day of the challenge, and the plan was to spend the last bit of money in the kitty on going out for a bit of lunch or some coffee and cake to be sociable, but I was still a bit groggy so I just took it easy and had plenty of hot drinks. I also put my feet up and relaxed, which was the focus of that day’s mini-challenge, although I confess that it was passive relaxation rather than active relaxation – that still counts though, right?
Where my budget went
It was a success this time around. I only spent £4.00 out of my personal budget, in spite of buying a herb plant while I was out at the start of the week (technically still a bad idea from the budgeting point of view, but it’s doing well after being replanted into a bigger pot). The rest went on a tin of tomatoes and a big bottle of milk to replace the two things we’d run out of.
As previously mentioned, the plan was to spend the rest of it on something sociable at the weekend but there was far too much dozing going on and I decided to rest up in the hope of being better for work on Monday. This registered as zero on the fun-o-meter though, so I feel that I’ve inadvertently let the side down there somewhat. Still, that means that financially it was better than usual, and there was £6.00 left in the kitty.
The TV Diet
I watched three hours and fifty minutes of television during the week, even though by the end of it I wanted to hole up on the sofa with a gallon of tea and let Netflix make all my important life decisions for me. This was helped by keeping busy at the start of the week, having two free events to attend in the evenings, having a soak in the bath, and getting a couple of early nights.
While I don’t see myself giving up television completely, I feel far, far happier when I’m more selective about the shows that I do watch. I look forward to that time more keenly, and find it easier to watch with my full attention, getting the most enjoyment out of each episode.
There was also a film that we watched while we were out, but that doesn’t count because it wasn’t on the telly. I also watched a show from the exercise bike, but again that doesn’t count because I was working on my fitness levels, and it was an incentive to get on with the cycling.
Summing up, and lessons learned
I hit my targets during the week, staying within the budget, managing at least a few minutes of all the daily activities, and sticking to the optional TV Diet. How did you get on if you were doing your own version of the challenge?
Next time around, I’ll try much harder to avoid buying anything unnecessary, especially at the start of the week. That wasn’t a smart move at all, even though I did just about manage to get away with it. I was also made more aware of how important it is to make time and space for healthy eating, exercise, relaxation and general self care when you’re living on a tight budget – you can’t spend your way out of it, but you can carefully plan a good range of free and low cost activities into your week that could make all the difference.
If you were doing your own Tenner Week, please let me know what you got up to! If you didn’t join in this time, but would like to try the Get Set for Summer Tenner Week Challenge, the full and completely free schedule is here for you to try it out next week or any other time you like.
Last of all, would you be interested in a Tenner Week and Jump Start Challenge group on facebook to keep you motivated? Let me know in the comments below or send me a message via the contact form. If enough people want one, I’ll start putting something together.