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Let’s be honest for a moment. Have you told yourself month after month that you are going to be better at managing your finances this time around? Been there, done that and have a ton of debt to prove it. It happens to the best of us, so do not worry. You can always try again with your next paycheck.
Every month, I set a goal to reach X amount of “No Spend Days” and I am always asked how that is possible, so I have provided eight tips below to help me, and you, crush a no-spend challenge month after month!
Establish the rules
Before you can begin a #NoSpendChallenge, you must make a list of non-negotiables. I always exclude needs such as bills, groceries, and gas and my personal monthly allowance. Check ahead to be sure to include any one-time expenses for the month. Not properly planning can deter you from reaching your goal. If you have a certain line item to your budget, you can exclude that as well.
Not properly planning can deter you from reaching your goal.
Set a goal
Determine why you want to do a no-spend challenge and what you wish to accomplish. Whether you are trying to increase your save or pay off debt, you that as motivation to keep going. If you are new to this, set a realistic goal. I started out with a goal of 10 days and then moved to 15, and now I am at 20. Keep working at that goal until you have accomplished it for a few months and then slowly increase it.
Separate your wants from your needs
Needs are defined as what you need in order to survive such as:
- Medical Expenses
Wants are defined as things you can live without such as:
- Beauty services
- Clearance shopping
- Dining Out
You can define the lists as you wish and according to your budget. There is no right or wrong answer here. In the end, this is your challenge. You’re setting the rules.
Remove any temptations
Unsubscribe from email lists so that you are not tempted by sales. I also avoid stores as much as possible. If I do need to make a #TargetRun, I go in with a list and never grab a basket. That way I am not tempted to pick up extras.
Set a small allowance
If you do not normally include a personal allowance a part of your monthly budget, this is the perfect time to add one. Giving yourself an allowance will help cover those expenses that may pop up.
Just because you are trying to limit how often you are spending money that does not mean you cannot have fun. You can raid your pantry and try out a new recipe or pack your lunch for a picnic in the park. I am sure there are many free activities in your city such as parks, museums, and concerts. You can also use this time to catch up on rest or to tackle that at-home project you have put off.
Just because you are trying to limit how often you are spending money that does not mean you cannot have fun.
Make a “future purchase” list
Every time you are tempted to make a purchase, think about your end goal whether that is to get out of debt or to increase your savings. Jot down what you are tempted by in the Notes app on your phone or in your planner. When you have met your no spend goal for the month, reflect back on the list to see if you still need the item. If so, see if there’s a way to fit it in your budget or save up for it.
Find a way to make extra cash
How awesome would it be to make some extra money this month rather than spend your unnecessarily? Utilize cashback apps such as Ibotta or Ebates or clean out your closet and list any items you are no longer wearing or Mercari or Facebook Marketplace. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Note: Once the challenge is over, do not spend all the money you have saved. You worked so hard. Use this as motivation to help you continue to develop healthy money habits.
Most purchases are made subconsciously or without thought. Participating in a #NoSpendChallenge helped me trim unnecessary monthly expenses, curve my impulsive spending habits, and learn what my spending triggers were. Now, I have developed intentional spending habits and have learned to spend money with a purpose instead of when I am bored or emotional.