MY ‘NO SPEND MONTH’ DIARY: WEEK THREE

Oh dear, I did so well in my first two weeks of my ‘no spend month’ and then, well, Week 3 happened. This last week has not been very good at all, my willpower buckled (damn you, cute baby clothes) and I also had to pay out for other things that couldn’t be helped – more on that in the minute.

Despite having a disappointing week, I’m prepared to draw a line under it and get back on track for the last week of the month. There’s still money to be saved and scrimping to be done.

If you want to know why I’m doing my ‘No spend month’ then check out my original post here.

You can read my Week One diary here and my Week Two diary here.

Day 15.

Today our local shopping centre had a Paw Patrol characters meet and greet (they often do things like this during half term). Jasmine was excited to see Rubble  and Skye so after she finished pre-school we headed into town to meet them! The queue was massive and Jasmine was excited the entire time that we waited in line. She then decided, when it was finally our turn to meet Rubble, that he was terrifying. Typical!

We popped into some charity shops afterwards because I needed to find an outfit for a funeral (I own very little in the way of clothing and had nothing appropriate for funeral in my wardrobe). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything suitable in the charity shops. It was a mistake taking the kids in with me as I ended up leaving with a ride-on-toy and a (brand new) Play Doh set.

Oh and I also bought hair dye from Poundland (it’s actually surprisingly good).

Total spent: £6.45

Day 16.

I totally forgot to cancel our window clean for this month and so the window cleaner turned up this morning. That was £15 spent before I even got to lunchtime! I then got an e-mail from the lady who runs our Hartbeeps toddler class reminding me that I needed to pay for the next term if I wanted to keep my space. D’oh!

Total spent: £45.00

Day 17.

I had a study day at home today and didn’t leave the house. I didn’t spend anything. We did use up the rest of our Pancake Day ingredients to make breakfast though so that was nice. :)

Total spent: £0.00

Day 18.

I had a mummy/daughter day with J today so I took her swimming. That only cost us about £5.00. Afterwards, however, I got drawn into the M&Co sale like a moth to a flame and spent over £30.00 on clothes for the girls. *hangs head in shame*

Total spent: £40.00ish

Day 19.

I didn’t spend anything today.

Total spent: £0.00

Day 20. 

I had to buy a funeral outfit as I’m attending it tomorrow! I went to Tesco and managed to get my entire outfit (dress, belt, tights and boots) from F&F. I used my Clubcard vouchers (I had about fifteen pounds worth) to save on the total amount.

Total spent: about £40.00

Day 21. 

I attended a funeral today. I had to pay for a day travel ticket for the bus and I spent some money on alcohol at the wake. (#noregrets)

I spent £30 of kids’ waterproofs from Lidl whilst waiting for the bus. I’m totally blaming my friend Kirsty for that, though. She’s an enabler!

Total spent: £48.30

Total spent this week: £179.75

Guys, I’m really embarrassed about that weekly total and almost didn’t bother sharing this post as I felt deflated. But I want to be honest. This challenge was never going to be easy for me and there’s no point pretending it is, when it isn’t. All I can do is try and do better going forwards.

I’m going to try my hardest to steer clear of shops next week as they are definitely my downfall. Once I’m in them I struggle to not spend money.

Wish me luck!

Have you ever attempted a ‘no spend’ challenge?

Jenna xx

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagram and Twitter }

My ‘No Spend Month’ Diary: Week two

If your interested in why I’m having a ‘no spend month’ then check out my original post here.

If you want to see how I did in Week One then click here.

I’m posting this weekly diary a bit later than planned but here’s how my second ‘no spend’ week went…

Day 8. 

I had a study day at home today so was mostly focused on doing my coursework. However, my sweet tooth got the better of me because when I picked J up from pre-school, I nipped into the corner shop to buy a packet of Cadbury Mini Eggs!

Total spent: £1.00

Day 9.

We had the craft box out today (J’s really into crafting at the moment) so I took the opportunity to make a Valentine’s card for my husband. I used a toilet roll tube to make a heart stamper and embellished the card with cut out letters from magazines. I’m quite pleased with it and I’m sure Stephen will appreciate the effort I went to. ;)

Total spent: £0.00

Day 10. 

I’ve been trying to hold off buying these, but I just couldn’t wait any longer… I needed to get replacement batteries for Ewan the Dream Sheep. We’re trying to get E into a better sleep routine and we always have a little more success when we use white noise. We tried using an app on our phone but it just wasn’t cutting it. Today, I bought the damn batteries and E went to bed much easier. No regrets.

