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What would you do with an extra $500 at the end of the month?
Well, that is exactly what you are going to learn today. Those are the results you can expect from a no spend challenge.
But, first…let’s talk about the elephant in the room. This is the big one that is holding you back from achieving your money goals…
You don’t know exactly where you money goes and at the end of the month there is never enough. You want to have money left after bills. But, some impulse spending happened. You don’t have enough income. And then, there is that overwhelming debt.
That is a lot of stress on your shoulders and a tough spot to be in.
As an example, our first no spending challenge changed our finances. Consequently, it holds enough power to change your finances too.
That is if you are willing to participate in a no spend challenge.
You will have to keep yourself accountable. Maybe you can join our tribe for some accountability.
Going back to my earlier question.. what would you do with extra money at the end of the month?
If you truly want to learn the answer, then a no spend challenge is exactly what you need.
A no spend challenge can be a game changer for your finances. This no spend challenge guide will help you to be successful!
Are you so excited?
What is a No Spend Challenge?
First off, let’s be real… the sound of a no spend challenge sounds awful. Not spending money. Just miserable. Like going to the dentist for a root canal. Don’t we all want to spend money freely? I know I want to, but that isn’t our reality. Since we are in the same boat, let’s talk go into detail in this no spend challenge guide.
The definition of a no spend challenge…
You pledge not to spend money during a pre-determined amount of time.
This is a chance to force yourself to not spend money during a set amount of time. You don’t spend money. Period.
That is exactly the purpose of what is a no spend challenge. A forced timeframe not to spend money or have what is called no spend days.Okay, there are some no spend challenges rules that we will discuss shortly. Because things like your rent and insurance still have to be paid. And you need to eat, too. But, for now… let’s just focus on what happens when you don’t spend money during this no spend challenge.
No spending money = lots more money in your pocket.
That sounds amazing!
This is your chance to finally get ahead.
Time to slow down your spending (or maybe even overspending) and finally see what you can save.
Related Reading: The Vicious Cycle- Learn How to Stop Spending Money Now
Why A No Spend Challenge?
There are plenty of reasons for no spend challenge, which we will cover shortly.
But first, I want to know… why would a no spend challenge help your personal situation?
For us, personally, a no spend month changed how we spent money. It started because we were aggressively paying down our debt. (You can read our story on why here.) We realized that we were buying stuff that we really didn’t care about or truly need. It was a chance for us to see what we would have spent and what we ended up saving to pay off our debt.
At the end of the month, we realize that we could add an additional $500 a month to paying off our debt – just by changing our spending habits. That was the results of our first no spend challenge.
Oh, and the best part, we never went back to our old spending habits. Many of the spending just to spend money is gone and it is saved to our big expense fund. We still use our spending wish list for things we want. (that is a free printable in our resource library.)
What does no spend mean to you?
How could a no spend challenge transform your finances?
Results of a No Spend Challenge
Let’s look at some of the reasons for a no spend challenge.
1. Save Money
Obviously, this is the first reason.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Too many times, we are focused on the fact our income isn’t enough. But, I want to dispute that mentality and say you need to learn how to spend what you do have. Specifically, spend money were it matters the most to you.
By saving money, it opens up opportunities. Plus it takes the stress and worry away about the “what if” scenarios.
A little side note… here at Money Bliss, we stress the importance of saving money. So much so that saving happens in 7 of the 10 Money Bliss Steps to Financial Freedom. Yes, saving money is key!
The ability to save money is the key takeaway during your no spend month.
2. Spot Trouble Areas
Oh goodness! This is where the rubber meets the road. That point when you truly get a birds-eye perspective of how you would spent money. The blessing is that you didn’t spend the money during the no spend month.
You get to spot your trouble areas of how and when you spend money.
Overcoming your money obstacles is one of the best ways to get a grasp on your money situation. However, it is the hardest for us because we need to talk about emotions and things that are blocking or hampering how you relate to money. We go more in depth on this here.
Even if you last for a couple of days during your first no spend challenge, you will still benefit by learning the areas you struggle the most with.
3. Stop the Waste & Have Less Stuff
There are two things you will stop wasting. The first one is obviously you will stop wasting your money. The second is you will stop wasting the things you don’t use.
This is especially true when it comes to food.
