The cost of thrifty | An update on the 21 day thrifty workout

So a few days ago I decided to do my best to reverse the crush of my overspending. I set out to side-hustle, drink only water/black tea, eat home-made or free food 85% of the time, walk or cycle everywhere and try to rack up the no-spend days with an overall goal of raising my savings rate till it hurts. Here’s a review of how the first 7 days went.


Random internet picture – this is what my notebook looks like though


I worked 2 days for my freelance client in Germany last week. This involved an overnight trip out to Munich during Oktoberfest at super short notice. I rocked my frugality here by racking up the hours but keeping the expenses low.

  • I packed 3 home-made meals on Wednesday – lunch, dinner and a snack because I had a super long day planned before I arrived at Munich and didn’t want to be caught out by hunger at the airport.
  • I stayed at a hotel located in the rather seedy neighbourhood behind Hauptbahnof nord. There was a strip club next door – that I didn’t visit – and I had to share a bathroom and toilet. Aside from their €90 charge being ridiculously cheap compared to some of the other stuff I saw on, I got breakfast included for free – this meant that I only had to worry about paying for lunch and dinner out-of-pocket.
  • I ate the free fruit at the client office as well as an apple I’d brought from the hotel.

In total, I spent £19.43 and will earn £630 from these two days.

Exercising my frugality muscles

  • Drink water or black tea only: I’ve stuck to this one successfully. I had 2 opportunities for free booze on Friday and another on Saturday yet didn’t capitulate. Even though I collected some free Innocent sparkly drinks, I won’t drink them till mid-October. Total savings so far £31.13 (average spend on drinks for the last 7 weeks)
  • Eat home-made or free food 85% of the time: I ate free or home-made food 18 out of 24 meals/snacks last week. That’s 75% of the time. Technically that’s a fail. However when we look at how much I’ve spent on food last week (social and just eating), it totalled £38.02*. This is 63% less than the week before, 22% less than three weeks ago and 55% less than the first week after pay-day.  These are not insignificant figures and keeping at this will be key to reducing my ghastly socialising spend in the future.
  • Walk or cycle 100% of the time: I was on course to do this till I got caught in a crunching tackle at my tournament on Saturday. I couldn’t cycle home and I’ve been hobbling around with my busted knee since. I had to take the Overground home on Saturday and then had a return bus trip on Sunday morning to A&E. I’m gutted – I’d even done a cycle at 1am from the East of London when I live in the Southwest – but there’s nothing I can do about this one.
  • No spend days: Sadly a number of ad-hoc requests for fees for the tournament, forgetting my lunch on Tuesday and the busted knee meant that I only managed two no-spend days last week. I know I can hit more. I’ll have to wait till my knee’s better to find out how much better.

Save till it hurts

There isn’t much to report here because I am waiting for pay-day. I plan to pay myself first (in totality) and see how I do with a limited discretionary budget. Check in at the week 3 update to see if I manage this.

Wrap up

It’s not actually been that difficult to keep to these goals. I was a bit bummed that I couldn’t drink some of the tasty cocktails that were going at the party I went to on Friday and I had a hard time ignoring some beers after my knee was busted. It did feel great cycling home on Friday instead of requiring a taxi and I reckon that I can transform this workout into a permanent state of affairs.


One thought on “The cost of thrifty | An update on the 21 day thrifty workout

  1. Pingback: September spending update | A woeful example of a lack of control | Diary of a reforming spendthrift

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s