Are you someone who is taking a “No Spend” challenge right now? Congratulations! I love “No Spend” challenges! From my experience, you can’t get enough good advice, so here’s my “Top 10 Tips for a Successful “No Spend” Month Challenge”!
What are some reasons that a person might embark upon a “No Spend Month”??
Taking a sabatical from spending money is a powerful tool in “resetting” your spending habits, as well as your attitude towards spending.
If you are struggling with your bills and/or your spending habits, or just want to recover from a period of spending i.e. Christmas, I can guarantee that you’ll benefit from a period of no spending!
1. Consolidate Errands
One of my very first goals during a “No Spend” month challenge is to stretch a tank of gasoline as far as I can!
My plan this month is to make one tank of gas last all month long.
This is easier done at some stages of life rather than others.
I am finally an “almost empty-nester”, which means that I don’t have to drive anyone around anymore!
This has only been a recent thing, and believe me, it’s been a long time coming!
That said, it’s easier for me these days to control my fuel consumption!
However, I am a stickler about only getting in my truck when absolutely necessary and even then, consolidating errands.
Another reason I control my time in the truck is that I am much more tempted to stop for a coffee or some other errand when I’m out.
Was is Shakespeare who said “To thine own self be true”?
I know myself and my weaknesses and so I try to avoid putting myself in a position to fail.
2. Stay Out of Stores
This may seem like it goes without saying, especially during a “No Spend” Month Challenge!
However, too many times, we minimize the effects of retail on our brains.
Sure, we may just need to run into Walmart to get a gallon of milk…
But remember, there is a tremendous amount of science that goes into how stores are arranged, in order to induce “impulse buying”.
Major retailers aren’t dummies.
They aren’t going to leave it to chance that you might buy something other than what you originally came in for!
Everything from lighting, check out and end-of-isle displays, positioning of products on shelves and the length of time it takes to find basics like bread and milk, are all carefully choreographed.
The remedy for someone trying to not spend for a month?
Don’t chance it.
Stay out of the stores.
If you truly need groceries, order on-line and pick up.
3. Lower Your Utility Bills
One of the best ways to add to your “bottom line” during a “No Spend” Month Challenge is to stop giving the gas, electric and water companies your money!
It’s not that hard to use less water, turn your water heater and furnace down, and turn the lights off!
Just being aware and vigilant will lower your bills right off the bat, but go the extra mile!
Add weather-stripping to drafty doors and windows.
Buy LED bulbs as your old bulbs burn out.
Use surge-protectors and be sure to turn them off when not in use!
4. Re-shop Car and Home Owners Insurance
Insurance rates are constantly changing.
So is the financial health of insurance companies.
Never assume that you always have the best rate and never assume that you’re with the best company.
Do your “do diligence” at least once a year to make sure you’re covered at the best possible rate.
5. Go Paper-Free
Paper products are some of the most over-priced items at the store!
Single-use napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, disposable diapers and the like are a waste of money for the most part!
American’s spend $5.7 billion dollars a year on paper towels, nearly half of the global amount!
Over their lifetimes, Americans will spend:
$11,000 on toilet paper
$10,518.82 on paper towels (Dish towels, anyone?)
$9,469.15 on hygienic wipes
$9,454.37 on tissues (What ever happened to handkerchiefs?)
$9,402.62 on plastic bags
$8,619.07 will be spent on paper plates (Real plates?)
$8,537.76 on disposable razors (I ditched these long ago, I love my safety razor! I only use one or two blades per year and it’s paid for itself many times over!)
$8,005.54 on plastic utensils
Totaling $75,007.33 for paper products over an American’s lifetime!!!!
I’m sorry, but that is complete insanity! (This number still doesn’t include disposable diapers!)
If you live for 75 years, that’s over $1,000 per person per year for paper products!
That’s $83 per month!
6. Repair Clothing
Personally, I prefer to buy better-quality, used-clothing for a couple of different reasons, whether it’s a “No Spend” Month or not.
First, “Fast Fashion” is killing our planet.
Second, better quality clothing lasts longer and looks better, keeping me away from the fashion “hamster wheel”.
Better quality clothing also allows for mending and repair, unlike cheaper and poorly made clothing.
The art of mending seems like a lost art.
Remember, when we used to sew on buttons and darn socks so that they would last longer?
Even Prince Charles wears suits that have been mended multiple times!
Because repairing what we have is just part and parcel of the frugal-lifestyle.
To be honest, I had to look up some YouTube videos and learn how to darn socks, but what a worthwhile skill to know!
7. Sell Your Stuff
Need a fun project to work on during your “No Spend” Month Challenge?
Look around your home.
Open closets, cabinets and drawers.
Zero in on that stuff that you never use or wear.
It’s easier said than done to let go of possessions, but once you get started and see how much more roomy your home or apartment seems, you’ll want to keep going!
Make some extra cash to pay down debt or save an emergency fund, while you get rid of those items that you’ll probably never use again.
Get with a few friends and do a clothing swap!
It helps to swap with friends who are close to the same size as you, or have children that are just a bit older than your kids.
I used to organize a clothing swap years ago for other homeschoolers, and it was amazing!
Everyone brought clothing to “swap”.
Families who participated where just blown away at how many of their clothing/shoe needs were filled in that “Clothing Swap”!
9. Delete Apps from Your Phone
There’s no doubt that the convenience of purchasing applications on our phones make it far too simple to buy.
There’s really nothing wrong with using technology to our advantage, however, I encourage you to “delete” those apps while you’re taking the “No Spend” Month Challenge.
The world won’t come to an end and you’ll save a ton of money.
10. Maintain your Car(s)
Driving and maintaining a car costs a lot more than people realize!
I read somewhere that it costs an average of $10K per year to own and manage a car. (Not including payments!)
To add insult to injury, your final cost of driving can increase significantly if you are paying for yet another repair!
There’s nothing fun or interesting about spending money to maintain your car. There just isn’t.
But, if you need to own a car, you need to make it a priority to maintain it!
Most repairs can be predicted by your mechanic and/or owner’s manual and this allows you to set aside money before your car breaks down.
Keep up the “No Spend” momentum and have a successful month!