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The Big Budget Challenge

September 29, 2011

Despite the gorgeous sunny and hot weather we’re having in the UK at the moment, it’s now less than three months until Christmas. For me, it’s the time of year when I start thinking about my finances and how I’m going to fund the extra expense that comes with the festive period. The lovely Laura over at Keeping Healthy and Getting Stylish has come up with a brilliant idea – the Big Budget Challenge.

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The idea is to set your own rules that you will stick to during October and November, and then let everyone know how you’re getting on through your blog. Laura will do a round up post every week – head over to her blog to find out more details of how you can join in.

I thought long and hard about what rules I was going to set for myself that would be challenging and save me money, but wouldn’t leave me surviving on ASDA cheapo noodles for two months. I’m definitely not loaded, but I’m not completely broke either and I don’t want to make life miserable for myself during the challenge. I think these rules fit the bill:

1. £150 grocery budget for each month. This includes the organic vegetable box that I get every week, which I know is pricey, but while I can afford it I’m happy to continue. The majority of my grocery bill goes on fresh fruit and veg, so apart from the organic box I will try to buy cheaper varieties (that means stepping away from the out of season berries!).

I also spend a lot of money in health food shops, so I will seriously have to curb this habit. I’ve bought a few essentials before the challenge starts (ok, this might be cheating Winking smile), so now I think I can probably manage by buying only a couple of bits and bobs to keep me going over the next two months.

This is going to be a major challenge for me, but I’m going to try really hard to stick to it … wish me luck!

2. £50 a month personal budget. I imagine that much of this will be spent on eating out. Peter and I eat out quite a bit at the weekends, and although I will try to spend less on this, it’s one of our treats, so I don’t want to give it up completely.

3. £75 for birthday presents over the two months. There are a few birthdays coming up in November that I need to budget for.

4. £75 spending money for a girls’ holiday. I’m going away with my best friends at the end of October. We’ve already paid for the accommodation, but I need money for food, alcohol (of course!) and any outings we have.

5. Travel costs. Ah, the cost of a long-distance relationship! I will also need petrol money for my holiday and I need to buy bus season tickets. I’m not going to put an amount on this, because for me, travel is essential, but I will keep an eye on it.

I’m also going to cancel my gym membership because I’m only going to one class a week at the moment. I might reinstate it in the winter if the weather gets too bad for running (I’m not hardcore – I hate icy pavements).

In real-life I’m a purchasing and supply professional, so this challenge should be right up my street! With my professional hat on I decided the first thing to do was clear out my cupboards and make an inventory of everything I have and bring in some kind of stock rotation system. I’m quite surprised about how much stuff has been lurking at the back of my cupboards! I especially have a lot of seeds, so I shouldn’t need to buy any for quite a while!

29Sep11

Are you doing the Big Budget Challenge?

Are your kitchen cupboards organised? What’s lurking at the back?

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 4:53 pm

    Every now and then I clear out the cupboards and find things I had forgotten about- I also am hoarding tins of pumpkin!

  2. September 29, 2011 4:53 pm

    I’m definitely up for this challenge. I’m on sabbatical at the moment, so no income. I do really need to cut back for the next couple of months so I can afford Xmas (plus I’ve got my hubbie’s 40th in December).
    I spotted your bags of Linwoods ground seeds in your cupboard. I LOVE the Linwoods range, especially their ground flaxseed with goji berries. However, don’t buy it often because it’s so much more expensive than grounding your own seeds. When I’m back on an income, I’ll definitely be buying Linwoods again! xx

  3. September 29, 2011 6:33 pm

    I’m loving this challenge and will definitely joining in for sure. I just reorganised by cupboards recently and stocked up on pulses and dried beans to keep me going for a while. Great tips!

  4. September 29, 2011 7:43 pm

    That’s a great idea! I’m anxiously awaiting my paycheck from my new job, so I can set up a budget.

  5. September 29, 2011 8:42 pm

    I hate to think what’s still in the back of my cupboards, although it can be great when I randomly find things!
    This sounds great and if you can cut down the petrol, I reckon that’ll be the major one, it costs me such a fortune just to get to work and back so I feel your pain 😦
    And like you say, you can’t cut back too much on the good things because although you’ve got to save, you’ve got to enjoy it too!

  6. September 29, 2011 9:54 pm

    I try to keep my cupboards organized, but with so many people living here it’s hard! I have a little section of all my food that’s quite well organized. That being said- sometimes I love finding food I forgot about! Assuming it’s not expired, of course 🙂

  7. September 30, 2011 1:07 am

    I am lucky to have a husband that is as into keeping our kitchen organized as I am. As for the budget, I am trying to do the same thing. It is hard to find a balance of cutting back, but still enjoying yourself and not depriving yourself too much!

  8. September 30, 2011 12:48 pm

    The challenge is a wicked idea, even thought I won’t be taking part 🙂

    Your last photo of what’s lurking in your cupboards made me smile – it looks like mine x

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