Ever arrived at work in the morning already a few quid out of pocket? A quick coffee before the train, an impulse buy online, or grabbing just released concert tickets. If so, then the no spend challenge could be something for you to try. It sounds simple right? If you don’t spend money, then you must be saving money. But there is more to the no spend challenge than improving your savings pot or reducing your debt.
Spending money is unavoidable, but the no spend challenge is all about saying goodbye to the non-essentials. Sounds difficult, doesn’t it? But before you shake your head and decide it’s not for you, there’s more to it than just cutting back. It’s not the equivalent of a fad diet, more a lifestyle change with could make your bank balance a little healthier. The no spend challenge can change how you view money, how you manage money and how to become more in control of money.
The idea is you can’t spend money on anything except bills and necessities. No impulse purchases or borrowing.
A no-spend challenge runs for a set period, decided by you, without spending any money. It could be a day a week, or it could be longer. You can allow some essential spending such as groceries and fuel, but not eating out or buying luxury items.
The rules of the challenge need to be set by you. They should be realistic and work around your lifestyle. If you start too extreme, you’re more likely to fall at the first hurdle. So, if you were to do the no spend challenge for a month, you may want to allow yourself a few luxuries, such as meal out with friends, or a trip to the cinema.
You can get a real insight into how you spend, if it's impulsive or unnecessary. The challenge is about getting rid of unnecessary purchases and learning how to live with less. Changing your spending behaviour and relationship with money for the long term so that you don’t see saving as a sacrifice but a lifestyle choice.
As you become more aware of how you spend, you’ll get better at managing your money, gain control over you finances and be able to meet your goals, such as saving money and paying off debt.
Decide what you want to do with the money you aren’t spending, and remind yourself of this regularly, especially when the urge to spend takes hold.
Trial it for a day or a week, and then extend for longer if it’s working for you.
You still need to be able to enjoy your life. Rather than meeting a friend in the coffee shop, bring a flask of coffee and have a walk around the park, rather than cancel all plans.
Yes, you’ll have to cut back on nights out and social occasions but strike a realistic balance which works for you.
Let friends and family know you’re not spending and avoid places you may find it difficult to splurge, such as online retail apps or a weekly shop without a list.
You also may want to keep track of what you’re spending (and not spending) to keep you motivated. There are lots of useful budgeting apps to make budgeting easier, such as Money Dashboard, Emma and Plum. Read our helpful blog on budgeting apps for more.
If you are thinking of budgeting, take a look at 5 popular budget plans blog.