NST May Challenge Living on the planet of the teddy bears


May Challenge


Each month the Ninja Saving Turtles get together to get out of debt, save for the future and help one another along. Paying off debt can be a long tough grind but we plan to have as much fun as possible and live life well. Each month there is a different challenge but a lot of elements remain the same - looking after our mental and physical health, going ninja on the debts (or savings), finding new and creative ways to save money, helping others especially those less fortunate than ourselves and being grateful for all that we have.

M   May is 31 days long. The challenge lasts from just after midnight on April 30th until midnight on 31st May

A    Allow time to think about the month.  Plan any expenditure under budget headings - food, travel (petrol/ pass etc), family birthdays or events, repairs, annual bills, entertainment.

Y    You should pay to your debt or savings first, live on what is leftover. Some people do not have a regular income - I will be kind.

T    Take your own food and drink with you whenever possible. Lunch to work or hospital appointments, especially if you will be there for and indeterminate amount of time. Plan               picnics for days out.

H    Healthy eating not starvation. Give your body the fuel it needs to do all the things you ask it to do. Healthy food can support your body, your mental health, your immune system.

E    Exercise should not be boring. If you hate it, you won't keep it up so find things you love and do them regularly. Run, swim, dance, walk, move your body, use a chair or the stairs.

F    Forethought is everything. Plan your meals around the food you already have in (do a stock check this week if you need to). Write a shopping list, only buy what is on your list. Buy the foods that will help you achieve your goals. Food is one of the areas of your budget where you can make savings, Cook from scratch, batch cook. If you struggle just try making double and freeze half for another day. Ninja Saving Kat (who started the NST challenges) believed you should eat all the food in the house and then do your next shop and Alvin Hall always made that point on 'Your Money or Your Life'. However I think Alvin was mostly dealing with single people or young couples. It's good to think about what you can make with what you have but I am more relaxed if I have a basic stock of necessities - I would hate to have to go shopping because there were no tinned tomatoes in the house. Most of my food (and other shopping) is delivered these days and I'm trying to stretch the length of time between those deliveries (eventual aim is roughly every ten days with no top up shops). I need to know there is food in, in case I am ill, or I fall, or mum has to go into hospital and I'm getting home after dark.Even baby steps in the right direction help - if I'm eating well, it helps if I have cut up celery sticks and carrots in the fridge for snacking (I also love raw mushrooms, broccoli and cauli). It doesn't take long and can be done whilst bingeing on your favourite box set but it makes a huge difference.

O    Observe. Take time to sit and stare. Watch the wonders of nature unfold. Be mindful

U    You matter. Your thoughts, your dreams, your time, especially if you spend most of your time looking after other people. Make space for pampering and some of your favourite activities.

R   Reduce, repair, recycle, re-use. We have 30 years to save this planet, lets all do our bit but keep up the pressure on polluting industries (oil, air travel, unsustainable practices).

T   There is no 'try' only 'do'. Commit to the challenge, Do your best. Turtles do not fail but we might not meet every target. Stay in touch (daily if possible) especially if things go wrong. No turtle gets left behind.

B    Beware. 
Avoid takeaways (unless it's a specific request from the birthday boy or girl), coffee franchises, pie shops, the chippy, vending machines. Know your own spending habits and weaknesses and find an alternative. 

E   Every penny a prisoner. 
Aim for 15 NSDs (low target) or 20 NSDs (high target). Buying medical requirements or petrol/ oyster card will not lose you an NSD (but must be from your budget for these things). Buying only YS (yellow sticker/ reduced items) will not lose you an NSD.

W   What is important to you? 
Family and friends? Getting your dream job? Running away to the circus? Being a hermit and going into hibernation every winter? Not the latest phone, or a product to make you look years younger or an acquisition to turn the neighbours green - because these things don't matter, they won't 'do' whatever the advertisers promised you and that is not the turtle way. Be you. Be real. be different. be true to yourself. Be happy, content with what you have and be grateful.

I    I believe that there is always an alternative. 
(mini challenge, totally optional, feel free to ignore). I have to really, was forced to during the recuperation from my total hip replacement and have made lots of adjustments as various bits of my body have stopped working in the way they used to. So I want you to think of something you would like to do and think about different ways of achieving it. Many of us may not be getting a holiday this year or certainly not the holiday of our dreams, so think about what you would like from a holiday and work out how to do it at home, for little or no money. If you want to sit on a beach and read do it in the back yard, splash about in a paddling pool or an assortment of bowls, buckets and other containers, assemble your books, have enough cushions for comfort. Take a virtual tour of somewhere on your bucket list. Have strange coloured drinks in jugs (paper umbrellas optional). If you want fine dining and being looked after, have a home spa day, make up dishes ahead of time, set the table properly, take your time to savour the flavour. 

The second part of this (I'll make them mini challenges so they are optional - ignore them if you haven't the time or energy) is thinking of something that might go wrong (don't worry, we're going to be very positive about this) and think of ways to cope with it. It might be something like a sprained ankle, temporarily disabling, you couldn't do all the things you do in the same way as usual (when I had a sprained ankle it took me an hour to get up the stairs to go to the toilet, shuffle back down on my bum, get back on the crutches and hobble to the freezer to get the bag of frozen peas and then back to the couch for the next R.I.C.E. episode, just in time to start all over again). This is prompted by an article on things you have to do to be a 'proper grown -up' and I didn't want to tell you all again why you should have a will. I'm also going to help resurrect the 'poorlies' thread (how to do old style if you have chronic/ long term illness) as it's been invaluable to me over the years. 

T   Trees are terrific. 
Plant one if you have the space (check how long the roots will be - you don't want it to topple your house). Holly is very slow growing (grows to 3' in 10 years and you can keep it trimmed back to that size). Plant an edible hedge. Join in tree planting near you or at least take an interest in any tree planting initiatives near you (I'm getting a lot of them in my news feed). 

H   Hydrate

Y    You should build something this month 
(this month's random rule). It could be a shed, it could be a piece of furniture, it could be a relationship, it can be a lego model. Build.

O   Other people are struggling. 
It has been a tough year for many of us. Food banks have many people in need of their services, charities have shortfalls in their funding. Do what you can. Smile at strangers, say hello to those you meet along the way, do random acts of kindness if you are able.

U    Use the force. 
A Jedi does not act for personal or wealth but seeks knowledge and enlightenment. Be the change you want to see in the world Gandhi

My mission in life is not only to survive,but to thrive and to do so with some Passion, some Compassion, some Humour and some Style.
NST SEP No 1 No Debt No mortgage


  • ditty1234
    ditty1234 Posts: 2,006
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    yay can I join and get a low number this month. I shall embrace the force of May, of spring and of transformation. 
    LBM Jan 2019 - £25.928/Active debt £14253, 54% sorted
    Housing fund Jan 2024 £2000/6000 36%
    EF Jan 2024 £0/1000 0% Emergency fund is for worn out things like vacuum cleaner, dish washer, and washing machine.
  • apple_muncher
    apple_muncher Posts: 14,624
    First Anniversary Mortgage-free Glee! First Post Name Dropper
    I'm in, please. Love it, mothernerd. I'm off to spend May with the teddy bears.
    NST March lion #8; NSD ; MFW9/3/23 Whoop Whoop!!!
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 341.7K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.7K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.2K Spending & Discounts
  • 233.9K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 606K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.5K Life & Family
  • 246.8K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards