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If you’re looking to become more conscious of how you spend your money, a No Spend Challenge is a great way to help you do that! It helps you establish boundaries with how you spend money and helps you to realign yourself if you feel your spending is out of control.
If you have yet to hear about what a No Spend Challenge is or what it can do for you, keep reading!
We’re going to dive into what it is and how to successfully complete a No Spend Challenge for a month or any length of time you feel is necessary.
What is a No Spend Challenge?
A No Spend Challenge puts a freeze on unnecessary spending for a certain amount of time.
During this set time, you only spend money on true necessities and cut out everything else.
Before you start the challenge, you need to determine what to do with the money you save. You can do any of the following:
- Put it in savings
- Put it towards debt
- Pay off something
- Purchase something you’ve wanted for a long time
The intent of the No Spend Challenge is to realign your spending habits and gain control over your budget. There is no right or wrong with what you consider a necessity, unless you’re trying to purchase a $5 cup of coffee. That is a no-no.
How long does a No Spend Challenge last?
The time frame is up to you, but I do recommend a minimum of a month.
It takes about two weeks for your mind to really get on board with shifting mindsets about how you spend money. So anything less than a month time frame doesn’t really work well to realign your mind with your budget.
How does a No Spend Challenge work?
First, you decide your purpose for the No Spend Challenge.
Are you trying to save up for a major purchase, putting so much money into savings, or trying to shift your habits?
Second, decide how long you want the challenge to last.
Once these two things are decided, you need to determine when and what rules you’ll set for yourself [we’ll go over that next].
As I mentioned above, it takes a little while for your brain to catch up to what you’re trying to achieve, so know there will be some resistance at first. Prepare for that and have preventative measures put in place to help you stick to the challenge.
No Spend Challenge Rules
1 // Paying loans and utility bills are budget and challenge approved.
Loans, utility bills, and any other reoccurring payments that have to be paid are challenge approved! No one wants to lose their electricity during a No Spend Challenge, so be sure to pay it!
2 // Shop your pantry, then shop the grocery store [with a planned budget]
The fun thing about a No Spend Challenge is that you get to test your abilities to save money. Don’t go hungry, but shop your pantry and make all the meals possible [get creative] BEFORE shopping the grocery store.
You may find that your grocery bill gets cut in half and a lot less food goes to waste!
3 // Gas and Fuel are budget and challenge friendly.
Obviously you have places to go, like work or running errands. While this is challenge friendly, you want to combine all of the errands you need to run at the same time. This not only cuts down on how much gas/fuel you’ll use, but it also cuts down on the time you spend getting everything done.
4 // No eating out via fast food or restaurants.
Plan ahead, pack a lunch, and save some money! Fast food and restaurants are NOT necessary and shouldn’t be included within your budget during the No Spend Challenge
5 // No hobby shopping or retail therapy.
Stay away from the stores, online shopping, or any type of browsing that will tempt you to spend money on unnecessary things.
You’ll want to delete any saved credit card information and log out of these accounts. If necessary, have a friend or significant other change passwords to these accounts so that you cannot access them during this time.
Plan your time ahead with activities that are free and far more rewarding than a new pair of shoes.
What to expect with the No Spend Challenge
I know you’re excited to get started, but I want to cover a few key points to things you’ll experience during this challenge. These things are completely normal, and I’m sharing them with you so that you can prepare accordingly for when they might happen.
Don’t let this discourage you! Instead, let it empower you, because you have the tools to complete a successful No Spend Challenge before ever getting started!
1 // You may feel regret for taking the challenge
Often times in the first couple of weeks, you’ll feel resistant towards the challenge. You’ll wonder why you ever thought it was a good idea and may want to give up altogether.
This is your brain telling you that you are changing and it isn’t comfortable with that. Don’t listen to it and keep going!
2 // You’ll create pretty creative meals to avoid spending money
If you’re really serious about saving all of the money you can, you’ll come up with some pretty creative meals during this challenge.
Who knows, you may find a new favorite recipe that you would have never tried before this challenge.
3 // A slip up or two may occur
Life happens and you may have to spend money on something you didn’t plan. Give yourself grace!
When/if this happens, acknowledge it, evaluate why it happened, and how to prevent it moving forward. Don’t hide from it or be ashamed of a slip up.
How to make it through a No Spend Challenge
Finally, I want to leave you with a couple of tips so that you can conquer this No Spend Challenge like a champion!
1 // Have a list of FREE activities to do throughout the month
These can include going to the park or a local event. Look up all the things you can do in your area that are free, because I promise if you get bored, you’re going to rely on this list to keep you focused.
2 // Make it difficult to spend money
Again, delete credit card information from online accounts and have someone change passwords to these websites.
You may find that giving your credit cards, debit cards, and even cash to your significant other and only getting budgeted money from them is the best option.
The more difficult you make unnecessary spending, the less you’ll want to spend on these things.
3 // Know WHY this is important
Knowing WHY you’re doing this challenge at all is important to help you stick with it. The more important your WHY is, the less likely you are to have a slip up.
So are you doing it to put money into savings, realign your spending habits, or saving up for a big purchase?
Whatever the reason for the challenge, make sure it is a solid reason to help you stick with it.
When I got serious about completing No Spend Challenges and getting my budget in control, I didn’t do it on my own. I had help.
My help came from Your Sunny Money Method. It is a course designed to help you create a budget that fits your specific needs, which is my favorite thing about it!
Sami, the course instructor, was almost $500,000 in debt and has successfully became DEBT FREE! In this course, she teaches you everything you need to know to do the same!
Or if you already understand the value in investing in things that will help you multiply your efforts, check out the course here!
A No Spend Challenge is a great way to get yourself aligned with the things you want to achieve. I have completed many of them and have learned something new about myself each time.
I want to encourage you to do this many times and not consider it a one and done challenge, because it is that helpful.
If you’re looking for some budget tips and one of my previous challenge experiences, you’ll want to check out this post! It will definitely help you regardless if you do this challenge now or not.