What better way to launch a new year than to do a no spend month? I love doing these occasionally. Why?
Why Do a No Spend Challenge?
Similar to a fast, a no spend month can reset your relationship with money. It can uncover bad spending habits (Starbucks and Target? I’m talkin’ to YOU).
It brings the unconscious into the conscious, and helps you ask better questions. “Do I really need this? Does it spark joy? Is it truly worth the life energy I traded to earn the money to buy it?”
It uncovers weaknesses. Are you ready?
I’ve done several no spend challenges through the years. The first was when I was paying off my debts in 2018 as a single mom.
The most recent was when hubby and I were saving a down payment for our home. I turned that into a no spend summer. Read more about that here.
One of the most fun reasons to do a no spend challenge is because you want to save up for a certain goals. Frugality without a purpose is hard and frankly sucks, long-term.
One of the reasons I wanted to do this challenge again this month is because I bought the family a new TV. I also wanted to pay off my son’s Invisalign. Tightening the purse will help me accomplish these goals!
What is a no spend challenge?
Obviously, unless you live off the grid, own a farm and are completely self-sustaining and have opted out of the money economy, it’s impossible to completely stop spending. So in a nutshell, a no spend challenge is when you stop spending on anything discretionary.
The following categories are generally safe during a no spend challenge:
- Groceries. Duh. Ya gotta eat.
- Gasoline (unless you’re driving to Target or Starbucks. Ha!)
- Monthly bills – gots to keep the lights on, yo
- Needful things such as toilet paper, haircuts for dudes, new shoes for the kiddos, health care
- Business expenses
That being said, there are still ways to spend less in these areas. While you’re at it, revisit these items.
- Have a budget meeting with the spouse and look for ways to slash so-called fixed costs.
- Use up food in your freezer and pantry! Take an inventory and challenge yourself to make creative meals and buy fewer groceries. More on lowering your grocery budget here.
- Make a list of fun, free activities your family enjoys and commit to doing those when you’re bored (creative!), instead of always spending money (lazy!) . Hiking, picnics, walks, free museums, free local fairs, board games, having friends over – free.
Categories that are slashed during a no spend challenge:
- Eating out, coffee shops
- Recreation (movies, etc. Free entertainment rocks!)
- Clothing for adults that aren’t growing or pregnant
- Books (I shed a little tear typing that! Use the library, read books you own and haven’t yet read, or reread!)
- Beauty and personal care, cleaning products – most of us have plenty of these around if we do an “under the sink” inventory.
- Nik-naks, Target runs, anything not necessary. 😉
Staying motivated for your spending fast is important. You might want to find an accountability partner. Having a strong, motivating goal is essential in my opinion. I think it’s also ok to reward yourself at the end of the no-spend period. I plan on taking myself for a mani-pedi!
I’ll be checking in to let you know how I personally do during the month! Also, if you aren’t already, please follow me on Facebook. I do live videos daily on there and will be sharing how it’s going for me. I’d love if you watched and commented!
If you need some serious hand-holding with changing your finances, including getting out of debt, I recommend Anna Jones’ Spending Fast Bootcamp! I love this course, and Anna’s book, the Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living. It’s a little like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, but way cooler. 😉
Have you ever done a spending fast?