What exactly is the No Spend Month Challenge?
A No Spend Month is when you avoid all discretionary spending for 30 days!
Why would someone want to participate in a No Spend month challenge?
Is it even possible to not spend any money?
How do you go an entire month NOT spending money?
Stay with me on this.
Will a No Spend Month get your Finances under Control?
Participating in a No Spend Month challenge can help you tame your spending habits in many ways!
- Identify “spending holes” in your budget, when you can’t seem to figure out where all your money goes.
- You can set aside all of the money you don’t spend during your “No Spend” month and put it towards a financial goal, like paying off debt, new tires or a vacation.
- Help you get back on track, or reset, after a period of spending, like the holidays or a vacation.
This No Spend challenge can be the catalyst for bringing couples together on their financial journey!
The unity of spouses is so important when dealing with finances! Do the work necessary to “get on the same page” with your spouse by doing the No Spend Challenge together!
Did you know that finances are the number one reason people divorce?
It’s worth the time and energy to sit down with your beloved and talk about money! I can’t emphasize this enough!
This No Spend Month Challenge can be the beginning of creating financial peace in your home!
1. Timing is Everything
Deciding when to do your No Spend event takes a bit of planning.
You don’t want to schedule your No Spend month during a period of high or unusual stress. This would include illness or a major life event like a new baby or a new job.
Of course, the New Year is an excellent time to start your No Spend month challenge! The New Year is full of promise and new beginnings, even new resolutions, if you will.
A No Month Challenge can get your financial year off to a great start!
However, personally, I like to do a No Spend Month a couple of times a year – once in the winter and another in the summer!
2. What’s Your WHY?
What’s the “why” behind wanting to get your finances in order?
It’s important to identify the “why” because that’s what keeps us motivated!
Do you want to get out of debt for good? Are you saving for a new (different) car? Or maybe a home?
Post a picture, if possible, of your “why” on the refrigerator so that everyone can see it!
For me, it’s two kids in college!
Getting our kids through college without student loan debt is very important to us! That motivates me to stay on track with the budget and look for ways to cut costs.
Find your “why” before the challenge and make sure it’s something that is important to both of you!
3. What CAN You Spend Money On?
“No Spend” refers to discretionary spending.
Of course, you’ll want to continue to pay your mortgage, utility bills, gasoline and other monthly bills.
However, during your “No Spend” month, look for ways to cut down on your utility usage and other monthly obligations.
The “no-nos” are eating out, shopping for anything that isn’t completely necessary, online shopping, etc.
Basically, if you don’t need it for survival, it can wait until your “No Spend” is over.
Eating on Your “No Spend” Month
What about food?
No stocking up before the challenge, that completely defeats the purpose!
Some people commit to eating only what they have on hand at home. Other people concede to buying only the bare basics, like bread and milk. It’s a personal decision.
Meal planning, however, should revolve around what you already have in the cabinets and freezer.
Yep, dig way down there and pull out those long-lost cuts of meat!
Find that package of weird pasta in the back of your cabinet!
Make meals from what you have, FIRST.
4. ‘No Spend’ means Eliminating Non-Essentials
I’m glad you asked!
There are so many things we spend money on that we really don’t need.
A No Spend Challenge is a wonderful way to not only re-evaluate, but to even eliminate them!
- Newspapers and magazines (it’s all online anyway)
- Eating out
- Any beverage other than water while out
- Haircuts (look for ways to reduce your overall hair budget)
- Gum and candy (save your teeth!)
- Hobbies (work with what you have)
- Books (library or online)
- Streaming services
- Amazon and Target
Think of all the money you’ll save by not purchasing any of these things for a month!
I would even go so far as to suggest that you delete apps from your phone that support these expenses, at least for the month.
I think you’ll be surprised by how dependent you are on them as well as how much money you are spending on them every month! (The Amazon app is my downfall….delete!)
5. No Spend Month = Create FREE and Frugal Substitutions
Instead of going to the movie theater and paying for overpriced admission and snacks, call for a “Family Movie Night” at home! Get a DVD from the library and pop some popcorn!
Rather than buying that new book, try to find it at the library. But wait, the library won’t have the newest books, or will they?
Story: I saw a cookbook on a morning show that looked so amazing, and I really wanted it! The cost was almost $30! Too much money for me to spend on a book and besides, and I don’t like to pay for cookbooks.
The book was so new, however, that the library didn’t have it yet.
But dig this!
As I was at the library counter, the librarian thought that the book looked interesting and she ordered it! I was the first one to check it out! You just never know what will happen when you ASK!
Rather than go shopping, find the local hiking paths and get some exercise!
Many local theaters have low or no-cost productions!
County extension offices often give classes that are low-cost or free.
Join a knitting/crocheting/sewing group and enjoy your craft with other people.
Get your ingenuity flowing and look for all of the free and frugal options you have at your disposal!
6. Cook from the Freezer and the Pantry
Pull out the cookbooks and get to cooking, using only what you have on hand! Let creativity have it’s way!
Check out allrecipes.com! They have an ingredient search bar where you can find recipes for whatever ingredients you have! It’s awesome!
Enlist other family members to work together to create fun meals and snacks that everyone can enjoy!
7. Eliminate Temptation
Give yourself every opportunity to be successful and create some new habits during this “No Spend” Challenge!
Stop going to places that make you want to spend money!
Delete apps from your phone that will cause you to spend! (Yes, I said this before but it bears repeating!)
Sometimes just staying home is the best option!
8. Do it Yourself
Take a break from whatever services you currently pay for and do it yourself!
Cut your own grass, paint your own walls, trim your own hair or children’s hair, change your oil, etc.
With YouTube, there’s no excuse to not learn new skills.
9. Dig into Frugal Living Habits
The No Spend Month Challenge is NOT a “buying deferral” plan.
Once of the benefits of the No Spend Month Challenge is that it gives you time to change your perspective, as well as your habits!
You might just discover that you really didn’t want that new TV as much as you would like to pay off debt or save for a vacation!
In conclusion, I view the “No Spend” Month challenge as an opportunity to “reset” your finances and start fresh! New realizations about how, when and why you spend money can set you free from the materialism that keeps you in bondage.
People often ask if they can make it a No Spend day or week. Sure, you can, but doing anything for at least 30 days helps your brain to create NEW habits. One month is best.
If you have further questions, please post them below! I want you to be successful!