Total spent: £4.20

Day 11.

Stephen and J wanted to go to the zoo today and I was almost tempted to go with it. Tickets would’ve cost us about £40 so I looked for an alternative day out. I suggested we go to Ashton Court – a large estate/grounds that is free to visit. We made a packed lunch and bundled the kids and dog into the car. It was SUCH a cold morning but it was nice to be out of the house. It wasn’t an entirely free day out as J asked for an ice cream(!) and we had to pay for parking. But still considerably cheaper than a day at the zoo. I’ve told J we can go to the zoo for her birthday in April.

Total spent: £2.70 (Parking and a Nobbly Bobbly Ice Cream)

Day 12.

It was a gorgeous, sunny day today which makes not spending money so much easier. I went out for a long walk with the girls, letting Jasmine decide where we went. We ended up saying ‘hi’ to some nearby horses and mooching through our local woods. Happy days. :)

Total spent: £0.00

Day 13.

Today was pancake day and we did pop out to Tesco to get some additional ingredients *cough* Nutella *cough*! I’m generally not counting groceries as money spent but in this case these were things we could’ve gone without but didn’t. I mean, you gotta have pancakes on pancake day, right?

Total spent: £3.70

Day 14.

It’s been a while since Stephen and I have been out on a date anywhere and this Valentine’s day was no different. Instead we made do with a (homemade) curry by candlelight and exchanged our (homemade) cards. It was a really lovely, romantic evening. :)

Total Spent: £0.00

Total spent this week: £11.60

 

Have you ever attempted a ‘no spend’ challenge?

Jenna xx

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagram and Twitter }

My ‘No Spend Month’ Diary: Week one

If your interested in why I’m having a ‘no spend month’ then check out my original post here.

Here’s how the first 7 days went…

Day 1. 

Today I kicked off my no spend month by:

Taking the girls to the library. On the way we pretended to have magic wands (sticks) and were ‘turning each other into frogs’. Then we stopped off at the river to play pooh sticks. Plenty of free fun right there!

We spent an hour playing and reading books in the library and picked out 6 to bring home with us.

Bought E’s nappies with my Boots points.

Nappies are essentials so obviously I won’t be able to avoid buying them for the whole of February but I really wanted a great start to my ‘no spend month’. By using the points I had on my Boots Advantage Card I could avoid spending cash.

Signed up for Netflix free trial. 

I love watching a good box set or film in the evening but I can end up spending a fair bit of money downloading films from Google Play or Sky Store. Netflix offer a one month free trial to new subscribers and I’m excited to binge-watch some new shows for free! Any recommendations?

Total spent: £0.00

Day 2.

We didn’t do a lot today so not much opportunity to spend money. We had a chilled day at home and watched some shows on Netflix. (Jasmine is a big fan of the Beat Bugs episodes!) Then we tackled J’s messy bedroom as it looked like there had been an explosion in a toy factory in there.

In the evening I found out that a blogger friend has sadly suffered a bereavement so I contributed some cash, along with my other blogger mama pals, for a donation to her chosen charity.

Total spent: £3.00

Day 3. 

This morning we were all up and out of the house early as I had to go into Bristol city centre to do my driving theory test (which I booked and paid for a few weeks back). I passed – yay!

I’d looked for free things we could do afterwards so as to make the most of our trip and discovered that Windmill Hill City Farm was a short drive away from the test centre. Despite the weather being a bit crummy, we donned wellies and popped over for a visit. I’m so glad we did because the girls really enjoyed themselves.

Total spent: £0.00

Day 4.

Today I treated Jasmine to a trip to the cinema to see ‘Early Man’, the new Aardman film. Fortunately, I had a cinema gift voucher so the tickets (which would’ve cost over £20) didn’t cost me anything. I even remembered to buy treats from the supermarket rather than at the cinema, saving me a small fortune.

Total spent: £2.75 (on popcorn, drinks and sweeties)

Day 5.

A friend of mine brought over a child bike seat today which I agreed to buy from her before my NSM (no spend month) began but as I paid for it today, it counts! I want to be able to take E out on my bike when the weather gets better and was looking at buying a new child seat. My friend mentioned that she had one that had never been used and that I could buy it from her. So I’m still saving money, just in a different way! ;)

Total spent: £20.00

Day 6.

