I follow a strict no spend Sundays. It helps me to reset for the coming week and keep my dopamine drip for spending under control. Also if I am over my budgeting cash for the month, I stop spending money, even if it’s just a few days to the end. It helps my mindset and happiness to know that I am living within my means.
In a world that encourages consumerism, it is easy to get sucked into all the ads, find things you didn’t know you need and spend money on them. However, when you overspend, you derail your efforts of ever meeting your financial goals.
If you have ever felt the need to get your spending habits under control, you might want to consider doing a spending freeze challenge. No spend days are a set period of time where you do not spend any money. A no spend challenge is a great way to reset your spending habits and save more each month. It helps you to take a step back, reevaluate your financial goals and reset and take accountability on how you will spend money.
The thing about challenges is that they can be excruciating and extreme especially if you have never done them before. This, however, will depend on your lifestyle and the rules you want to make for yourself.
If you do not know how to do a no spend challenge, these tips will smooth out the journey for you and help you last longer in the game.
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How to Do a No Spend Challenge For 2023
Here are 7 tips to help you during your no spend challenge.
1. Know why you are doing a no spend challenge
Why are you taking this financial fast? What are your goals? What do you want to do with all this money? Having a goal is the driving force that you need to push through a no spend challenge. Just the same way your ultimate goal for exercising and being consistent at the gym is to get fit, you need to have reasons why you are taking this financial cleanse. Aside from challenging yourself, do you want to gain financial confidence? Perhaps you may want to reset your spending habits or finally put more money in your savings or investment account. Whatever the reason, write them down. This will help you maintain focus and keep challenging yourself.
2. Plan your no spend challenge period
The first step towards starting a no spend challenge is to choose the right time to begin. Decide when you want to have the no spend challenge. As a rule of thumb, avoid setting this period around the holiday season, your birthday celebrations, vacation time, or any special event. A no spend challenge can be for a day, a week, the weekend, or a month. Next, you need to create a list of you non negotiable expenses like rent as well as essentials like groceries. Once you have done this, create rules that you are going to follow during this no spend challenge period. For example, you can decide not to stock up and only buy food items when you need them. You can also have a budget and list items that you will and won’t spend your money on during the no spend challenge week or month.
3. Reduce temptations
Distractions are everywhere. If you are doing a no spend challenge, you may fall into temptations that may influence you to randomly spend your money. You need to set up obstacles for these temptations. For example, you can start by unsubscribing from promotional emails and unfollowing those pages on social media which are essentially shopping traps. Leave your credit card at home and restrain yourself from taking advantage of sales. Also, do not hang out in malls, pubs or restaurants that may have you spending your money. If possible, take some time off friends. If you delay gratification and focus on the end goal, you will be happier that you got through a challenge and your financial life will improve.
4. Have an accountability partner
In as much as you want to do a secret challenge, it is important to tell your friends and family about your no spend challenge. This is especially true if you constantly decline invites to brunch dates or hang outs at your favourite clubs. Remember, you do not want to risk ruining your relationship with your friends for not showing up, one too many times. Make adjustments and tell them why you are doing what you are doing. For example, if your friends ask you out, invite them over instead. You can also plan a potluck party where everyone gets to bring something and share the burden of expenses.
5. Track your progress
It is important to check in to find out where you are and how far you are going. It keeps you focused on the future. For starters, you can install a no spend challenge app tracker on your phone. If you want to do it the traditional way, you can use a calendar and print it out. For every day you have completed, tick it off. Note down how much you have saved so far and don’t forget to keep on monitoring your progress. You will feel motivated to follow through once you have seen how much you have accomplished in a set period of time.
6. Plan fun free activities
You don’t have to be bored when you don’t spend money. Planning a no spend challenge does not mean that you stay cooped up indoors for fear of any temptation to spend outside the confines of your home. The internet can still suck you into dialling in deliveries. The main idea of a no spend challenge is to take your mind off money spending activities. To do this, plan activities that are free and fun. For example, you can decide to take a walk in the park or look out for free movie or music concert tickets. This takes your mind off the challenge and eases any pressure you may have had.
7. Go easy on yourself
No one’s perfect. And when you take on a challenge, you come to terms with this truth. Ask anyone who’s just started working out and wants to commit for, say, 3 months. It is easy to fall off. That’s why it is important that when you start a no spend challenge, you set small realistic goals that you can achieve. Avoid going full beast mode if you know you are only going to end up tired and give up. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a free pass. Take breaks and even break some rules. If possible, reward yourself once you believe you have reached an unattainable level to you. You can always start over again when you are more positive about this challenge than when you see it as work.
There are many surprising benefits of doing a no spend challenge. For starters, if you have any debts, you can finally save more. If you have any debts, you can start clearing them off. A no spend challenge will also help you build an emergency fund, a travel fund etc. and keep you from living paycheck to paycheck. This sets you closer to achieving your financial goals.
The best time to start a no spend challenge is usually at the beginning of the year, when you are starting things on a clean slate and you want to build momentum.
However, at any given point you finally have that breaking point in your spending habits, that’s when you need to plan for a no spend challenge.
If doing no spend challenge sounds nearly impossible for you, remember, you do not have to go full beast mode. You can incorporate a low spend challenge where you cut way back on non-essentials that may burn a hole in your pockets.
This new year is about reining in our bad financial habits and finally getting our finances in check. Hopefully with these tips, we can finally move a step closer towards achieving our 2023 saving goals.