How to do a no-spend month challenge

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.

J.P. Morgan

January 2022 is finally upon us; I hope you had a great end of the year. I wish you had a good time surrounded by loved ones and that you are all ready to take over the new year!

With the new year comes new resolutions and new goals, for me anyway. 2021 has been very challenging financially because of the big life-altering purchases I made throughout the year. I see 2022 as the year that I will rebuild and straighten my finances on top of enjoying my life more.

And to help me do that, I thought it would be great to try a no-spend month challenge.

What is a no-spend month and its rules?

Simply put, it’s a month off your usual spending habits to try to save a substantial amount of money. Usually, you do this challenge in order to reach a future goal.

Before you even start, make a list of your spending separated into two categories: fixed and variable. Fixed includes anything essential such as a mortgage, rent, bills, insurance, transportation expense, healthcare… variable in everything else.

Some things you should remove from your spending habits, whether or not you’re doing the no-spend challenge, such as explained in this article.

There isn’t a set of rules to follow… to each is own. You can put stricter rules to save more money or be more lenient. I’m personally planning on cutting everything that is not essential to my survival and leaving an emergency fund just in case I find myself in a pickle.

Pros and cons for the no-spend month challenge.

PROS

  • Reaching a futur goals faster
  • Short-term commitment
  • Reset your finances
  • Learn about self-control

CONS

  • Having to control yourself alot
  • Focusing on the small picture
  • Binge purchasing prior or after the month
  • Guilt-tripping yourself

Tips for doing the no-spend month

  1. Choose your months accordingly. It depends on your own personal calendar. Try to avoid holidays, birthdays, and any other event that is financially consuming. I find that January is the perfect month to start the challenge because we went through Christmas and New Year, and it’s perfect to reset your finances.
  2. Create your own rules. You need to know where are your limits, and realistically my limits are different from yours. You can’t play with your “needs”, but anything in the realm of “wants” should be reduced or canceled. So no more outings that cost money or crazy long grocery lists with tons of useless items.
  3. Be accountable. I like to share with my friends and family that I am doing a no-spend month. They can be more careful around me and also ask me from time to time how I’m doing. It’s the perfect time to start hosting potluck dinners and home game nights instead of going to restaurants or paid events.
  4. Say bye to temptations. The first thing to do is to unsubscribe to all marketing emails. Stay away from shopping centers and their websites. If you know there is a place that you love to eat at, maybe try to avoid it. Remove the credit card information on your computer. Delete all the shopping apps you have on your phone.
  5. Why are you doing the no-spend month? Write it down on paper and stick it on something you look at every day. And read it every day. If you feel tempted to purchase something, go back to the note and read it over and over again. People ofter do the no-spend challenge because they need savings, whether for a wedding, a house, a child on the way, etc… Whatever your reasons are, write it doing and remind yourself of your goals.
  6. Be creative in your activities. We are used to certain activities, but I’m sure your city offers plenty of free events. Whatever you are used to, you could find a free alternative that isn’t too different. You could also use this time to explore new hobbies or new skills to work on.

Better Homes and Gardens have beautifully put in writing a way to successfully complete this no-spend month in this article. A few points have been mentioned in this post, but they have some other insights to take into consideration.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and let me know if it’s something you would like to try for yourself in the comments section!

Until next time,

Sofyah,

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4 Comments

  1. January 5, 2022 / 1:23 pm

    Very interesting read and very hard task for me ! 😉

    • January 5, 2022 / 5:49 pm

      I feel like as soon as I decided to start the no-spend month, a massive list of things I needed just appeared in front of me. It’s extremely hard but I’m hoping it will be just as rewarding!

  2. January 7, 2022 / 2:37 pm

    This is a really interesting article. I like your take on a no spend month. I’ve been doing pretty good with this since covid hit and I haven’t been out and about as much. I’m not a huge online shopper, unless it’s something for my dog. I think covid has made me really think about need vs. want. This article is a great exercise in how to conserve and take action in your own finances.

    • January 7, 2022 / 5:33 pm

      Covid definitely slowed me down a bit but I still have a few areas to work on and really start saving up for what matters!

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