Have you ever had a no spend day or weekend? Ever told yourself that you wouldn’t touch those credit cards? If you haven’t and you’ve been struggling to save money and manage your spending, you should consider freezing your spending for a few days to reset your finances and generate some savings.
Once in awhile, my husband and I think about how to do a no spend day or even weekend. I will admit, it can be tough. We get into the habit of eating out on a weekend, typically either a big lunch or dinner and sometimes that spreads from just one “quick” night to suddenly all weekend. We like to see if we can challenge ourselves to have a no spend day or weekend.
While it sounds sort of easy…it’s actually pretty tough. So we started slow. Set a goal. My first goal was to not order Starbucks during the work week-this was hard as it was literally on the exit to the highway I take every morning! Instead, I took my coffee from home and made a quick, easy-to-hold-while-driving breakfast. Then we challenged each other to eat lunch out on only ONE day of the weekend. This goal was feasible. It made us more selective in where/what/when we ate and we were able to complete the challenge. We love a challenge and it was surprising how much we saved when we did it!
Incorporating a spending freeze into your schedule can be quite healthy for your finances especially when you feel overwhelmed with it all. One way to do this is by adding a no spend day or week into your monthly budget. Saving money this way can actually fun. My husband and I love a challenge, especially a competition, so it will be easy for you to try with your family too!
Are you ready for the challenge? Try some of these tips to help you get prepared and maximize the best results!
Always Be Prepared
In order for your no spend period to be successful, you must be prepared. A no spend period might actually include some spending on necessary items, such as gas or groceries so think about what is “extra” for you. The key is to eliminate any extra spending during this time frame…coffee, lunches, Target runs…
How Much you can do
Determine the length the no spend period will last – a day, weekend or even a week
If you are a beginner, I would start with a small goal. This leads to more success!
This could include a no spend day or weekend or my personal favorite, a no spend work-week.
I find it easiest for myself to save money during the work-week. For me breakfast is necessary and is always that one splurge. During this time, I pre-make my breakfast for the week and have them ready to go each morning. I always pack my lunch and enjoy the coffee my work provides.
After work, instead of stopping at the grocery store to grab a couple things, I’ll head home instead and eat the groceries I already have- try to clean out that fridge and pantry and get creative with recipes from Pinterest! (check out my article to save money by meal planning!)
If you are really looking to jumpstart your savings or pay off debt, you can really ramp up your spending freeze and challenge yourself to a no spend month…something I haven’t tried yet!! This is a great idea if you overspent the previous month and you are looking to get your finances back to normal.
How to save money if you can’t do a no spend day or week
Can’t do a no spend week right now? No problem. When holidays, birthdays and travel are coming up, it can be difficult to do a spending freeze and you don’t want to set yourself up for failure, so just start small and try one day.
If you need to spend money in certain areas of your budget, you can still reduce your costs and perhaps earn a little money back as well. One of the best ways to make any money from shopping is using Paribus. Paribus is an app that connects with your email/Amazon account. It scans your emails to find order confirmation that fights on your behalf for a refund when the item that you ordered on drops in price. This has also worked for me when I was supposed to get “prime” shipping in 2 days and the item came later. I have gotten refunds and Amazon Prime Membership passes!
Now you are committed, get creative!
If you’re able to carve out time to go on a spending freeze and are fully committed, that’s great! One of the hardest parts during the no spend challenge can be figuring out how to use what you have, especially if you have a family. This is where a bit of creativity can really pay off!
This can include:
- using up the remaining groceries in your pantry- make it a dinner challenge!
- downloading a podcast instead of renting a movie- there are tons of free ones on iTunes or Google Play
- borrowing a book or video from the library (many times you can do this online through your library’s website)- this is great for kids too!
- going on a walk with your family or friends instead of going to happy hour- repurposing this time to still be social but not while spending money.
- clean your house and find items to sell- there are tons of great ways to do this- Facebook, Swip-Swop etc.
- learn how to travel for cheap – or even do a volunteer trip where you get free lodging and food in exchange for volunteering!
- make your own coffee at home- on bag of gourmet coffee from your local grocery store can make your ‘feel’ like you are in your local coffee shop….and it lasts longer than your one-time visit.
- find local national parks/monuments to visit- many times, they can be free and can make for an interesting day!
Reassess your wants and needs
A no spend day or week or month can really help evaluate what you want or need. It is so easy to mindlessly spend money on coffee every day or overspend at the grocery store.
By saying no to everything for a set period of time, you can really get an eye opening experience on where you really value spending money and how you might have been wasting it this whole time.
Plus, you learn how to work with what you have. Instead of spending money all the time as a solution, you may find that you can fix something so you can use it again, DIY instead of hiring someone, or just simply do without and be content with that decision.
How to proceed after the no spend day or weekend ends
This is an important period. You don’t want to fall back into any bad spending habits or go on a shopping binge to make up for several days without spending anything.
This is a good time to look at how much money you saved during your no spend period as well.
What do you plan to do with your savings? Are you going to transfer it to your savings account or use the extra money to pay off some bills? Will you put it toward debt?
After you decide what you’re going to do, take action immediately and put the extra money toward a worthy cause.
Now you have a few ideas to get started, let me know in the comments how it worked for you! Did you save money?
Still looking to SAVE some extra money, check out 5 Bad Habits that are making your Broke, or if you are ready to MAKE some extra money, read this Blogging for Beginners Resource Guide. or check out My Blog Resources!
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