If your spending is out of control and you find yourself unable to engage discipline when it comes to managing your money and saving money, a no spend challenge might be what you need.
The idea of a no-spend challenge sounds frightening but it doesn’t have to be an unpleasant process.
The key here is to start small but think of the bigger picture and what you’ll have achieved by the end of the no-spend challenge.
What is a No Spend Challenge?
A no-spend challenge is exactly what it sounds like. A period of time during which you do not spend any money in an effort to learn how to manage finances and become debt-free.
How long a no-spend challenge lasts depends on you. It could be for a day, a week, or a month (although I think a no-spend challenge longer than 2 weeks isn’t realistic).
If you’re thinking, how on earth is it possible to not spend money every day, this article will outline where and how to succeed with a daily no spend challenge. It’s not as difficult as it sounds.
Even though I’m debt-free, I still go on personal no spend challenges every now and then because I’m an evolving person.
My favorite is workweek challenges when it’s harder not to spend money when you’re with your business colleagues.
There are several no-spend articles out there, which somehow encourage you to still spend money even though you’re researching how to succeed at a no-spend challenge.
This isn’t what this article is about. By the end of this article, you will see exactly how it’s possible to engage in a no-spend challenge without spending any money.
10 Ways to Succeed at a No Spend Challenge
1. Choose a Time Frame for Your No Spend Challenge
This is the most important thing here. Don’t choose a time frame based on what others are doing. Choose a time frame based on your situation.
If you’re terrible with spending, you need to start small so you can train and discipline yourself to control your spending.
Start with 2 days at a time then increase the number of no spend days as you get used to the process.
2. Understand a No Spend Challenge Won’t Be Easy
This is going to be tough. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be a challenge.
You’ve become so used to reaching into your wallet and dropping the card for so many things without thinking that it will feel unnatural for quite some time.
Once you understand and accept it’s going to be difficult, you’ve overcome your first hurdle.
3. Take a No Spend Challenge One Day at a Time
Don’t get all overly inspired, ready to take on the whole year on your challenge. That’s unrealistic and unsustainable. Take it one day at a time. Focus on only that day and succeeding for the day.
Take stock at the end of the day and see where you are, then rinse and repeat the next day. Doing this will help you identify specific spending triggers and understand just how much money you used to waste every day.
4. Stock Up Before You Start a No Spend Challenge
Before you commence your challenge, stock up on the essentials such as fueling your car, bus passes, pet supplies, medication, and groceries so you don’t use those as an excuse to spend money while on the no spend challenge.
Stocking up is also not an excuse to overspend on other things. Create a grocery list that consists of essential things required to prepare meals at home for the duration of your challenge.
Additionally, pay the rent, electricity, water, and other essential bills for the week before you commence the no spend challenge.
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants,” Epictetus
5. Avoid Your Spending Triggers
Once you’ve identified your spending triggers, you need to actively avoid them. You will be surprised how the decision to not buy something suddenly awakens a demon in you that makes you want it more than you’ve ever wanted anything in your life.
For instance, if your spending trigger is coffee, actively avoid coffee shops. If your colleagues like having meetings in coffee shops suggest an alternative location.
If your spending trigger is VS, like mine used to be, avoid their stores and website and unsubscribe from anything that has to do with them.
6. Keep a Journal During a No Spend Challenge
Every time you feel like spending money on anything during the challenge, record what it is in a journal like this as well as the cost.
At the end of the week, collate the amount and use it to pay down a particular debt.
If you were able to find that money then you’re able to use it to pay down your debt. You may be shocked at the total amount by the time you get to the end of your no-spend challenge.
7. Participate in Free Activities
If you like to live a very active lifestyle, a no-spend challenge might sound insane to you and I agree, which is why you should find free activities instead.
Hit up your local community center or library for free events to participate in or volunteer your time for community and charity initiatives.
Check Facebook and/or Yelp for a bunch of free activities across all walks of life.
8. Don’t Stop Once You Succeed
Don’t think because you succeeded at a no-spend challenge for a few days, you are suddenly some kind of financial guru. You are far from that.
The purpose of a no-spend challenge is to learn how to identify your spending triggers and control your impulse to waste money without thinking about it.
When you succeed once, try to go on a no-spend challenge at least one week every month. Eventually, it will become a habit that will go a long way in helping you pay off debt. Your bank account will thank you for it in the long run.
9. Forgive Yourself If You Fail
No one is a perfect infallible human being. We all fail. If you fail, forgive yourself and start again. Don’t use it as an excuse to convince yourself you suck at a no-spend challenge and bail on it.
When you bail on yourself, the only person you’re letting down is you. You’ve failed? Ok. Rise and do it again.
10. Consider Including it in Your Vision Board
If you created a vision board for the year, it may be a good idea to include intermittent no spend challenges as one of your goals.
When you’re confronted with it daily, you will feel compelled to follow through on the financial goals you’ve set for yourself.
[Tweet “”An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” Benjamin Franklin”]
When it comes to a no-spend challenge, do not think of it as an act of deprivation. The main focus should be on learning to control your impulse spending and training yourself to turn a blind eye to your spending triggers.
This is a skill that will eventually help you learn the best places to spend money, how to distribute your money to the right channels and how to get out of debt faster.
If you have a family, it’s a great idea to also involve them in the no spend challenge. Explain why it’s necessary as well as the importance of the no-spend challenge and encourage them to participate. I think young kids will find this particularly exciting.
Are you convinced yet? Get started on your own no spend challenge today and hit me up in the comments section if you have any questions. #nospendchallenge #motivateyourself
Anna gave up her 9 – 5 to implement her life plan after paying off over $40,000 in debt. She started The Writer Entrepreneur to share her journey and encourage other people to pay off debt and pursue their life plans. She has been featured on HuffPost, YouQueen & Fitnancials among others. Learn more about Anna HERE.
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