Saving Money

No Spend Challenge – It Won’t Cost You A Dollar!

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A great way to cut down spending is trying the no spend challenge! The idea is to reduce your cash outflow and build healthier spending habits. The no spend challenge can be a real eye-opener to what drives your spending habits and helps you recognise the temptation that leads to impulse buys.

What is the No Spend Challenge?

The no spend challenge does what it says on the tin! 

Ultimately, you are challenging yourself not to spend any money over a set period of time; this could be for a day to a whole year or longer. You may opt to have a budget in place to pay for any necessities but nothing more. 

No Spend Challenge

What does no spend mean?

‘No spend’ can be interpreted differently and depends on what you want to achieve. You may decide to completely commit and not spend a penny including on your necessities, or you may choose not to spend on any extras or luxuries.

If you are planning on not spending anything, my biggest tip is to be prepared. Here are a few things to consider:

  • What will you eat? If you decide not to do any grocery shopping, have you got plenty of store cupboard food, freezer food and long-life produce to make meals?
  • How will you get to work or pick up the kids? Have a look for local carpools and accessible transport.
  • Can you find free accommodation? Maybe living in a van is an idea for you!

Alternatively, you may be choosing to stop spending on things you can live without, even if it initially feels like you can’t! Trust me, you don’t really need any of those items in the middle aisle. For example:

  • eating out
  • takeaways
  • coffees and cakes
  • clothes
  • taxis
  • pamper days
  • activities/entertainment
  • fuel
  • online shopping
  • subscriptions

No spend challenge ideas

You may be wondering how to do a no spend challenge. 

Firstly I would recommend setting out a goal. Whether this is to reduce your spending by ‘x’ amount every week/month/year or save ‘y’ amount. A goal gives the challenge a purpose and a reason for you to stick to it. Make sure to review this and take into consideration your fixed expenditures or budget (if you have one).

Secondly, set out what you can and can’t spend on. Write this down if it helps, and inform your friends and family. Not only for the support but also so you can be held accountable.

Next, when you have completed the challenge, decide what you want to do with the unspent money! Pay off debts, buy a high ticket item, start investing, or build your savings account. There are many things you can choose to do! 

Finally, evaluate how you think the challenge went – did it work for you and how you would tweak it next time.

One way to motivate yourself is by researching all the things you can do for free! Or challenge your friends or family to join in for a bit of healthy competition. In this blog post we have a list of ways you can exercise for free and here are some more ideas on how to get paid for working out!

Over time you could increase the number of no spend days and surprise yourself with what you can achieve!

  • 15 day no spend challenge – easy level
  • 30 day no spend challenge – medium level
  • 90 day no spend challenge -hard level
  • 21 day no spend challenge – 21 days is the magic number to form new habits

How can I have no spending days?

Having no spending days is a great way to ease yourself into the challenge. You could start with a couple of days a week where you give the challenge a go. For instance, if you work at the office three days a week and adopt the challenge on these days by making small changes, namely, choosing to cycle instead of drive and bringing your own coffee along rather than buying from the local cafe. 

Similarly, you could choose you to have a no spend weekend. If you find yourself eating out or spending on entertainment, employing the no spend challenge over these two days can help you find alternative options that you may take into the future and decrease your spending.

If you have children check out our post on free online classes for kids, we’ve also included resources for clubs and activities.

No Spend Challenge Month

A no spend month may be difficult initially, but choosing the correct month can drive you to achieve your planned goal! Here are some ideas for you:

  • January no spend challenge – riding on the back of New Year’s resolutions, you’ll have extra motivation to complete this challenge. 
  • February no spend challenge – 28 or 29 days makes this the shortest month in the year, and after the January blues, this month flies by!
  • November no spend challenge – any money that you may have wanted to spend, stick it into a saving pot and use it to purchase Christmas presents.
  • The month before your holiday – everyone enjoys treating themselves on holiday! Being frugal in the lead-up to your holiday is a conscious decision to offset your spending habits when you’re away from your typical environment.

How can I go a month without spending money?

Thorough preparation can get you through a month without spending. I would recommend building up your no spend periods and learning from what works well and what doesn’t. 

If you find yourself struggling, you may need distractions that won’t cost you anything. They might even make you money! Some no spend challenge ideas for distraction include:

  • Having a big declutter and selling items on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.
  • Doing those chores that you always put on the back burner.
  • Satisfy your itch to shop and become a mystery shopper. Any purchases you make are reimbursed as part of your task.
  • Starting a blog – you could document your success.
  • Birthdays can be difficult during the challenge, have a look at our birthday freebies post to see if there is anything for you!

This article follows an honest account of a no spend month; the highs and lows, creative ways of saving money, and the final result of saving almost £300. 

How can I save money every week?

You can save money every week by implementing no spend challenge days and making simple changes to your spending. Whether this is saving money on food, making the most of your budget by living a frugal lifestyle, or recognising flash decisions that lead to impulse buys!

In conclusion, there is no right or wrong way to execute the no spend challenge. It can be entirely personalised to suit your needs and reach your goal – this could be simply stopping surplus spending or saving up for something nice! You will benefit from saving some money whilst experiencing an eye-opener on your spending attitudes.

Have you ever committed to a no spend challenge? How successful were you? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below!

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