It’s been a month since I launched The Twenty Percent Challenge. I admitted I was terrible at saving money and made a plan to change this. To keep myself accountable, I also promised to give monthly updates.
To put these updates in context, and hopefully make them more interesting to read, I’ll use them to outline what I’ve been doing in the past month.
As a reminder, The Twenty Percent Challenge is to save 20% on everything I spend. For someone that’s not used to shopping around for deals, it’s proving difficult. But, I’m determined to keep going and to succeed – even if it takes months!
- How my month went
- Emotional spending vs money saving
- What went well with money saving
- What I still need to work on
How my month went
June was a very busy month for me. You might have guessed given this update is a week late!
Here’s what I got up to…
My constituency – Chesham and Amersham – had a by-election in June. I interviewed the majority of the candidates about what they would do for young people in the area.
This was a very time consuming, but rewarding, task. It also left me with a lot to catch up on after the election was over!
June was my biggest freelancing month to date. I don’t believe in throwing around exact numbers – I’m not convinced that benefits anyone. But, it’s the first month where I’ve invoiced for over four figures (not including blogging work).
This probably gives you some idea of the volume of work I had. It’s a good thing I like writing!
On top of this, I also have a fairly demanding day job. It regularly requires working long hours and can be challenging work.
Due to the nature of the job, I also have to be up at 6am every weekday. Despite everyone saying your internal body clock will get used to it, I still have to resist the urge to hit the snooze button on my alarm every morning.
Like a lot of people, I’ve been enjoying catching up with friends again and being able to go out more. This certainly hasn’t helped my money saving at all. But, after so long not being stuck inside, I think it’s justified.
I’m also guilty of forgetting I’m trying to save money after a few drinks.
Before, I used to leave my cards at home and only take cash out so I couldn’t overspend. However, from a safety point of view, I’m no longer sure that’s the best idea as I always want to make sure I can get home safely.
It was also my mum’s birthday last month, so we enjoyed celebrating that together. Obviously, I also bought her some presents, which isn’t a normal expense. But, she definitely deserves it for all the support she gives me!
If all this wasn’t enough, I’ve been trying to more consistently hit my target of running over 30 miles a week.
I haven’t managed to hit this every week, but I’ve consistently run over 25 miles, which I’m very happy with. My pace is improving too and I feel I’m getting very close to the magic sub-20 minute 5K.
Emotional spending vs money saving
When I’m tired or stressed, I’ve noticed I tend to spend more. I certainly lack the energy to shop around for deals or look for cheaper alternatives.
This is something I need to work on, because over spending doesn’t help me feel better either.
Being more organised and planning ahead should help with this. I’m starting to make more lists and plan what I need and when, rather than just making last minute – often impulse – decisions. This will reduce the brain power needed when I’m tired or struggling, so should encourage me to make more positive choices.
What went well with money saving
I did manage to make some progress in June. None of the steps I have taken are ground breaking, but they are saving me some money.
The first thing I did was sign up for a Tesco Clubcard. I’ve never bothered before, because I couldn’t see tangible results. Now, Clubcard users get discounts on certain items. Realising I was paying more just because I didn’t have a card was frustrating, so I rectified the situation straight away. I estimate having a Clubcard saves around 10% on each shop.
I also signed up to Pets At Home’s repeat delivery deal for my dog’s food. This saves about 10% and also means I won’t get caught out with no food if I forget to place an order as it delivers automatically every 10 weeks.
Similarly, I bought his worming tablets from the local vet practice in bulk, saving 10%. I’ve been spooked by local cases of lungworm (which can be deadly for dogs) so popped in to check he was up to date and left with a deal!
You may be able to buy the tablets cheaper online, but I think it’s important to support your local vet practice. They’ll be the ones there when your beloved pet needs urgent care!
What I still need to work on
Clearly, I’ve still got a long way to go if I’m going to reach my target of saving 20% of my monthly expenses.
I’m getting better in supermarkets and online, but definitely need to work on finding deals when I’m out in restaurants or bars. Do 2-4-1 cocktails count?
In general, I also need to keep the challenge at the forefront of my mind. I’m not yet in the habit of always looking for deals, so I found I could go a week or so without thinking about it and then have to try and catch up.
Hopefully, July’s update will be more positive…
If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it across social media or with your friends! I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Do you want to join the Twenty Percent Challenge? What are your top money saving tips? Please do share them below – I need all the help I can get!
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