Everything you need to know to be successful with a no spend challenge

Save more money by doing your own no-spend challenge. These are some of the best ideas that will help you stop wasting money and keep more of it!

Don’t you just love a good challenge? It makes even the most boring things feel more fun! They remind me of times when my mom used to tell me, “I bet you can’t put your toys away faster than me!” Then, we’d race and it became a challenge to beat my mom at picking everything up.

Yeah, I’d say she won as a mom. 😉

When it comes to our finances, sometimes a little challenge is all we need to really nail those goals.

The no-spend challenge is incredibly fun and it works to help you get your spending habits under control. I think the best part about it is that it doesn’t feel like a chore or like another “adult” responsibility.

Learn To Do A No-Spend Challenge Yourself

In this guide, I’ll show you what a no spend challenge is and give you some no-fail ways to do them in your home. If you have never heard of a no-spend challenge, I’ll explain what it is and how to do it (so you can save more money!).

Basically, this is going to be the best thing you ever did for yourself, your family, and your budget. The entire process is so eye-opening. As you prepare for it and go through with the challenge, you’ll learn where you spend most of your money and how to curtail some of those impulses too.

What Is A No-Spend Challenge

Before we get into learning how to do it, let’s look at what this challenge even is.

This type of challenge is pretty basic, but you can make it as challenging (and fun) as you want.

A no-spend challenge is where you go for a set period of time without spending any money.

That’s the most basic definition. How you put it into practice is up to you. As I’ll show you in a bit, some people choose to have a few allowances (like gas and groceries).

Think of it as fasting, but with your spending habits instead of your eating habits.

Why Do A Money Challenge Like This

Taking a break from spending money has lots of benefits. Just like when you fast from food, you discover all the bad eating habits you had when you stop spending money. You’ll also find out more about yourself and your money.

Obviously, going a period of time without spending money will help you save more. You’ll have more money to use towards paying off your debts or saving up for a vacation or a new car.

Doing this challenge will also help you see how you view spending.

  • Are you impulsive?
  • Do you tend to want to spend money on things that are unnecessary?

Learning about these habits will help you change them after the challenge is finished.

How to have a no spend challenge

How To Do A No-Spend Challenge

Now that you know what it is and why it’s so important, I’m going to show you how to actually do a no-spend challenge all on your own.

Let’s look at it closely!

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments. I want this to be the only no spend challenge guide you ever need!

No-Spend Days vs. No-Spend Months

How long you do your no spend challenge is completely up to you. You can start out small and build up to a longer time frame or you can attempt to do a month-long challenge right away.

Talk it out with your spouse/partner and decide together how long you want your challenge to be. Here are the most popular lengths of time people do these for.

  • Weekend: This is a fantastic place to start. Even going a few days without spending money will show you a lot about your habits.
  • 1 Week: If you try to go an entire week without spending extra money, you’ll really discover more about your daily habits and what you enjoy buying the most.
  • 1 Month: This will take the most discipline and planning. In the end, you’ll save even more money if you do it for this long. In fact, this could be a way to establish life-long changes to your financial behavior.

What To Cut

The next step is to establish your rules for the challenge. The goal is to go without buying things that are not needs. Here are some dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind.

Allowed

Here’s what most people allow themselves to spend. These are typically things that you and your family need to survive.

  • Gas
  • Food for meals
  • Bills (electricity, mortgage/rent, etc)
  • Internet/Phone

Not Allowed

What you stop paying for includes anything that you can live without. Here are a few ideas.

  • Eating out
  • New clothes
  • Online shopping
  • Entertainment
  • Hair or nail services

Understand Your Motivation

You’ll be so much more successful and less likely to quit when you know why you are doing it. If you just want to try it and see where your money is going, try a shorter challenge.

The longer ones (like a week or even a month) require a deeper motivation. The way to find this is by asking “why” at least 5 times.

Here’s how that looks:

  1. Why do you want to do the challenge? (To save more money)
  2. Why do you want to save more money? (To pay off debt)
  3. Why do you want to pay off the debt? (Because we want to keep more of our own money)
  4. Why do you want to keep more of your own money? (Because we want to have money to spend on things as a family)
  5. Why do you want to spend money on things together as a family? (Because we value time and money together as a family)

That’s your why! You are doing this because you value your time and money as a family.

After you figure out your “why,” write it down and post it somewhere you’ll see it (like the refrigerator or bulletin board).

How to have a no spend challenge

Prepare Ahead of Time

Preparation is a very important part of the challenge. Write the start date in your life planner. I suggest you make it at least a week or two after you have time to prep for it. A few things you’ll need to do ahead of time include:

  • Stock up on groceries and snacks so you don’t eat out
  • Plan free activities you can do as a family
  • Think about how to respond to events that come up during your challenge

Communicate With Your Family

After you set the rules and do your prep work, have a meeting with everyone in your house. Tell them what you are doing and tell them why. This is a fantastic learning opportunity for your kids too.

Talking to your kids will help them understand not to ask for extra things during this time period. It will also help them understand what’s going on.

If you want, you can also tell your close friends and extended family too. This could mitigate any extra invitations to parties or going out that might happen during the challenge.

Avoid Temptation

While you do the challenge, set yourself up for success by avoiding your temptation. If you notice yourself wanting to click ads on social media, limit your social media time. Avoid browsing shopping websites and hide your credit cards.

Do whatever you need to do in order to be the most successful during the challenge.

Decide Where The Unspent Money Will Go

The best thing you can do at the start of your challenge is to decide ahead of time where the money you save is going to go.

Don’t just stop spending for a week and then splurge at the end. Instead, put all the money you saved into a pre-determined place. These are the most popular ideas people use:

Have a No-Spend challenge and use the money you earn to save for vacation

Earn Money During The Challenge

Another way to succeed is to actually focus your energy on earning money instead of spending it. Plan a yard sale during this time period. It’s a fantastic way to clear out unused items and build up your savings account too.

You can also sell some of these things online or spend the time you would be going out to babysit, dog sit, or dog walk. Then, take the money you earned and add it to your end goal.

No-Spend Challenge: Final Thoughts

There you have it! That’s everything you need to know about how to prepare for and succeed at your very own no-spend challenge. Take this opportunity to make a lifestyle change that sticks. After you finish the challenge, evaluate how it went.

  • How did you feel?
  • What did you discover about your impulses and habits?
  • What are some things you can change that will help you live on less?

Take all these lessons and make some lasting changes. You and your family are going to love it!