30-Day No Spend Challenge
If you’re looking for a fast way to save on expenses this month, reset your budget, stop out of control spending, or even just have a good ole’ challenge to do, a 30-day no spend challenge is for you!
We probably all wish we had more money, right? It can be really easy to lose sight of where your spending actually goes if you aren’t really strict about your budget. And when times are tough, like they might be for you right now, having a little extra money can really go a long way.
A no-spend challenge is a great way to make you aware of how much you actually spend in any given timeframe. It also comes with the added perk of putting more money in your pocket!
What is a 30-Day No Spend Challenge?
A no spend challenge is when you challenge yourself to not spend money on anything extra or unnecessary for a certain time period.
Some people do two weeks, others do an entire year! We think 30 days is just right to give you a good perspective on your own spending while also helping you save a nice amount of extra dough that you can then use however you want.
Of course, you can’t go without spending at all. You’ll still need to pay for things like essential groceries, bills, and gas. Necessities.
But if it isn’t a necessity, you don’t buy it. The concept is simple. The reward is pretty appealing. But the doing part – well it is a challenge, after all!
We’re laying the process out in 3 easy-to-follow steps to get you started on your challenge.
Step 1: Identify Your Goal
Having a goal makes any challenge easier. It gives you a why and a reason to keep going when it gets tough.
So, what is your goal of doing a 30-day no spend challenge? Is it to save extra money for a down payment on a new home? Is it to control your awful, out of control spending habits? Is it to help you get out of debt or raise your credit score? Maybe you just want to save for a mini vacation or even just do it to see if you can. Any goal is the right goal as long as it’s something you believe in.
Once you identify your goal, write it down somewhere so you can look at it when you need a little extra motivation.
Step 2: Create a Plan
Before you officially begin your challenge, do a little prep work to make it run as smoothly as possible. Begin by creating a list of your essential spending vs. non-essential.
If you have to, review your spending from the past few months to see where you’re currently putting your money. If you have medications to purchase each month or bills to pay, those are clearly essential. If you spent $50 at a beauty supply or sporting goods store last month … not so essential.
Creating a list ahead of time gives you something to refer to when faced with making a purchase during your challenge.
*Another big tip: Ask yourself “why?” before each purchase. If your answer is not because you need it to survive or prevent bills from being past due, really question whether you are just trying to buy something because you simply want it.
Step 3: Execute Your Plan and Prepare for Success
If, during step 2, you discovered you spend money on monthly memberships you don’t need, go ahead and end those now. You may also want to unsubscribe from any emails you get with product ads or updates to avoid temptation.
Preparing for success may also include telling friends and family about your plan so that they too can help you resist temptation. You don’t want to have to turn down requests to go out to dinner every weekend because no one knows what you’re doing. Make it easy on yourself and prepare people ahead of time.
And when you begin your challenge, it’s probably a good idea to avoid stores and online shopping. Temptation will only make success harder.
30-Day No Spend Challenge Cheat-Sheet
We’ve got a little cheat-sheet list of dos and don’ts to help you decide what should and shouldn’t be bought during a no spend challenge.
- Rent or mortgage
- Utility bills
- Insurance payments
- Internet and phone bills
- Essential personal care items
- Necessary cleaning products
- Eating out (fast food, restaurants, takeout, alcohol, coffee/tea)
- Unnecessary personal care items (clothes, shoes, makeup, perfume/cologne)
- Home décor and furnishings
- Hobbies and entertainment (books, movies, Netflix subscription)
- Lottery tickets
Keep Yourself Busy During Your 30-Day No Spend Challenge
The best way to pass the time without spending is to stay busy! Find things you love to do that don’t cost a thing and you’ll be able to stay on track with your challenge. To help out, we’re sharing a few ideas, all of which can be enjoyed with the whole family:
- Enjoy outdoors time at a park
- Go for a bike ride, walk, run, hike, or rollerblade
- Play your favorite video game or board game
- Put together a puzzle
- Read a book
- Try out a new recipe in the kitchen (using ingredients you have on hand)
- Look for free days at your local museums
- Visit friends or family
- Organize your house
- Visit the library
- Watch a movie
- Relax for a while
With a little prep work and a lot of dedication, you can tackle a 30-day no spend challenge! Just keep reminding yourself of that goal. If you succeed, consider doing it on the regular to see just how far you can take your saving. Maybe you’ll even be one of those people who make it to a whole year!
Community Currency Exchange Association of Illinois loves helping our clients save money, make their lives easier, and learn about financial education. Follow our blog for regular tips and advice.
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