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Spending during no spend week: week 1

Posted by on Monday 20 December 2010 in frugal | 6 comments

A little background in case you’ve not seen my earlier post: I’m having a no spend “week” – well, a no spend fortnight+, until the end of the year. It was an impromptu idea – I often have no spend days, probably even weeks, without really noticing it but I wanted to have a conscious “no spend” period – and to come at it without any planning/organising has been interesting indeed!

Aside from my acknowledged exceptions (food-to-cook-at-home, food/vets for animals, essential bills, some bus fares and one birthday present), I have spent some money:

  • £3.35 on posting a package to my mum. It wasn’t time sensitive – it didn’t have to be there by a certain point or anything – so it could have waited until after my no spend period. But it seems silly to be waiting just on the principle when I would be sending it either way (it’s not like I’d change my mind about sending it like I might about buying something). Equally, the item – a vintage music box I found in a charity shop, matching one my mum already has – could easily have been sent a couple of weeks earlier if I’d been more organised/planned my no spend week better. I could have easily not sent it but I think the important thing is that I took time to consider whether or not to send it rather than just acting without thinking.
  • £292 on getting our central heating/hot water boiler fixed and serviced. Sigh. (Strictly speaking, John paid for this, not me, but I wanted to mention it anyway.) It stopped working on Sunday and was finally fixed on Saturday – six days without heat was beginning to make the house feel very cold and damp (our woodburners provide heat in the living room & office but aren’t big enough to heat the whole house). Given it’s the middle of winter, it was more a necessity than a frivolous want – and if we waited, it would have got harder and more expensive to fix over Xmas and New Year. (I’m going to write a post on this soon because it taught us an important, expensive lesson.)
  • £3.24 on drinks at the pub on Saturday afternoon. A bit of a frivolous spend this one but it was a social occasion – meeting some people we’d been meaning to meet up with for *ages*. John was going to buy them but I was closer to the bar so I went.

From my exceptions list, I bought the birthday present, spent £4.30 on bus fare and we went to the supermarket for our monthly shop.

This is obviously quite a lot of spending during a no spend week! But it did work to strength my willpower while I was looking for the birthday present. I went into both clothes shops and bookshops while buying it – two key temptation areas for me – but I stayed focused and only looked at the category of things I was likely to buy for my friend, not stuff in general and certainly nothing for me. I also avoided charity shops and bargain shops to avoid the temptation. If I hadn’t been “no spend”ing, I could have easily have spent £50+ at those shops without really wanting or needing to – or even really noticing!

The “no spend” rule has also kept me away from online shopping – I’ve had several “I could just check eBay for that” moments regarding books, curtains and other random things, but I’ve resisted. I’ve also resisted temptation of sale offer emails from shops I like – and unsubscribed from those marketing lists.

We ate out on Thursday night – John’s company’s December meal (which they paid for) – but aside from that, haven’t eaten out or had any take-out. We had talked about having lunch at the pub on Saturday but instead had a bigger breakfast and didn’t need to eat again until we got back.

I’m going to keep going to the end of the year – so another ten days of no spending. From the exceptions list, I’d imagine I’ll need to spend a little on fresh food this week, buy a bag of dog food (which lasts 6 weeks), possibly some money on vet bills (Lily-dog is poorly at the moment – hope it’s just a bug) and a return bus fare to a rehearsal tomorrow night. Hopefully that’ll be it though!


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  1. KarenV

    Isn’t it always the way that something expensive (and totally necessary/essential) breaks down when you least want it to?! We usually find that if we’re trying to cut down on spending (say, towards the end of the month before we get paid again), we get landed with an unexpected bill – either a vet’s bill for one of the cats (this happened last month) or a repair bill. Good luck for your no-spending for the next 10 days.

    • louisa

      Hi Karen,

      Yes, it’s sodding typical ;)

      We’re fortunate that we’ve got money put aside for this type of thing but still, sigh. Especially a huge chunk of the boiler expense could have been avoidable… double sigh!

  2. Debbie

    I think you’ve done fantastically well! I am going to be frugalising/minimising in the New Year, so will probably be hanging around here a lot for ideas :-)

    • louisa

      I’m not going to continue with such a blanket ban (as far as that has/hasn’t worked) in the New Year – but I’m going to keep doing something no spend related as it’s been very interesting.

      I look forward to reading about your experiences too :)

  3. John Wooldridge

    Hello Louisa,
    I really need to take a feather from your cap here, your ‘no spend week’ (OK a tad longer now’ is a good idea and makes you think more careful before parting with cash, one I will try to emulate.
    Seasons Greetings,

    • louisa

      Hi John,

      I’d definitely recommend anyone prone to spending temptation tries it – it’s been very interesting.

      Btw, I’m glad to hear your stinkhound is on the mend. Ours is still floppy but after a lake of vomit at 4am this morning, I’m hoping she’s on the way up too.

      -louisa :)

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