I spent over €2,000 on stuff I didn't need last year. Does that shock you? Because it shocked me. I didn't even go through an itemised list - that figure is based on an average of €40 a week on stuff like books, nail polish, make up, candles, clothes, "bargains" I come across in the Supermarket, impulse buys, cups of takeaway coffee, newspapers, DVDs - things I don't need. I'd actually say that €40 a week is putting it mildly, especially in December or when I have extra cash. I seem to blow money the second I get it, so I'm determined to stop buying this year and save some money instead. Every time I see a "big" item I'd love to get (a tablet, or a games console, or a new phone) I think it'll take me forever to save up for it, I get half way there, then blow the whole lot in bloody Penneys on socks that lose their partners within a week, nail polish I already own (yep, did it), scarves I wear twice, dresses that don't fit, or stuff for the kids that won't fit them in a month. NO MORE!!
I've seen these 52-week challenges cropping up everywhere over the past week or two. For the more hardcore, this is one that will guarantee you almost €1400 in savings by the end of 2014 if you stick to it:
The idea is that you save €1 (or $1 or £1 depending on what currency you use) in week 1, €2 in week 2, €3 in week 3, and so on. The problem with this plan, as someone rightly pointed out to me on twitter, is that while it's relatively easy for the first half of the year, it's hellish in December. I've seen some people saying that they're going to work it backwards, big savings first, but January is a tight month in general so this won't work for me either. What I'm going to do is save something off the list every week. That way I can save the bigger amounts when I feel I can afford to. I'm using an empty formula can so I won't be able to see the money building up. When it goes into the can, it's gone. It's not coming out until the end of the year, at which point I'll use it for one or two decent things instead of a year's worth of crap.
There is a milder challenge that may be a better option if the above one seems too daunting - it's a children's version, but a savings pot of €340 isn't to be sneezed at!
There are hundreds of versions out there! Hopefully I'll have a full can by the end of the year.