The latest Tenner Week budgeting challenge starts this Monday (the 23rd, i.e. tomorrow) and the general theme this time is stress reduction because so many of us are feeling the financial pinch and a whole lot of stress in early 2023 as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.
It’s a simple money-saving challenge: you try to live on a budget of £10 over the next seven days for your personal spending, with something new to try each day that fits with the general theme. This short-term activity can be especially handy if you’re low on funds the week before payday, trying to break the habit of overspending, or trying to clear debts faster.
You’re also encouraged to recycle, mend, upcycle, improvise, use up whatever you already have, and avoid waste wherever you can. Let’s make the most of what’s available.
What’s included, and what isn’t
As a quick reminder, your £10 personal budget is for: your share of any food & drink you might buy, going out for coffees, entertainment, anything you buy for your hobbies and leisure, little treats, and so on. When I say ‘your 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.
Don’t forget that £10 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.
Stress-reduction week schedule
As always, there will be new activities to try out each day, at least one of which will be completely free in case you’re financially and personally under a lot of pressure.
Here’s the schedule for all the de-stress and self care activities throughout the week:
- Monday: …Aaaaand breathe
- Tuesday: Make a note
- Wednesday: Connect
- Thursday: Get creative
- Friday: Time to play
- Saturday: Walk in nature (weather permitting)
- Sunday: Wind down well
Some of these activities only take five minutes or so, especially at the start of the week when working days are often hectic. 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 and freezer
- Bread bin
- Worktop canisters
- Tea or coffee tin
- Biscuit box or jar
- Fruit bowl
- Baking box
- Garage or shed
- Spice rack
- Wine rack
- Windowsill herbs
- Kitchen garden or allotment
- … and so on
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 helpful to write out a quick menu, making sure that you use up any perishable ingredients before they have the chance to go off.
It’s good to avoid the temptations of window shopping, and it’s also best to try to keep busy without the need to spend. Other things you might like to take stock of:
- 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, pampering, organising and storage, and more.
Are you ready for a thrifty challenge that might help you to de-stress a little too? I hope you can join in with this one.