How to do the No Spend Challenge like a boss.
I was in Home Depot the other day, and the front of the store was littered with Halloween lawn ornaments - already! Pretty soon, they'll be replaced with giant inflatable turkeys, followed by chubby Santas and fake Christmas trees. Slow down, 2018!
For most of us, these lovely holidays bring added expenses with them - costs of traveling...gift-giving...grocery bills...
In preparation for the holiday (read: expensive) season, we have decided to challenge ourselves to not spend money on anything extraneous for the entire month of September.
What is a No Spend Challenge?
The No Spend Challenge is a personal challenge to spend money only on the necessities for a certain period of time. The goal of a No Spend Challenge can be many things - it can be done to bolster your savings account, to retrain yourself to have better spending habits, or to replenish your funds after a big expense.
The rules of a No Spend Challenge are simple. In fact, there is only one rule: spend money only on what you need. This means that groceries, rent/mortgage, utilities, personal care items, etc., are approved expenses. It can also include clothing and shoes, but only within reason.
It does not include fast food, restaurants, entertainment, miscellaneous shopping, or anything else that you don't actually need.
Other than this, the rules are literally up to you. You can add a savings challenge, or focus the extra money you won't be spending on making extra car payments or paying off debt.
Tips for doing No Spend September like a boss
Don't skimp on your groceries.
One of the biggest temptations we face is the temptation to eat out - especially on weeknights. Often, cooking is the last thing we want to do after a long day at work!
If refraining from hopping in your car and finding the nearest drive-thru is a challenge for you, make it stupid-easy (and fun!) to eat at home instead. In other words, No Spend September is not the time to also start a Keto diet or go Vegan. Make sure you have things that are easy to make. Use your leftovers. And do what you can to prepare more during the days you do feel like cooking so that you have less work to do on the days that you don't!
You might find that your grocery bill is a little higher than usual, but when compared with what you typically spend eating out, you'll probably find you're saving a LOT!
Develop a new habit or start a new hobby.
A lot of times, we spend out of boredom.
If you're a shopaholic or you go out and spend money just to go out, try choosing a hobby to learn or habit to develop before you start your No Spend Challenge. Here are some ideas:
- Download the C25k app and train yourself to run 3.1 miles
- Got coloring books? COLOR!
- Read one of those books you have on your shelf but you haven't read yet.
- Create art out of things you already have.
- Rearrange a room.
- Become a smartphone photographer.
- Write a story.
Do it with others
Nothing is less fun than doing a challenge by yourself. Find a friend, or sibling, or coworker that will commit to doing the challenge with you.
Last week, a few of the ladies I work with and I decided that we needed to get out of our desks and move more. We started going for short walks and running up and down the stairs a couple of times a day. Alone, none of us would have ever chosen to do these things! But since we are doing it together, it helps us to stay motivated and accountable to keep doing what we committed to do.
Friendship and encouragement go a long way. Find someone crazy enough to try spending $0.00 in September with you, and you just might find it easier to do yourself.