Today, instead of spending E’s nap time time wandering around the shops, I had a bit of clear out around the house. I managed to fill a big bag with stuff to donate to charity. A bit of de-cluttering and a spend-free day: woohoo!

Total spent: £0.00

Day 7.

Today, when J got home from pre-school, we decided to do some Valentine’s crafts. Normally I’d go out and buy new bits for specific craft activities but this time opted to use whatever we could find in our already-full craft box. I was quite pleased with the results!

Total Spent: 0.00

Total spent this week: £25.75

Overall, not a bad start to my challenge – obviously I spent more than I was hoping to but I think I can do even better next week. I haven’t really been tempted to buy much due to not going in ANY shops all week. (I had my groceries delivered and I’m not counting money spent on essentials such as food).

Onwards and upwards…

Have you ever attempted a ‘no spend’ challenge?

Jenna xx

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagram and Twitter }

A Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

I used to be of the opinion that Valentine’s Day was a bit of a pointless occasion, just another excuse for shops to sell cards. “We don’t don’t need a special day to show each other we love each other, we can do that EVERY day” my husband and I would tell each other. And then we had kids…

When you have children, as couple, your priorities shift. Some of the things that used to be high on the list, slip waaay down. Like spending quality time with each other. I mean, Stephen and I haven’t been out on a date since I was pregnant with E!

So now? I welcome Valentine’s Day as an excuse to shower my hubby with gifts, attention and appreciation (and vice versa). Because let’s face it, most of the time, life gets in the way.

Today I’m sharing a Valentine’s Gift guide of products that couples can enjoy together…

 Our Life Story Diary*:

Our Life Story is gorgeous hardback book filled with 1080 pages for you and your lover to complete with photos, stories and facts. Essentially, you can use it to ‘scrapbook’ your love story. There are some pre-printed pages for you to fill out, such as a world map, to show where you’ve traveled together… and where you plan to go next! This is a proper little project that you and your partner could work on together, choosing your favourite photos from over the years and writing down your precious memories. I love the idea of giving this to our children when they’re older as sort of ‘History of Mum and Dad’.

Our Life Story is available from FindMeGift.com for £24.99 (usually £34.99)

Hot Rocks Massage Stone Gift Set*:

Treat your other half to a spa style treatment in the privacy of your own home with this Hot Rocks massage set. This set comes complete with massage stones, a scented candle and incense sticks – so pop on some relaxing tunes, turn the lights down low, and you’ll have everything you need to create a relaxing environment and de-stress from the day.

What I love most about this set is that, unlike massage oil, it doesn’t run out. The rocks can be re-used again and again!

The Hot Rocks Massage Stones Gift Set is available here for £12.99 (which I think is a bit of a bargain!)

His and Her Roller Skates:

Want something a bit different, this valentine’s day? Why not treat yourself and your partner to some roller skates? Relive your youth and take up skating together. It’s a lovely excuse to hold each other’s hands again! ;)

There is a HUGE variety of roller skates to suit everybody’s budget and style over at skates.co.uk

I, personally, am in LOVE with my pair of blue and gold Rio Roller Quad Skates* (pictured above).

Jenny Wren Belgian Chocolates*:

I couldn’t not mention chocolates in my Valentine’s gift guide, could I? This gorgeously designed box of belgian chocolates is available from Sainsbury’s for £6.50. The box contains 3 layers of yummy chocolates (x4 milk, x4 dark and x4 white) which are perfect for sharing (or not!)

Oh and the packaging is way too pretty to throw away, instead it makes for a cute little trinket box.

So, there you have it. I hope this gift guide has given you a few ideas of Valentine’s gifts that you and your partner can both enjoy together.

If you’re unable to spend Valentine’s Day with your other half, either because you live in a different city or your job means that you are based away from home a lot, there are still ways that you can send your Valentine a special gift. Check out My Parcel Delivery to find the fastest and cheapest courier services available so that you can have your gift delivered to your loved one.

If using couriers such as UPS or Parcelforce, you can choose to leave your gifts at a designated drop-off point or you can even have them collected from your very own home. “Too far” is never an excuse as there are plenty of couriers that operate across Europe and the rest of the world.

How will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day?

Jenna xx

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post. Products marked with an asterisk were gifted to me for the purposes of this gift guide but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  :) 

Why I’m planning to have a ‘no spend month’ <br> and how I’m hoping to do it <br/>

Why I’m planning to have a ‘no spend month’…

I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to shopping.

