It’s week two of our one-month austere lifestyle challenge and we’re already saving money.
Mrs Wifey and I started last week full of hope and ambition ready to tackle any spending temptation with determination. We were ready to have our will pushed to the limit (mine especially because it’s pretty much non-existent) but we’ve both been pleasantly surprised how easy it’s actually been.
The First Big Challenge
On Thursday we had our real first spending test when we went to Hexham for a hospital appointment. We called into Tesco and Aldi for our monthly shop which consisted of just enough milk, butter and crackers to last a month. Despite Tesco having pretty much it’s entire stock on offer (typical!) we didn’t divert from our strict shopping list. We still enjoyed mooching around the store and Mrs Wifey was on full wombling duty (or smurfing as she calls it). Wombling is being on the lookout for receipts people have thrown away that have discounts, offers and cashback offers on them. It’s becoming popular in the extreme couponing community and we have saved a few quid unintentionally wombling in Tesco. Mrs Wifey has a natural talent for finding money and coupons on the floor so this has become one of her favourite supermarket distractions.
With a few hours to spare before my appointment and rain setting in, we were then stuck finding something to do indoors that was free. Normally we would head straight to Costa Coffee but Mrs Wifey quickly pushed me past the open door while I inhaled as much coffee infused air as I could. We discovered the new exhibition “The Big Story” at Hexham Abbey which explores the history of the building and the people who have lived and served there. And best of all…it was totally free! With lots of interactive displays and games we were entertained for a good few hours. For more information visit the abbey website here.
We managed to survive the day without spending anything other than our essential shopping. Success!
Where we failed
We did cheat with our no non-essential car journeys rule this week. Despite the dark skies status, Kielder can be plagued with clouds so when the sky is clear we make the most of it and head to the castle for a good bit of star gazing. We jumped in the car (naughty!) only to be greeted by a giant thick cloud as soon as we got to the castle. Our rule breaking may have only cost us a few pence in petrol but it had been a total waste of time so we were rather annoyed at ourselves for cheating.
Bargain of the week
Frugal February has had us hunting for bargains – I’ll share some of my favourite bargain hunting sites in a later post – and we are very pleased with the sheer luck that allowed us to pocket a freebie photo book from Groupon which we used for a birthday gift. The voucher should have given me a 60% discount but when I entered the code on the checkout page it magically registered as a totally free purchase. Thank you very much glitch!
Frugal Food Test
Food wise we are making our way through the freezer quicker than we imagined. I have a feeling we will be living off tinned corned beef and beans for at least a week. The challenge has meant I’ve had to side-step our usual meals which I make out of habit, and ease more than anything, and think a little outside my very small cooking box. Yesterday I made cod with pasta in passata sauce for the first time which turned out well. I have part-baked rolls defrosting today so we can have the remaining pasta for tea.
So what have we spent and what have we saved so far?
What we’ve spent
Butter x 2
Milk x 8
Crackers x 6
Mother’s Day Card
Poppudums x 4
Total monthly shop – £30
What we’ve saved
Birthday card x 2 – we always have a well stocked box of cards for all occasions. Saved £2
Photobook gift – Groupon voucher + glitch. Saved £30
Sanitary Towels – Used up free samples I’d received last month. Saved £1
Watched dvds instead of Netflix – Saved £7.49
Cancelled our Coal Delivery – Saved £27
Total Saved – £67.49
Sold some items on local selling page – made £55
Gave old clothes to “Cash for clothes” charity – made £1.30
Total Money Made – £56.30
Total Pennies in our Pocket – £93.79
We are well on our way to reaching our target of saving £500 by the end of the month.