There is so much food waste in society. Typically, the number one way to save money on groceries is by not wasting food. Would you willingly throw $200 in the trash each month? Probably not, but as a society we do it ALL THE TIME.
True honesty moment… is it easier to buy a new one rather than find the one that you have in your house?
A no spending challenge will keep you accountable. It will uncover your eyes to the waste and extra stuff crowding into your life and stealing your money and time.
Related Reading: 35 Ways You Wasted Money This Year
4. Build Habits
A new habit won’t happen in a day. Or two. Even a week. Even the old thinking of 21 days it outdated.
According to new research, it takes 66 days to build a new habit.
That is the amount of time needed for you to actually completely change your spending habits.
Now, I am not suggesting you need to hold a 66 day no spend challenge. If you want to, then that is great and go for it. We are talking about the habits you can build by paying attention to what happens on a no spend day.
During your no spend days, you are actively realizing how and when you want to spend money rather than passively spending money without any notice or regard.
It takes a pledge and commitment to build habits. So, start with a no spend challenge that works for you.
5. Improved Budgeting Skills
Learning to budget is hard.
There is no way to get around that one. Even on our site, we teach you How to Budget Money and Still Enjoy Life. But, it takes time and patience get to the budgeting concepts down.
This time spent in a no spend challenge will show you how much you actually need to spend on certain categories. Thus, making your budgeting process more accurate and much easier to maintain.
Finding a budget that works for you is crucial to long term success.
- 110+ Personal Budget Categories for a Fail-Proof Budget
- How to Make Living on a Budget Painless
- The Best Methods of Budgeting You Need to Know
Nothing like your pledge to a no spend challenge to keep you disciplined.
A no spend challenge will dare you to spend money many, many times.
This is your chance to stay strong and not give in to temptation. To remember your pledge of not spending money and saving money instead.
It will be difficult not to spend money for a certain amount of time. But, look at the discipline and habits you will create during that timeframe.
7. Learn What You Want
Saved the best reason for last. This will help you to uncover your why you do what you do each day with money.
You will uncover what truly matters to you and want doesn’t.
That is huge in this game of life and money.
During the course of your no spend challenge, you will decide what you want to spend money on. This will help you to prioritize what is important to you. This will help improve your budget and find extra money each and every month.
This is what I found out.
These are the results I have had and can’t wait to hear the examples from you.
Key Hint for Long Term Success: Understanding reason #7 will ultimately change your personal finances and how you look at life.
How Long for a No Spend Challenge?
Honestly, that is up to you.
Typically, most no spend challenges happen for 30 days or the month. That is the optimum amount of time to start seeing the difference in your finance. But, that doesn’t mean that is the only answer. You have options to fit your life.
Here we will lay out other options and you can decide what works the best.
No Spend Day
Exactly what it sounds like. This is one day that you actively decide not to spend any money.
These no spend days are great for someone who has completed a 30 day no spend challenge before. It allows them to quickly remember the difficulties they had to overcome and how much they were able to save.
It is the perfect mini challenge.
No Spend Weekend
This is a great starting point for anyone new to a no spend challenge. Plus a great way to enlist the family to save money!
It will be an eye opener to how many free activities are available and how conveniently we just browse and end up spending money in the process.
No Spend Week
This timeframe allows you to make quick wins on changing your habits. Some possibilities include picking up takeout, grabbing an expensive coffee, or having lunch / happy hour with friends. The $5-20 stuff that adds up daily and you don’t realize it equates to so much at the end of the week.
The downfall of the no spend week is it is only 7 days. It is really, really easy to put off buying something for a few days. So, you may be postponing your spending until the next week.
Thus, for true habit changes, you may need a no spend month.
No Spend Month
A 30 day no spend challenge is where the true magic happens.
This is where you will uncover your tendencies and how you spend money. This will show you your weaknesses and where your temptations are the greatest! You will have to use discipline to stay on track to your no spend challenge pledge.
Also, during a no spend month, you can add up how much you saved throughout the month. That number might be a huge surprise and help you to overcome any overspending issues.
During a no spend month, you will truly uncover your wants vs your needs.
No Spend Year
The extreme no spend challenge would be to not spend money for a full year. For some that may be doable. For us, we are in a busy season of life and that would be a huge struggle unless we allowed many categories (like home repairs). But, boy do I wish I did this when I was single and stupid with money.
There are so interesting books you can find on people who went through a no spend year.
