And it was hard!!
Last month, when reviewing my credit card transactions, I realized that I had spend money on 22 days of that month. The bulk of this spending was primarily charged on credit cards. 3 bills’ payments are taken from my bank account each month.
More or less puzzling is that I couldn’t remember everything I bought. I also couldn’t figure-out if I really needed every single item I purchased.
Despite being a personal finance blogger I noticed I spend money way too easily. Sometimes, it’s absent-mindedly. Particularly with my credit card. I just charge it, without really thinking twice at times.
I immediately decided to not spend any money during the last week of October. I went cold turkey. It was hard, but I did it. I stopped the financial bleeding.
Mind you, I was able to do this because all my recurring bills were paid and I had just gone grocery shopping….
When it comes to our finances, sometimes a little challenge is all we need to get back on track.
Let’s take a look at the no spend challenge.
What Is a No Spend Challenge?
As indicated in its name, a no spend challenge is when you don’t spend any money during a set period of time.
By “no spend” I mean:
- No debit/credit card payments/charges
- No bill payments
- No cheques
- No cash withdrawal/use
How Does It Work?
The parameters around a no spend challenge are actually pretty flexible, and completely up to you. In order to be successful, the parameters you set need to work for you. If you’re too rigid or arbitrary, you’ll fail, guaranteed.
I’d suggest starting with one no spending day. Then gradually increase your number of no spending days. It could be a block of 3 days per week, just like it could be an entire week or on the week-ends.
I’d also suggest you focus on not spending first, rather than cutting categories. It’ll detox or reset you financially. Once you have a better idea of your spending patterns or triggers, you can add rules like:
- No Amazon shopping
- No books
- No clothing
- No spa appointments
The majority of people can’t cut all their spending altogether. We all have bills to pay such as our rent or mortgage. You need to account for these. Don’t do a no spending day on the day your rent -or other bill- is due, or when your fridge is empty.
Why Do A No Spend Challenge?
The benefits of a no spend challenge are more far-reaching than you might expect.
You’ll Save Money
This is the number one benefit of a no spend challenge. It may sound obvious, but you’ll have more money at the end of the month when you don’t spend. This is assuming you have a regular income and that you don’t rack-up expenses on the days you actually spend money.
You’ll Have More Financial Awareness
A no spend challenge gives you an opportunity to take a step back and assess your finances. You’ll begin to identify patterns, like what emotions motivate you to spend, or how you feel after spending money.
A no spend challenge is like a detox. It can reset you, financially.
You’ll Have More Time For What Really Matters
Going from shops to shops, perusing the aisles, browsing websites, deciding what to buy etc…Spending money actually takes up a lot of time.
Time is our most valuable resource. So, why not replace 2 hours of shopping with a walk in the park or a nap? Those activities are free and they sure sound dreamy for a lot of people. You could also play board games with your family or friends.
You’ll Appreciate What you Have More
A no-spend challenge lets you appreciate what you already have in terms of things and, more importantly, people.
As November is coming to a close, I didn’t spend money of 14 days of the month. Most importantly, I know exactly what I spent, and I can also say all my expenses were needed.
I plan to continue in December.