No-spend months are an excellent way to become more mindful of your spending habits, save money within a short time, and quickly reset your financial habits. We’ve already looked at what a no-spend month is on the blog, but now we are going to look at 15 easy tips that will help you succeed at your next no-spend month challenge.
Setting Clear Goals
To be successful in your no-spend month, you need to have clearly defined goals. Whether you want to break a habit, like impulse spending, pay a specific amount towards a debt, or save up a set amount of money, giving yourself a clearly defined goal you can work towards will help you stay motivated throughout the month.
Set A Budget
Setting up a realistic budget for necessities will help you pinpoint areas where you can easily reduce your spending.
Knowing what you’re spending in each area – by tracking your expenses – will help you set up that realistic budget.
Once you’ve identified the areas you can reduce your spending, reaching your financial goals will be even easier.
Shop Your Pantry
Before heading to the grocery store, take inventory of what you already have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. This will let you know what you have on hand, reducing duplicate and triplicate purchases.
This doesn’t just stop at your pantry. Use the same method to see what you have on hand first within your cupboards and closets before shopping. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told we’re out of toothpaste, only to find five others in the closet as I place the sixth next to them.
Whether you plan your meals a week, two weeks, or a month in advance, meal planning can help you complete a no-spend month successfully. After you’ve taken stock of what you have on hand, then create your meal plan around what you have on hand to minimize your grocery expenses.
When you plan out your meals and create a shopping list around what you already have at home, you reduce unnecessary trips to the store, duplicate purchases, impulse expenses, and food waste.
To me, using cash falls into the same category as cilantro. Yes, it’s a bit of a stretch comparison, but it’s true. You either like it, or you don’t. Many people do just fine cashless, and track their expenses within their specific categories, while others need the cash as a tangible means of keeping track.
Whichever method you choose, using a set amount of money for each of your variable expenses – like household purchases and food purchases – can help you instantly see how much is left before you go shopping, and can compel you to be more aware of what it is you are spending, and what you’re spending that money on.
You can track your no-spend month with a free printable available in my resource library!
Unsubscribe and Unfollow
By temporarily unsubscribing from promotional emails, and even unfollowing social media accounts that encourage you to spend, you can reduce your temptation from impulse purchases.
If you don’t want to unsubscribe entirely, consider putting a time limit on specific apps that cause you to impulse spend (like Amazon).
Avoid (Or Reduce) Online Shopping
As with the last tip, reducing the amount of time that you spend online shopping will help you meet your no-spend month goals.
If you use online shopping for grocery delivery, remove any saved payment information. That simple act of putting the payment information back in will cause you to stop and think about whether the entire purchase is truly necessary.
Another method is to use timers or website blockers to limit your access to popular online shopping platforms.
Cancel Any Unused Subscriptions
As you navigate how to spend no money for a month, you can take it as an opportunity to review your subscriptions, such as streaming services, subscription boxes, and any other recurring expenses. Consider pausing, or canceling entirely, any that aren’t essential during your no-spend month.
Find Free Local Activities
Look for free, or low-cost activities within your area. These can include local events like First Fridays, movies in the park, free concerts, art shows, and any cultural activities that don’t require spending.
Check Out Your Local Library Before Purchasing
If you enjoy reading, consider borrowing books from your local library first rather than buying them.
Even if reading isn’t your thing, your local library can be a treasure trove of materials! Ours also has DVDs, CDs as well as numerous board games that make for a free family fun night.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… and DIY
Rather than buying new items right away, consider repurposing something else to fit the purpose or even DIY projects for things that you need around the house.
This isn’t limited to one area. It can apply to cooking, home decor, clothing, as well as other essentials.
Learn A New Skill
Rather than spending money on entertainment, you can use the time to learn a new skill or hobby that doesn’t require a significant financial investment. Origami is always a favorite in this house, and we always have paper lying around!
Involve Family & Friends
If it’s at all possible, make sure to involve your family and friends in the challenge. Not only does it help you stay accountable, but it can provide a supportive environment that will encourage success.
By taking the time to appreciate what you already have, rather than focusing on what you don’t have, you are keeping yourself in a state of constant want. Reflecting on gratitude for what you do have will shift your mindset to one of abundance, and make the no-spend month go by faster, and make it much more enjoyable.
Honestly Reflect and Reevaluate
Throughout the month, make sure you regularly reflect on your progress. Identify any challenges you’ve had, along with successes. This cannot only make a no-spend month work in your favor but will also help you make lasting changes to your overall spending habits in the future.
Remember that the key to a successful no-spend month is through planning, discipline, reflection, and maintaining a positive mindset. Celebrate your accomplishments at the end of the month, and incorporate the lessons and habits you’ve learned into your regular financial routine.