We held a brand new Tenner Week budgeting challenge at the end of March, and it’s time to do a quick round up of how that went. There were some high points and freebies that I enjoyed greatly, and a couple of interesting lessons learned.
Looking back over the last few days has given me some great inspiration for the next challenge too, and I can’t wait to start putting that together.
Let’s have a quick run through my day-to-day experiences of ‘Leak Week’, and evaluate which activities were most effective. This most recent theme was all about spotting places where money leaks out of our budgets, and looking for quick wins to make large and small savings.
Leak Week schedule reminder
In case you didn’t see, or would like a quick refresher:
- Monday: Food waste can get in the bin
- Tuesday: I feel so… unused
- Wednesday: Spring renewal
- Thursday: Communication breakdown
- Friday: #Deinfluence yourself
- Saturday: Borrow, don’t buy
- Sunday: On the mend
Here’s my day-by-day account of the week.
Monday was all about looking at our food budget, and finding ways to trim the spending back. As I mentioned on the day, we’re taking more breaks from buying bananas and that cuts costs as well as preventing food waste. I managed to have a no-spend day, and plan a full menu for the week from things we already had in the house.
On Tuesday I had a good look through all my monthly subscriptions. I switched a couple of low-use food and beauty subscriptions to ‘holiday’ mode for a few weeks of temporary savings, and had a good look at some of my software subscriptions while I was at it. A little research suggested that two of my regular expenses have become overpriced, and that there are better, cheaper options that would offer better value for money. I’ll be changing those over to new providers soon. It was also a no-spend day.
Wednesday was busy for me with various meetings and errands, and I ended up spending £5.00 on coffee and cake because one of the meetings was in a cafe. So busy in fact that I decided to look at my annual renewals and memberships at the weekend instead. I love that Tenner Week challenges are flexible enough to allow this.
The week’s biggest saving
Thursday’s activity was to try to get a better deal on your broadband and mobile phone contracts, mainly because we’ve just had some shocking above-inflation price rises for these bills in the UK. We’ve switched to Community Fibre which easily has the best prices and fastest performance in our area. If you use our link* here you can get a £100 Amazon voucher as well as good value for money if you decide to switch to one of their discounted packages.
* Full disclosure: This link gives new customers and the referring customer a £100 Amazon voucher each, and there is no extra cost to you if you sign up.
We also went out to a free Special Screening of the opening episode of Sky’s hit show, Succession, in the evening, after being lucky enough to snag tickets in a draw. In addition to lots of free champagne and snacks, we were treated to an introduction by Brian Cox (Logan Roy himself), and a Q&A afterwards with the show’s creator. What a night.
On Friday I set out to remove one or two negative influences on my spending habits. First of all I unsubscribed from a skincare brand that had started sending me at least five emails per week. I also unfollowed an influencer who does nothing but weirdly posed pouty selfies with excessive filters on them. Such a relief. In the evening I went to a lovely book launch, bought the book and enjoyed free wine and nibbles.
And on to a thrifty weekend…
Saturday was ‘borrow, don’t buy’ day, and I downloaded books and magazines via my library app. Didn’t even have to get out of bed for that one, hurrah! We also caught up on some movies and TV shows, at no extra cost.
Sunday was the last day of Tenner Week, and it was time to get mending. I managed to repair an item of clothing that had a hole in it and a button missing, so I was really pleased to be able to bring an old favourite back to life. We made it through the whole weekend without needing to buy any extra groceries, which was a huge bonus.
My total spending for the week came to £13.99 out of a £25.00 budget.
My Tenner Week lessons learned for March
The main thing I learned from this Tenner Week was that the concept of ‘Leak Week’ is a great idea for a theme. It was so useful taking the time to have an almost forensic look through everything that was coming out of my budget, from the way we buy our food to monthly subscriptions and annual fees.
There are so many drains on our bank accounts at the moment, and I could think of at least 50 or more extra activities to try for saving money here, there and everywhere. It gave me the chance to make a few really positive changes, and it stopped me from procrastinating over several relatively small, easy tasks. I’ll certainly be running further Leak Week style saving challenges in the future.
The other thing I noticed was that I spent £13.99 out of the £25 budgeting option. The £25 version is designed for people who need to buy a full week of groceries, and I didn’t need to do a food shop in the end. It’s good to know that the option’s there, mainly because different people / households have different needs, but next time I’ll personally be opting for the £10 pocket money instead.
And confession time, because there’s nearly always a mistake that needs to be improved upon. I forgot to catch up with Wednesday’s activity – looking at those pesky annual renewals – at the weekend. Next time I’ll have to add a task like that to my calendar and ringfence some time to complete it. Lesson well and truly learned.
Coming up next
There’s no Tenner Week challenge for April because it’s a time of year when so many people are away, making it tricky to join in. Don’t worry though, there’s a new one coming up in May. It will be mostly a fun one this time, rather than a cutting back type of theme, but rest assured there will be all kinds of different thrifty things to try.
Missed it? Don’t worry
If you missed the most recent challenge and would still like to join in, you can find the whole schedule below. Just go at your own pace and start whenever you like – it’s 100% free to use and follow along.
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Let me know if you tried the latest Leak Week challenge, and how you got on. Who likes the idea of a more entertaining or relaxing one in May?