Thursday, November 14, 2013

Money-Saving Challenge of the week: Not to spend ANYTHING

Hello, toasters!
So in one of my last posts I set myself the challenge of spending absolutely nothing for a whole week.
I survived, so I thought I'd share with you my findings from the past week...

This was when I decided to challenge myself to not spend anything. My bank had just texted me to let me know how poor I was, so I decided to try and be a super-scrimper on a 1-week trial basis.
I feel that maybe a reason that I was broke was because I'd become slightly addicted to Dominos pizzas, and at £10 a pop, its not the best thing to be having more than once a week.
I took my own lunch into uni (the healthy combination of golden niuggets cereal, a can of coke and an apple) which helped to keep the cost down, but I couldn't help but look longingly at the great-smelling hot food sold in the canteen.
Amount Spent:  Nothing
Mood: Determined to get out of my overdraft
Top tip of the day: When in doubt, take a box of kiddies cereal for lunch

Today was a bit easier, as I had 'independent study'... i.e. the teacher couldn't think of anything to do.
So as I didn't have to go into uni, I didn't have to worry about being tempted by the hot food on offer.
I had tortellini for lunch, and chicken & oven chips for dinner- just using up things from my freezer drawer.
If anyone else is a tortellini fan, I'd say avoid the Asda herb tortellini like the plague.
It has such a gritty texture, I felt like I'd swallowed a beach.
Actually, whilst were on the subject of tortellini, is anyone else currently angry with Sainsburys?
The bastards discontinued the four cheese tortellini I practically lived off last year.
Sorry, that was a bit off-topic, but its an important matter to me!
Amount Spent: Nothing
Mood: Chuffed that I had a four hour lie- in!
Top tip of the day: Avoid Asda where possible in the pasta department

Today was a truly great day for me... I saw Bill Bailey!
And as cool as he was (I was in the fifth row!) the arrival of my mum meant one glorious thing- FREE FOOD!
Usually, we just go to the Harvester, but I found out about this classy Chinese restaurant in town that I wanted to try.
It was incredible, and the best thing was is that it was all-you-can-eat, so we could try everything. Twice.
Having been given strict instructions from my housemates, I had sneakily bought 3 Tupperware containers with me in my bag, and so me & my mum made it our mission to not go home empty handed.
Honestly, I don't think I've ever laughed so hard as when mum came back to the table, proudly carrying a huge plate heaped with about 200 gummy milk bottles.
We managed to squish everything into the boxes, and we headed home with one box of sweets, and two rammed with lemon chicken.
Amount Spent: Nothing
Mood: It's Bill Bailey, from Have I Got-Never Mind The-Black Books-QI-for you!
Top tip of the day: Take plastic containers and be ninja-thieves when you visit an all-you-can-eat buffet

Okay, so it turns out reheated lemon chicken isn't great, so I've basically just been left with enough sweets to put anyone into a coma.
I didn't have uni today (I have so many days off! I mean, I love my course, but it feels silly paying £8600 a year when I only have 3 days in!!) so again, I wasn't tempted by the hot food on offer there.
Basic pasta for lunch, and a bit of everything from my freezer drawer for dinner- it was one of those nights where I though 'Hey, this mini pizza will go great with roast parsnips and a naan bread!'
I don't know how I got into that very dark place, but I am older & wiser now.
Amount Spent: Nothing
Top tip of the day: If you're mixing food types like this, you should probably take a day off. Or a week off, depending on how bad your sugar coma is from all those sweets.

Today I had a full day at uni!
I know, right?! A full day!!! It's like what I'm paying for is actually reasonable!
But having spent an entire day in the computer room, when it came to lunch time, I just couldn't bring myself to dig into the cereal I had bought with me.
I'm afraid I did a terrible thing- I bought a jacket potato
I couldn't help it! It was more tempting than a photo opportunity is to a politician!
But, it was the best jacket potato of my life.
Any and all inner turmoil I had going on about losing my challenge disappeared the moment I took the first bite. It was so soft, and exactly what I needed.
Amount Spent- £3.00
Mood: Bite me.
Top tip of the day: Maybe treating yourself once in a while is a good thing. But if you really cant spend anything, getting up 10 minutes earlier to make something more tempting than dry cereal is a good idea.

So I was definitely feeling guilty about my jacket potato, and found myself obsessing over whether I'm just a really weak person or not.
I came to the conclusion that in most things, I'm pretty strong.
But when it comes to food, sleep, exercise, or anything to do with owls, I'm weaker than the watered-down alcohol you get at weddings.
So to cheer myself up, for lunch I decided to make myself onion bruschetta! (Think really posh cheese on toast)
It was amazing, and the recipe is as follows:

1.      Chop 2 onions, place in a frying pan and put on the hob on a low heat.
2.      Add 2 tablespoons of oil, 1 of balsamic vinegar, and at least 4 spoons of sugar.
3.      If you have some red wine laying around, add that too.
4.      Simmer for about 40-60 minutes on  the low heat until the onion marmalade becomes sticky & soft and the liquid is soaked up.
5.      Cut crusty bread into inch-thick slices, drizzle on a little oil and sprinkle on some chopped garlic (1 clove does 4 slices)
6.      Spread the onion marmalade onto the bread evenly, and top with slices of cheese (cheddar or goats cheese works well)
7.      Put the oven onto the grill setting (or just a really high temperature) and pop the slices in.
8.      Grill for about 6 minutes, until the cheese starts to bubble.
9.      Serve immediately and enjoy the best lunch EVER :D
Amount Spent: Nothing
Mood: Aww yiss!
Top tip of the day: Definitely brush your teeth after eating these- they taste amazing but gives you garlic breath.

I spent most of Sunday with Dan, which was really nice. We watched a load of Firefly (best TV series EVER) and just had a pretty chilled day.
When it came to dinner, we really didn't fancy anything he had in his cupboard (no surprise there, he's a typical guy when it comes to food) so we went to Wetherspoons and he paid which was really sweet!
Usually I insist on going Dutch for meals out etc. but as this was my week of scrooge-ness, he treated me.
Amount Spent: Nothing
Mood: Very happy
Top tip of the day: If possible, have a nice boyfriend who doesn't mind treating you once in a while.

So throughout the  whole week, I only spent £3.00, which I think is pretty good going!
I wouldn't say that I've learnt anything in particular, but I know that my bank balance is looking pleased.
If this were one of those school science experiments that you had to prepare and write up, it would look like this:

· Question: Can Sammie go a week without spending anything?
· Hypothesis: Probably not.
· Observations: I did pretty well, but its fair to say I relied on my friends and family quite a bit.
· Conclusion: I can do it, it just requires more will power than I currently possess...

Have any of you challenged yourselves to do something like this? If so, how did it go?
Let me know :)


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