I am at the end of the second week of the Working Week Challenge I have set myself, and I thought I would post an update on how I’m finding it and my results so far. I have found that knowing that I have to be completely honest on here as I don’t want to let anyone down means that I have been even more strict than I possibly would be if I wasn’t going to post an update.
As I posted on the original challenge, when I get tired and/or stressed, I succumb to unhealthy, fast food rather than my usual, planned meals. That includes both lunch time and dinner time, which means that spending patterns are established and therefore rise, and I eat more unhealthy food, which then gets into a vicious cycle.
I said I would say every time I was tempted by purchasing something from the work canteen or getting a takeaway and keep a tally of the number I would spend, if I indeed had done that. So, for Weeks 1 and 2, these are the numbers:
- Wednesday 18th March – oh so tempted by a bacon sandwich about 11 o’clock this morning. I’m tired as didn’t sleep particularly well and am feeling the energy slump big time. Made a cup of tea (which is not the same) but money saved: £1.40
- Thursday 19th March – dinner time and I’m feeling a bit rubbish. Have bought a cheese sandwich for lunch with some fruit and a yogurt, but other colleagues have all got warm food which is making office smell good. I know that the “special” today is sausage, chips and beans which sounds perfect. However, know that it’ll make me feel worse in the long run. Money saved: £2.75
- Friday 20th March – it’s the end of the week! I’m tired and not feeling 100% still. Would love nothing more than to order a curry and sit on the sofa all night and not do something. Homemade spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread is on the planned menu, with all ingredients purchased and ready to go. Go through the motions of ordering me and husband a curry, so I can see just how much I’d end up spending (and eating!) if I were to do so. Money saved: £18.40 (!!)
- Wednesday 25th March – what I wouldn’t give for a bacon sandwich this morning. I seem to be lacking energy, despite having oatmeal for breakfast this morning. Made a cup of coffee and hoping it’ll take my mind off bacon. Money saved: £1.40
- Thursday 26th March – I’d love a latte and caramel shortbread from a well-known coffee chain today. I feel my mood is lower today, though I’m not entirely sure why. Think I need more sleep! Money saved: £4.10
Three things have come from this. Firstly, in the first two weeks alone, if I had given in to a weakness, rather than staying with the planed meals without any treats, I would have spent an extra £28.05. Now, although as a one-off spend during two difficult weeks would be alright, but it would be so easy to fall into the trap of indulging more often in the little spends. After all, it is the little things that add up to bigger numbers. If I did this for half the year, then this becomes £729.30 (!) and if this habit became a weekly thing, which if you take your foot off the gas then it absolutely has the potential to, it then turns into £1,458.60 (!!) which is not a small amount of money. Suddenly those little spends don’t seem to small.
The second thing is that I seem to have a bit of a slump on Wednesdays and Thursdays, specially to do with energy or feeling tired. When I’m tired I want greasy, fatty food, so the middle of the week wouldn’t be a good place to have that all of the time. I need to look at why I feel like this in the middle of the week, and see if there’s anything I can be doing differently to try and combat this.
Finally, which comes from something that Baroness Prudent Spending suggested in the comments of the Working Week Challenge, is that I am going to put the extra savings into my retirement savings pot, so that it can finally read a number, rather than £0. I’m going to do this from the end of April, and continue with a different challenge so that I can keep adding to my retirement fund. It has to start somewhere! I shall update again with weeks three and four, and see what the total will be then.
Are you joining me with the Working Week Challenge? How are you finding it? I would love to hear from you in the comments!