Are you looking to “tidy-up” your finances and get realigned with your money goals?
Whether you’re looking to save more, work towards getting out of debt or simply want to kick the habit of impulsive spending – a “no buy” month can do wonders for your bank account!
What Is a No-Spend Month?
While there are a variety of ways to approach this task based on your individual lifestyle and goals, a no-spend month is essentially where you challenge yourself not to spend any money for 30 days.
This doesn’t mean you’re not spending any money at all. You’ll still need to eat, pay your bills, rent and survive. You focus your money solely on purchasing essentials.
The main purpose of this challenge is to become more mindful of your spending habits and focus on things that really matter.
According to Mom Money Map, a no-spend challenge can also help you realize that you might be buying things because you think you’ll get happiness from them. But that happiness is short-lived or not actually true happiness.
How To Do A No-Spend Challenge
Determine Your Goal
A no-spend challenge can be hard, it’s called a challenge for a reason! This is especially true if you’re in the habit of over-spending, impulse buying or filling your time with paid activities and online shopping.
Having your “why” in mind for the month is going to keep you going when things get tough. Write it down and have it on hand when you find yourself slipping into thoughts of all of the things you could be buying.
Do an Audit
Have a look through your current spending habits. Going through your bank statements and reflecting on where your money is going can be an eye-opener.
I didn’t realize where my money was going – and how much of it was being drained by simple things like my to-go coffee every morning.
You’ll even find “money holes” where you’re spending on something you don’t even use, completely wasting it altogether. Perhaps there’s a subscription you’re still paying for or a membership you no longer use. This is a great time to clear it all up!
Here are some additional tips for managing your money.
Have a Plan
This is where you set your rules for the duration of the month. Where you determine what you can and can’t spend money on by categorizing your wants versus your needs.
The rules usually involve being allowed to spend money on essentials:
- Any bills, medicines, etc.
They also include items you’ll remove from your spending list:
- Recreational Shopping (clothes, gadgets, home decor)
- Eating Out
- Makeup, Beauty, Nails
- Anything that isn’t needed!
You’ll need to decide how far you want to go with this challenge – if your groceries usually include items like candy and microwave meals that aren’t a “need”, think if you’re still going to allow them.
Plan an at-home activity rather than going out or visiting the mall. Invite your friends over for a home cooked or potluck meal when you can’t avoid spending extra cash at a restaurant. Hide your credit cards if you have to!
Plan ahead for situations that you know are where your weakness lie.
Take stock of what you already have access to. Feeling like a delicious desert from your favorite bakery? Why not scour your pantry instead and bake something! Finding yourself wanting to purchase a new home decor piece? Try to upcycle or redecorate what you already have in your home.
You can also spend your time tackling the list of things around your house you’ve been meaning to get to with all of the extra time on your hands.
Clean out your drawers – you might even find a gift card or some extra hidden cash to use for a treat! Have a garage sale and sell unwanted items that are causing clutter in your home.
Find free things to do like hosting an at-home movie night or getting outdoors with your family. You get to choose how to mindfully spend your time, without the distractions of thinking what to buy next to fill a void.
Here a list of 50 free things to do on a no-spend weekend from Debt Free Forties if you’re looking for more ideas.
Keep Track of Your Savings
Once you mindfully start spending less, this extra cash is going to accumulate. Have a look at your bank account weekly to see the results and fruits of your labor. This is bound to keep you motivated!