If you are looking to improve your finances fast, a no-spend challenge is a great way to start. Here's how to get through a month without spending money on non-essentials.
No spend challenges are becoming a popular trend for those looking to save money and/or get out of debt. A no spend challenge involves spending no money for a whole month, except on necessities like bills and groceries. Not only will this challenge curb your spending, but it will also allow you to see how much money you may be throwing away from month to month on incidental expenses.
How to Do a Month Long No-Spend Challenge
1. Plan ahead.
Before your no-spend month arrives, you want to make a plan of attack. This will help you navigate spending during the no-spend month and ensure you come out a winner.
Take a look at the month in which you are planning your no-spend challenge. Note any upcoming expenses so that you can plan for most of the purchases and fees you will need to make during the month. Review your bills as well, and note any that will increase or decrease during the month in question.
2. Stick to your budget.
It is vital that you stick to your budget in order to be successful during the no-spend month. The plans you make for the month need to be put into the budget so that you know how much money to set aside for the expenses as they come. For example, if you know you’ll be out of town one weekend, allowing for meals and gas do not affect your no-spend month.
3. Avoid temptations.
If you know you’ll be tempted to spend money during the month, do your best to stay away from situations that may push you over the edge. This includes friends that may hit you up for a coffee date or pedicure. It’s not that you won’t ever be able to do these things again; you just need to prevent them from ruining your no-spend month.
4. Find workarounds.
Your no-spend month challenge may become easier if you find ways to substitute your unnecessary expenses for activities that fit in your budget. For example, buy Starbucks brand coffee to brew at home rather than stopping through the drive-thru 2-3 times per week. Plan at-home date nights to spend time with your family or loved one rather than going out.
5. Take notes.
This may not help you complete your first no-spend month, but it will aid you in future challenges. A financial journal is a great way to really see how, where, when, and why you are spending money frivolously. Keeping receipts can also be helpful in planning future month challenges, as you can see where you should work to cut back more on your spending.
As you can see, challenging yourself to a no-spend month can be a daunting process – but it shouldn’t be! Instead, think of it as a fun, educational opportunity to learn more about your spending habits and how you can curb expenses and unnecessary purchases. Following these tips will make your money saving efforts easier in the long run.