Here are No Spend Year motivation books:
- The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders
- The Year without a Purchase: One Family’s Quest to Stop Shopping and Start Connecting by Scott Dannemiller
- The Spender’s Guide to Debt Free Living: How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get from Broke to Badass in Record Time by Anna Newell Jones
No Spend Challenge Rules
Okay, before you dig into a No Spend Challenge, let’s set out the rules.
These are the no spend challenge rules you must be willing to commit to in order to find success!
1. Commit to A Time Frame
This is the most important.
What timeframe could you have success with? As well as what timeframe would stretch your boundaries?
- No Spend Day
- No Spend Weekend
- 7 day or No Spend Week
- 30 day or No Spend Month
What about a no spend year?
Committing to your time frame is crucial.
2. Categories to Include
This is the hardest area to decide what is and what isn’t allowed during a no spend challenge.
Obviously, you will have to spend something on our basic needs – food, shelter, transportation and basic clothing. Here are some options:
These are the absolute basic needs:
- Housing Expenses (mortgage, rent, utilities, home repairs)
- Food – unless you want to minimize the amount you spend for a pantry challenge
- Basic clothing (ie: you have too many holes and not another pair left)
- Child care / tuition
- Fuel for car
- Debt payments
Eliminate Spending Categories:
These is everything in the WANT category:
- Take out / Happy Hour / Fast Food / Coffee
- Personal care – hair and salon services, massages
- Clothing wants to be stylish
- Cable or streaming services freeze
- Shopping for anything
- Lifestyle luxuries and fun
Even better, you can take a look at the full list of budgeting categories and decide what is allowed and what isn’t allowed.
There is no right or wrong answer. But, you need to commit to your no spend challenge, and in order to do that, you must decide what to spend and what not to spend.
3. Keep Track of Progress
Besides seeing extra money in your account, you need to track your progress.
Just like with a habit tracker, mark off each day you are successful in not spending money. That will show your progress as well as any hiccups along the way.
We are all human. So, if you are participating in a no spend month or year, there is likely to be something that may sneak onto your spending and break the no spend challenge. Be aware that may happen – just make sure it is something you have wanted for a really long time and waited for at least 24 hours to buy. And don’t let it derail your plans!
To make things easier, download our No Spend Challenge Tracker printable in our resource library.
Side Note… The end goal is to find success. So, include what you need to make sure you have success while still limiting the excess spending.
4. Find Accountability & Share Your Story
Let’s face it. You will be saying NO a lot. (Probably more than to a toddler likes to say the word no.)
So, you need to find a like-minded community to help you out. You can always join our Money Bliss Tribe, too!
Don’t be afraid to share your story and why you are participating in a no spend challenge.
When we paid off our debt, we hardly told anyone why we said no all the time. It was something we kept between ourselves. It didn’t bother us because we had each other for accountability. But, I have learned since…many other people were motivated by our story once they learned about it.
Don’t be like us. Share your story. Join our Facebook and share it there, too!
No Spend Challenge Printable
One of the keys for a successful no spend challenge is to track your progress.
You can do this in a number of different ways. You can use our free printable, a bullet journal, or even a daily habit tracker app. The options are endless. You just need to track your no spend days and how much you are saving.
However, for the highest motivation, use a no spend challenge tracker that you can visually see each and every day. So, for that reason I like paper and pens. (oh, and here are my favorite pens to use.)
To make things easier, we have a no spend worksheet available for you.
Don’t forget to keep track on the times you were tempted to spend money. Knowing the amount of money saved at the end of your no spend timeframe will be eye opening!
Ready for a No Spend Challenge?
Okay, that is pretty much an ultimate guide to a no spend challenge. Are you ready to take on a challenge?
Like everyone knows… I am constantly challenging people. My reasoning is simple… I want you to take actionable steps towards the things you desire in life. Plain and simple.
That means you must decide right now… how long of a no spend challenge will you do:
- No Spend Day
- No Spend Weekend
- 7 day or No Spend Week
- 30 Day or No Spend Month
- No Spend Year
The choice is yours. Comment below and we can help you stay accountable.
We have covered the reasons for a no spend challenge. What is your reasoning why for participating in one?
Each time, I participate in a no spend challenge it is for a different reason. But, it always centers around saving money.
You know the rules, so you can play the game fairly.
Don’t forget to download your no spend challenge printable from the resource library!