First things first. What is a no spend challenge?
It is exactly what it says. It’s a challenge where you don’t spend any money for a specific amount of time.
Why would you want to do this?
It’s a great way to get your finances under control and really understand where your money is going and how much you really need to sustain a lifestyle that you want.
- Can you really survive not going to the movies for a weekend?
- Do you need to stop at the gas station for snacks?
- Soda is bad for you, so maybe buying 128 at once isn’t the best idea.
These are things you will find out when you restrict your level of spending.
There are no official rules or guidelines when it comes to no spend challenges.
However, no spend doesn’t mean you don’t pay your bills. Explaining to your landlord that you can’t pay rent because you’re participating in an online challenge is not the best route to take.
It’s all about resisting the urge to spend on things that you don’t need to spend on.
Set Your Own Rules
It’s important that you set your own rules so you understand the boundaries that you can work within.
For example, if you love fruits and vegetables, it can be pretty hard to get fresh ones that last a whole month. So maybe you allow yourself to buy some essential food items that spoil in a short period of time like milk.
What happens if you get sick and need to buy medicine? Is that okay? Anything is okay if you allow it to be but don’t become so flexible that everything you always buy falls under the safe category.
It’s a good idea to be very specific so you understand the challenge for yourself. Write down your rules so you can hold yourself accountable.
Stocked up on wine or beer before the challenge and find yourself in the middle of a 6-hour Netflix marathon craving ice cream?
Too bad. It doesn’t fall under your list of necessities.
Length of Time
There is no set amount of time to do a no-spend challenge.
Some people do them for a weekend while others do a whole month.
Obviously the longer the no-spend challenge, the more you need to plan.
Plan for Events and Activities
The idea of a no spend challenge isn’t that you sit at home doing nothing. Odds are you have something going on during the challenge so plan accordingly.
If you’re just doing a weekend no spend challenge then maybe you can just sit at home but if you’re doing a month-long no spend challenge something is happening in your life.
If you’ve already got Beyoncé concert tickets than what money will you need to spend there? Maybe parking.
It’s important to take note of these things so they don’t catch you by surprise and you end up not liking yourself.
Some people that do no spend challenges like to add a little loophole that if they earn any side money then that money is safe to spend.
For example, maybe you clean out your closet and sell off some clothes. That money is yours to spend.
This loophole actually works well as it starts to show you the art of side hustling.
Let Your World Know About Your No Spend Challenge
It’s important that you let your friends and family know that you are doing the challenge.
It’s similar to going on a diet. If you keep it to yourself then you might find that they put you in some tough situations that you don’t want to be in.
If you get your family involved then they might think you’re playing a prank on them so it’s important that they understand things.
Even better if you can get them to help make the rules.
Preparation for No Spend Challenge
Remember, this is a no spend challenge not a no eat challenge.What causes most people to fail on these challenges is that they don’t know how to plan their food.
You shouldn’t go to Costco and buy food like the world is about to end.
Instead, take inventory of what you already have in your house and how many meals you can make with that.
Then take the time to plan out the rest of your meals for however long the challenge is.
Meal-planning is not only an awesome way to make yourself more productive but it’s also a great way to save money.
Again, no spend doesn’t mean no fun.
You should plan for some activities ahead of time.
Many cities and towns have free activities happening on weekends and in the Spring or Summer might have a movie on the lawn type of thing.
You don’t want to sit around wondering what you can do one day. Instead, plan ahead so everyone knows that is exactly what you’re going to do.
The Mental Game
Once your loved ones (spouse, kids, pets) are taken care of then the last thing to do is make sure you are mentally prepared for this.
You go your whole adult life spending and then suddenly you challenge yourself to not spend at all.
It’s important to look at a no spend challenge as a chance for growth. It’s not torture or meant to deprive you of awesome experiences in life.
It won’t be easy but if done correctly it is well worth it.
The Extra Money
The final awesome question is what do you do with the extra money that you save?
This is really up to you.
You can put it towards knocking out debt, an emergency fund, or save up for a new Porsche.
You should make an intentional decision about it however instead of just admiring how much extra money you have leftover.
You can put it in one of your awesome family bank accounts to help save for a rainy day.
It can also be used to go towards creating an emergency fund for those times when you need extra money.
Know what you’re going to do with your money. Don’t let it decide for you.
Are you up for the challenge?
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