How I survived a no spend month challenge.
What the hell is a no spend month?!
That’s the question that I get asked all the time.
It’s a financial diet, financial freeze, financial detox, anything that restricts the amount of money you spend. Basically, it's no spending on your “wants” and you can only buy your “needs”. For example, during your no spend month, buying that cute purse is a NO, but purchasing detergent, dishwashing liquid, or gas is a YES. You can spend money on your needs.
When should you start this no spend month? Honestly, whenever you want. I started mine at the beginning of June. I planned ahead by setting my own rules and financial goals for the month. Now, you don’t have to do the challenge for a month, I just chose to do mine for this time period. I’ve read stories of people going for as long as 3 months or as little as 2 weeks, or a full year. It's really up to you. One month worked for me.
So, how do you come up with the rules? The rules are personal and depend on the financial goals you want to achieve by the end of the challenge.
You also want to plan all of your meals ahead of time. While on the challenge, I learned to plan my meals and shop for the month. I also learned how to preserve my vegetables and fruits so they last longer. If you don't own a cookbook or have recipes, try searching the internet. Pinterest is my favorite website. No matter if you are vegetarian, vegan, or a carnivore, Pinterest has it all. I simply print and put it in a binder full of recipes I collected.
Tip #1 Tell everyone
I learned if you tell people you are on a spending freeze for a month, they end up being very generous or respecting your decision. Let your friends and family know ahead of time, so they won't call you to have brunch with them or go shopping. We want to avoid any temptation.
Plan your week, days, and activities also for you and your family.
It’s easy, try looking for free things to do like family gatherings, picnics in the park, museums, or free concerts. There are plenty of things to do for free, you just have to look for them.
My boyfriend and I went to the park, some free events, and ate all of our meals at home.
While doing the challenge you will learn so many new things you could've been doing all along. You'll also have a clear view of how much money you have thrown down the drain each day in the past and how much you are able to save if you budget differently or budgeted at all. I saved so much more money during this challenge and wish I would've started sooner.
Check that box!
Start keeping track of your daily accomplishments. I simply used a printed calendar with my notes and rules to keep track of and review my daily accomplishments. Find a free printable calendar and mark off the days you completed. Trust me it will feel awesome!.
Last but not least, try not to be hard on yourself. Nobody is perfect. If you fall off one day. Pick right back up where you left off and try again. We are all human and make mistakes, the most important part is whether you will quit or keep going.
If you've done a no-spend challenge, I would love to hear about it and get some pointers.
What are some of the challenges you’ve come across? What are some of the free things you did? Leave a comment below.