Within our day to day lives, we get so caught up with consumerism and the ability to purchase things instantly on the internet–whether we have the money or not–that we never have to do without.
This often leads us to become very soft and fragile when it comes to hardship. Our lives are so simple, easy, and wonderful that whenever someone says “no,” we feel like it is the end of the world.
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Well, what if we voluntarily started saying “NO”?
What if we went an extended period of time not indulging our inner voice screaming for that new gadget, that shiny thing at the mall, or that dessert our waistline certainly doesn’t need.
I will tell you right now, all of these situations would certainly not be the end of the world if you went without. As much is it may seem like it–you can do it, I promise!
This is the whole idea behind the no spend challenge: go for an extended period of time without spending any money.
This spending freeze is a great idea to help you develop a new money habits – saving.
Now, I’m not saying don’t pay your rent or your credit card bill, but stop all voluntary consumer decisions for a set time frame and see how your spending habits change.
This could be a week, or even a month or two. Whatever you feel like you could successfully do.
The first time you do one might feel overwhelming. So remember you can always start small with less time, encourage your entire family to join you, or a join a facebook group dedicated to not spending.
I personally have done a number of these “no spend challenges” and it has completely changed my life.
No longer do I find my paycheck evaporating out from under me the minute I get it. I use to be a latte buying, magazine reading, glitter loving, compulsive consuming member of society.
After a few weeks of absolutely no spending, I have eliminated that underlying desire to purchase whatever is being advertised in front of me.
What Are The Benefits of Doing a No Spend Challenge?
A no spend challenge can be a great way to take an honest look at our spending habits and make meaningful financial changes.
By committing to not spending money for a designated period of time, it forces us to reevaluate how we use our money and identify areas where we may be able to save more.
A no spend challenge is a great way to help you refine and reach your financial goals. At the end of the month, you’ll see you likely have a lot of money left over.
The challenge is also great for developing budgeting skills and creating better spending habits.
It helps us become more mindful of our spending, encourages us to prioritize the essentials, and pushes us to think creatively about how we can meet our needs without having to purchase new items.
A no spend challenge also gives us an opportunity to practice delayed gratification—by waiting a while before making purchases, it allows us to make sure that what we’re investing in is something truly worth spending money on.
Overall, a no spend challenge can be an excellent tool for learning how to manage our finances better and become more mindful of our spending habits. It may be difficult at first but it can offer powerful results if done correctly.
Why Do People Do a No Spend Challenge?
A no spend challenge can be a great way to jumpstart healthy financial habits and save money in the long run.
By committing for a certain period of time to not spending money on things that are not essential, it forces us to prioritize our essential needs, cultivate budgeting skills, and become more mindful of how we use our money.
It can also help us practice delayed gratification, as we learn to wait until we really need something before making a purchase.
Additionally, a no spend challenge can be a great opportunity for learning about ourselves and how we use money.
We can identify areas where our spending habits may not align with our values or financial goals, and adjust accordingly.
Overall, a no spend challenge can be a powerful tool for gaining control of our finances and taking steps to improve our money management skills. You might even be able to pay off credit card debt with the money you save.
When Is The Best Time To Do a No Spend Challenge?
The best time to do a no spend challenge is when you’re feeling motivated and energized.
It takes focus and dedication to complete the challenge successfully, so it’s important to pick a time when you know you can commit for the full duration.
Additionally, it may be helpful to choose a time of year when your expenses are typically lower.
For example, if you have fewer holiday-related expenses or your regular bills are less expensive during the summer months, that could be a great time to start your challenge and maximize your savings.
Ultimately, the best time to do a no spend challenge is when you’re ready both mentally and financially.
With the right planning and dedication, you can take advantage of the powerful benefits that come with this type of challenge.
A great time to start one is in the new year. Doing a no spend January can help you improve your financial situation for the upcoming year.
Download our free no spend January printable here:
The good news is that this month tracker will keep you motivated to spend less on your credit cards and finish the no spend month challenge on a high note.
How To Do a No Spend Challenge:
There are no official rules for a no spend challenge, the goal is simple to not spend on unnecessary items, non-essential items, or unneeded purchases. Here are my best tips to succeed.
1. Decide how long you want to do it:
One day is pretty easy, but two to four days is more than doable for your first attempt. Once you get further down the rabbit hole, try a week or two at a time.
To help stop your bad spending habits with this spending challenge, you might choose to go the entire month of January without spending unnecessary money.
2. Make sure you are prepared to go that length of time:
For example, If you have absolutely nothing in your fridge you likely aren’t going to do very well at this challenge.
I’m not advocating for you to go out and stock up on everything in your fridge and pantry, but at least give yourself a fighting chance.
3. Stop spending:
Hit start on your countdown clock or whatever you want to signify your commitment, but you are officially in. Don’t be afraid to spread the word and tell all your friends and family that you are challenging yourself.
If you have to spend, use gift cards from family members or friends that you’ve received as gifts.
If you find yourself wanting to spend on something like new clothes, transfer that money to your savings account instead.
4. Record your thoughts and feelings during the duration of the challenge:
You will find that many of your purchases are driven or associated with specific emotions.
5. Finish the challenge and reflect:
You can start to determine if your purchases are things you truly need, things you can live without, or simply the result of great advertising.
6. Plan your next challenge
Next time, try to push yourself for longer and longer periods.
How To Keep Yourself Motivated Through a No-Spend Challenge:
Keeping yourself motivated for a no spend challenge can be tough, but there are some steps you can take to ensure success.
1. Set Realistic Goals
First and foremost, set realistic goals for your challenge that fit into your lifestyle and budget.
This will help keep you motivated throughout the process because it’s easier to maintain enthusiasm when you know what you’re working toward.
2. Track It
Additionally, make sure that you have systems in place to track your progress—such as a spending journal or budgeting app—so that you can see how far you’ve come and stay motivated.
You can also download our free printable for this purpose!
3. Motivate Yourself
Lastly, don’t be afraid to give yourself rewards for completing the challenge, like a movie night with friends or a splurge at your favorite store.
You can set your own rules and do things like check your bank account balance every day to keep yourself motivated.
The best way to motivate yourself is to have a reward that does not use the extra money you saved during the month. Whether you have a specific goal or not, it’s a good idea to motivate yourself with something that is free – you don’t want to ruin your new habit.
Celebrating your successes will help to keep you motivated and remind you of why you’re doing the challenge in the first place!
With some hard work and dedication, you can make it through a no spend challenge with flying colors. Good luck!
I found out a number of things out about my spending habits after my first challenge:
At the end of my challenge, I am always surprised that I’ve gone a whole month without spending unnecessary money. It’s very rewarding!
The first was that I have a lot of food in my pantry.
I could probably survive for a month of so off my stockpile of goods, and that I will no longer be making special trips to the supermarket when I can simply shop in my cupboards.
Second, I really don’t need that morning coffee.
Or breakfast out, and although I feel like my world will end without my latte, I survive just fine!
Finally, if there is a specific product that I really want, and if I truly need it, I will want it just as badly a month later.
Products that I don’t need and are impulse decisions don’t last longer than a day or so, maybe a week at most.
I started waiting for a set period of time to
Final Thoughts on The No Spend Challenge
The no spend challenge really keeps me honest. Plus, you wouldn’t believe how much money I have saved!
Before these challenges, I would wonder where all my money was going and why I couldn’t save much each paycheck. These days, I’m able to pay myself a lot more, which is a great feeling and makes me so excited for the future.
All in all, these challenges are a fantastic way to clean up your life and finances. It brings you back down to earth on what’s really important in life. So, go ahead and take a challenge. I guarantee you will want to do another one.