We have completed the first few weeks of our No Spend Challenge and I wanted to share with you where I ‘failed’ and where I smashed it. Spoiler alert – there are no real fails, just tips I have learnt! You will have your own hurdles and your own wins. So start looking for where you are succeeding. By reading this you are making some great first steps.
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First Tip – Tell the world
All my friends know I have this site, and I am totally open when trying new things. So I thought I had told everyone and that they would all be happy to reciprocate. I mean I even went on BBC Radio 4 for the You and Yours programme – 26 minutes in, if you are interested!
So the scenario was our gorgeous nephews 8th birthday and our gift to him. We thought we were sticking to our rules See our ‘No Spend Challenge – Get Started’ article for the rules. So far so smug! In our rules we decided between us to get something which would help his mum out a bit too, so we went for clothes. I think you will agree this is a good tip. Zero waste and totally sustainable. Well yes and no. We went to a large supermarket to get him some cool t-shirts and jeans. This was an unplanned for trip and outside of the normal organised shopping. So we got him some good quality clothes but also missed that we then picked up £10 worth of extra food.
Moral of the story – it is not a one way street. I wanted to spend money on him as I felt they would also spend money on us. This in turn led to an over spend in a different area. So we are now in agreement to ask that our friends and family do not spend money on us either. They wont have to give us handmade gifts or lots of time together, but we have enough.
Second Tip – Let’s not use the ‘F’ word!
There is no such thing as failure here. I used to increase my spending as and when, without paying any attention to it. Now that I am learning to take control, there is no f word. This tip is based on keeping a positive outlook. My motto is ‘whether you think you can or you think you can’t you’re right’. I apply this here. So I have my tiers to keep me on track without any guilt. You will have your own tips and tricks.
This week I planned in to spend less than £10 to get a few drinks at an awards ceremony. This was an event I had put an apprentice forward for, and was therefore very keen to buy us each a diet coke! If it wasn’t for my tier system this may have been seen as a fail, however I also bought raffle tickets and then won a large box of chocolates. Proof if ever there was needed that the world looks kindly on you when you need it to!
I want to get control of my money for security. I also want it to be a long term turnaround. To live more frugally. This is not like a crash diet for your money – destined to fail the moment you stop. So I have chosen to go with a certain flexibility. It does not mean I will then go on to be casual again straightaway! Don’t let one evening dictate the rest of your life! Top tip would be to be happy with any progress.
Third of our Top Tips
Be prepared. You will feel tempted. You may feel alone in the struggle. There is a lot you can do about it. I have found sin
ce outing myself to 3.5 million listeners on British radio, it has been a lot easier to talk about money. So many people portray themselves as successful in terms of money, however they may be hiding massive debts.
For me, every morning before work I would have breakfast with colleagues. We would each spend anywhere between £1 and £8 on our breakfast. I have now started to eat porridge that I bring in. This is still not super cheap and I am sure not the best in terms of zero waste, but it is much better and much cheaper! Now we are all sharing tips for our success.
insights into myself
I had no idea I was so happy with preparing food in advance. Once I embraced it I totally rock at it. I am now cooking every night and intentionally make too much! I then make an easier evening meal the following night, or have leftovers for lunch. in keeping with being kind to myself, I also spent money on frozen battered cod and some chips. so much cheaper and not as time consuming as I had thought. Tips for anyone like me, keep that smug glow going and record your meal plans. Tick them off as you succeed.
Use the No Spend Challenge as an excuse. I don’t mean you have to isolate yourself and have no life, because you are not spending money. The exact opposite. Once you have had the initial talk with people, and you can be as open about your ‘why’ during that time as you like. Then all you need to do is think ‘I wont be buying X because I am on the No Spend Challenge’. It means I didn’t need to think whether I could afford a new coat, it just wasn’t going to happen. This kind of makes it perfect for those of us who like to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to money. Which leads me on to …
Tip Number Five
Start to look for other areas to cut back on. I decided to keep my grocery bill pretty constant. In fact it has, but my food waste has gone down massively! This proved that I was wasting my money on things I didn’t use when it came to food. So it got me to thinking about other areas I could cut down on. I have now reduced our unit price for gas and electricity – not our direct debit amount as several companies will promise that, it is the unit price you need ot look at.
by using a site like the one attached I found lots of different options. I have also looked to cut down out energy use, as well as cutting some of our own wood for the log burner. I have also written an article on heating the home for less, Ways to Keep Warm this Winter if you fancy a read and are crafty!
Keep it up. You are doing a big challenge. This is not meant to be a simple swap. Bu make it easy on yourself and focus on your goal. I have started to look at prices for smallholdings and going off grid. You could look at your goal in the same way. Why not google search for images? The nice yacht, car, holiday, clear bank balance, early retirement the list goes on. Keep focusing on succeeding and you will.
When you feel ready to start using up scraps and finding ways to increase the potential for what you already own, have a look at the below! Let us all know how you are doing and let’s help each other to make this work! By sharing our tips we are able to get the most from our own situation.
Tips on sharing tips!
p.s. you can share tips without having to share all of your private data!!! No bank statements or anything which could help out online fraudsters!