Completing a no-spend month can do so much more for your finances than save a few dollars. It’s a great way to get your spending under control and discover what you truly value and enjoy spending money on.
What is a No-Spend Month?
A no-spend month is a commitment to not spend money on certain things for a predetermined length of time. I like to challenge myself to a full month, but you could do as little or as much as you’re comfortable with! These challenges are great ways to kick off a big savings goal or help pay off the last bit of a lingering debt. It’s also a great way to get your spending under control!
Of course, spending money isn’t inherently bad, but it’s important to understand what you’re spending it on, and if that money could be better saved (or spent) elsewhere.
Defining Your No-Spend Rules
Our definition of “no-spend” means not spending on anything unnecessary. When people learn about a no-spend challenge they’re quick to think of the big things such as “what do you eat?” and “are we still able to hang out?”
Here’s the thing: the rules are completely up to you. YOU decide what you don’t want to spend on. You’ll continue to pay your bills and the necessary expenses to live and get to work. There’s no need to cancel subscriptions or gym memberships if you use and enjoy them.
The true lessons come from your every day spending. Say no to the “I want it now” mentality (a good rule of thumb when making a purchase – especially a big one – is to allow yourself thirty days before buying. If you still want the item after thirty days, buy it. More often than not, you’ll find it was more of an impulse want than a true want!
How to Prepare
Set a Timeframe
How long do you want to challenge yourself? A week? A month? It can be as long or as short as you want: you decide. Once you’ve decided on a timeframe, it’s time for the next step: your why.
Identify Your “Why”
Why do you want to complete a no-spend month? Is it simply for the challenge, or is there a goal behind it? Identifying this goal and making a visual representation of it – such as an index card or poster – and placing it somewhere you’ll see it is a great way to keep you motivated.
Get Your Necessities
Depending on how long and to what extent you’d like to challenge yourself, you’ll need some essential items. For example, if you’re doing a no-spend month with no grocery shopping, make sure you prep freezer-friendly meals in advance. Be sure to check toiletries, cosmetics, pantry items, and if anything is running low, be sure to stock up so you aren’t tempted with extra shopping trips.
Decide Your Spending
Do you want to cut out particular items, or do you want to stop impulse buying?
Take a look at your purchases from the last year. Start by cutting out coffee, restaurants, and any other unnecessary expenses. This includes spending money to go out with friends!
Consider spending money only on groceries and gas. This is the most common way I do a no-spend month, and is a great place to start. If you really want to challenge yourself, consider doing a zero-spend week. Plan ahead and prep your freezer meals, and see if you can make it seven days without spending a penny.
I am committing to the no-spend challenge for the month of March, and I’m challenging you to do it with me!
Are you ready for the challenge? Download my free printable here: