No Spend Month
Take the Challenge Now and thank yourself later.
It has been said that it can take anywhere from 21 days to over 2 months to form a new habit. Quite frankly, that is true! Have you ever tried to change a habit? It can be difficult and frustrating, especially the first few times you try.
This however doesn’t stop us from taking on new challenges in attempt to change our habits. This month, it is a ‘No Spend Month’ challenge to save money and begin to make better financial decisions with your money.
Now, before you get started, take some time to reflect all the reasons why you are doing this. Besides just wanting to save some money, consider all the detailed reasons you need the extra cash. Are you saving up for a house? Are you trying to save for retirement or perhaps stop living paycheck to paycheck?
Truly consider writing down your specific goals for this challenge, including details and long term habits you want to create. While participating in this challenge, be sure to refer to this piece of paper to remind yourself when you are feeling down or defeated. Be an inspiration to yourself and keep marching on.
Let’s now begin to examine how to take a no spend month challenge (so you can thank yourself later).
- Write out exceptions
We get it, you can’t just not pay your bills. While it sounds tempting, you also don’t want to ruin your credit score during this challenge. We also don’t expect you to go hungry. Therefore, there will definitely be things you need to spend money on this month, but those are things you absolutely NEED to spend on.
Take a look at your recurring expenses and know those items will be paid for this month. Also consider any annual expenses that might have an anniversary date in this month. You can usually skip a month or two on those, so make sure you push those off during the challenge.Now, look at the things you have bought last month that were not absolutely necessary. Things like eating fast food, sipping on fancy coffee drinks, buying new shoes and pretty much purchasing anything from Amazon should be avoided during the challenge.
- Track Your Progress
It will come as no surprise that people who are successful in a no spend month challenge track their progress. This can sound meticulous, but it can definitely keep your progress right on track (just like tracking your food intake when you’re on a diet).
The best part is that of course someone already considered an app for that. Check out Dollar Bird to track your monthly expenses. You can even do this in months where you are not challenging yourself to spend less.
- Prep Your Pantry
As stated before, this month is not intended for you to starve, either. You can prep your pantry before you begin a no spend month. This means stocking up on essentials for your meals. It also means meal planning for most of the month.Obviously you will need to make a trip to the grocery store during your challenge month, but this also a great way to work on your budgeting skills. Consider giving yourself a set limit on your grocery bill and see if you can get your all your meals under that price.
- Research Free Stuff
During a no spend month challenge, you don’t have to sit at home or stare at the sky. There are plenty of things you can do with your spare time that are free. Consider searching for free museums, concerts, or even rent books for free from that place called the library.Also keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to stop eating out altogether. Many restaurants have special deals and offers, especially if it is your birthday month. Just look for the free stuff.
- Reach Out for Support
Going at this alone might be rough for you. Ask a friend, neighbor or spouse to join in or at least support you through this challenge. Asking someone to hold you accountable will improve your chances for success.
Don’t forget to search for support online too. There are communities of people who know exactly what you are going through and will help out. Consider checking out Facebook groups or other communities of like minded individuals.
To take the challenge of a no spend month can be both exhilarating and scary. It means being accountable to yourself and your finances. It can also mean gaining a new habit that makes your bank account a little more hefty. Don’t forget all the reasons you need to take this challenge and be sure to take all the precautions to set yourself up for ultimate success.