Not the kind of shopping that you might first think of when somebody says their addicted to buying things. I don’t spend a fortune on handbags, clothes or shoes. And I’m certainly not in debt.

But I still buy things we don’t need or even have the space for, purely for the ‘buzz’ of it. I like the feeling having new stuff. Whether it’s buying a pack of nice pens (I do love my stationary) for £3 or a bottle of kitchen cleaner for £2 (even though we have about 6 bottles of kitchen cleaner under the sink at home already).

I. Can’t. Seem. To. Stop. Buying. Stuff.

And this is why I’m going to try my very best to make February a ‘no spend month’.

Why now?

1. I’m fed up of the clutter.

I’m sure it takes me twice as long to tidy my house because of all of the ‘stuff’ we’ve accumulated. Most of the things I end up buying don’t serve any particular purpose and just end up gathering dust.

2. I want us to be able to afford a holiday abroad.

We’re very fortunate that we live comfortably in terms of keeping a roof over our head and food in our cupboards. And I realise that this is very much a ‘first world problem’ but right now we can’t afford to go on an overseas holiday this year.

I really wanted us to go on a ‘big holiday’ this year, before J starts school in September and we’re restricted to travelling in the school holidays and paying extortionate prices.

Small loans can go along way financially, but in order to save for a holiday I need to learn to curb my spending habits. Saving money for one month isn’t going to pay for a holiday – I realise that, but every pound I don’t spend will contribute to making our sunny getaway a reality.

3. It takes 28 days to change a habit.

February is ‘short’ month and not spending for 28 days seems achievable. Also, depending on who you ask, it supposedly takes 28 days to change a habit. We shall see!

How I’m planning to do it:

Realistically, I’m going to have outgoings in February, utility bills, pet insurance, driving lessons etc. and that’s fine. I can’t do much about those things but it’s everything else, the things I can do something about, that I’ll be focusing on.

I’ve broken those things into the following categories…

Food: 

We tend not to bulk buy food, we shop weekly and plan our meals so that there’s little or no waste. This means that we don’t have lots food in our store cupboards and freezer to eat up during February so I plan to food shop weekly as normal. Food is a necessary expenditure so I’m going to try my best to keep our shopping bills to a minimum by planning cheap, healthy family meals. I will not buy ANYTHING other than food from the supermarket. Cleaning products, toiletries and clothes will not be going into my shopping basket – we have plenty already.

I will also be avoiding spending money on lunches and snacks whilst out and about. I’ve realised recently that a couple of drinks and some cake from the cafe after toddler group can often cost me a small fortune.

Travel:

Not spending money on travel should be easy. I don’t drive and seldom use public transport because I’m lucky enough to live in a town where everything is within walking distance (including the shopping centre… gulp!)

Entertainment: 

I don’t want to spend the entirety of February stuck indoors with two littles – I think we’d all go a little stir crazy. Instead, I’m going to use this challenge as an opportunity to explore our local parks and free attractions. E and I attend Hartbeeps (toddler group) on Tuesdays but this has already been prepaid so we will continue with that. I also have a cinema gift card with a fair bit of credit left on it, so I’m planning to use this to take J to the cinema on the weekends. Convincing her to go without her beloved popcorn could be interesting though!

Another few ways I plan to get some free entertainment:

Using my library to borrow some books.

I’m thinking of taking advantage of Netflix’s free month trial too.

Downloading free podcasts to listen to.

Personal care:

The beauty of doing this early on in the year is that I’m already stocked up on smellies from Christmas gifts. I have more shower gels than you can shake a stick at. I shouldn’t need to buy anything in terms of personal care.  If I do, it would just be for the sake of it.

How I’m going to avoiding temptation…

I’ll be skipping any haul videos that come up on YouTube subs page or blog posts that are trying to sell me something.

I’ll be deleting marketing e-mails as soon as they enter my inbox.

I’ll be avoiding both going into physical shops and browsing online shops.

I’ll be leaving my bank cards at home when I go out.

I’ll pack lunches, snacks and drinks when we head out of the house in the mornings.

Wish me luck!

I’m planning to keep a weekly diary of how I’m doing (mostly to keep me accountable) so keep an eye out for those posts over the next few weeks.

Do you have any no spend tips for me?

Jenna xx

This is a collaborative post.