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Secret London Saving Challenge: How To Save £9.20 In A Year By Being A Total Mess

Georgie Hoole Georgie Hoole - EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Secret London Saving Challenge: How To Save £9.20 In A Year By Being A Total Mess

January is a time for healthy eating! Saving money! And just generally Being Good.

Perhaps you’ve seen these money challenges circling the internet. The ones that make saving look piss-easy. Hey, maybe you’ve started one in your shiny, optimistic and wildly deluded state of Januaryness?

Pop a tenner into a savings account each day, you won’t even notice! If that seems hard, try a tenner a week! You know the deal. I’ve seen them all, from penny-saving challenges to challenges seemingly made for the top 5% of earners. Take The Metro’s 2020 savings challenge, for example. They believe that, by saving up to £260 a week (over Christmas time, I might add), you could save £6,890 in a year. Isn’t that cute? While mathematically correct, it’s a challenge that exists in a dreamworld. Certainly not the world of your average earner living in London.

Honestly, I think Lucy Watson on Twitter has nailed reality. Save £1,000 a week and yOu WIlL Be RiCh.

(People were very upset about this tweet. But those people didn’t understand that she was very much joking. Obviously.)

Anyway, here’s how your saving challenge is most likely to go down:

Week 1

Save £10. You tell yourself that you’ll save more after pay day, but “Christmas was expensive this year” and you’re already low on funds.

Savings balance: £10

Week 2

Save another £10. Things are going really well so you treat yourself to a bottle of wine on Friday night, with money from your current account.

Savings balance: £20

Week 3

Come mid-week you find yourself regretting that bottle of wine, especially since you told yourself you’d do Dry January in order to save money. You alternate between Pot Noodles and Cup-a-Soups for the rest of the week to try and make up for it, but when Thursday comes around, you just can’t resist going to the pub for drinks. You forget to save this week.

Savings balance: £20

Week 4

On Monday you remember that you were meant to be saving so guiltily double your weekly savings and transfer £20 to your savings pot.

Come Wednesday, you’re in Pret buying a Crayfish Salad when your card gets declined. You check your bank balance and see the damage of last Thursday night, and see that, no, there hasn’t been a mistake: you truly cannot afford your lunch. You transfer the extra £10 that you so boldly put away back into your current account and pay for your salad.

By the evening you realise that £10 isn’t going to get you very far and, in a moment of desperation, you totally drain your savings account—erasing all of your hard work—and create a questionable plan to make the £22 that you have to your name last until pay day. You go to Tesco and buy a load of pasta and sauce, and some broccoli for good measure, and meal prep like your life depends on it. Which it sort of does. 

Savings balance: £0

Week 5

The pasta and broccoli lasts you until Tuesday, which, incidentally, is pay day. You excitedly add £200 to your savings pot because ‘OH LOOK, I HAVE MONEY’!

Savings balance: £200

Week 6

Things are going incredibly well! You can even afford two pub lunches this week, which will absolutely not come back to haunt you. £50 to the pot!

Savings balance: £250

Week 7

The pub comes back to haunt you. And its pretty scary. Perhaps you were a bit too hasty on the savings front earlier in the month. You manage to make do with what you’ve got for the rest of the week, but you skip saving. You tell yourself it doesn’t matter because you’ve saved SO much already. 

Savings balance: £250

Week 8

You’re three weeks into February and, like most third weeks in most months, you are verging on skint. For once though, past you is here to save the day! You take £150 from your savings account and drown your guilty conscience in a large glass of wine at Spoons. It costs you £3.90, but because you’re in Spoons and wine is so cheap, you buy two.

Savings balance: £100

Week 9

It’s pay day week and you’re still living off the £150 you stole from yourself last week. Unfortunately pay day is not until Friday, and you need to take another £30 on Wednesday evening in order to make it through.

When pay day comes around, you add £100 to your account and pat yourself on the back.

Savings balance: £170

Week 10

Your friends decide that they want to go on a trip to Ibiza this year and one of them has found “a really good all-inclusive deal on On The Beach”. To afford the £650 trip, you take all £170 out of your account and also take out a Monzo loan to cover the rest. Of course, your savings go out the window this week.

Savings balance: £0

Week 11

After last week’s shenanigans you decide to press pause on savings until payday comes around again.

Savings balance: £0

Week 12

Still not payday. Still not saving.

Savings balance: £0

Week 13

Still not payday. Still not saving.

Savings balance: £0

Week 14

Things get so hard by the end of the month that you need to increase your loan. So, when payday finally comes around, much of your wage goes on paying some of that back. You skip saving once again, leaving you no hope for the rest of the month.

Savings balance: £0

The months that follow go very similarly, to the point where you just totally forget that “Saving” was ever a thing that you intended to do. October comes around and you momentarily remember and add a random £100 to your pot. On payday, of course. 

You blissfully forget about that money—understandable since you’ve been out of the savings “routine” for so long now—until your mum’s birthday, literally the next month, when you take her out for a semi-fancy dinner and declare that the meal mustn’t cost over £100 between the two of you. You graciously skip dessert and the bill totals £82.80. Mostly through pure relief, you generously tip £8.00. 

And that’s it. You’re left with £9.20. And, to prove that you’re just So Good With Money, you don’t touch it until 2021. 

Savings? Completed it mate.

To depress you further, check out this miserable map that shows you how much you need to earn to buy a house in London


Also published on Medium.