If you’re looking for a way to get a new perspective on how you spend money, one of the best ways to do this is to do some type of “no spend” challenge. While there are a number of things that a no spend challenge can help improve, probably the main benefit is that it’ll force you to break spending habits that you may not have even known you had. By finding these spending habits, being aware of them, and then coming up with solutions to change them, you put yourself in a position to use your money more effectively and on the things that are really important to you. In this way, no spend challenges are a wonderful way to help you get some insight into your current personal finances to see the changes that need to be made.
Here are a few types of no spend challenges that can be extremely beneficial to your finances:
No Spend Day Challenge
The no spend day challenge is the classic of the no spend challenges. A no spend day challenge is basically a day where you are not allowed to spend any money. While they may not appear to be too difficult in theory, they tend to be more difficult than most people imagine because they often bring to light spending leaks that most people didn’t realize they had. Of course, you are not limited to only a single day. As you get better with your finances, you can try a no spend weekend, and no spend week, or even a no spend month. Any of these are bound to challenge the way that you currently spend money and force you to be creative in finding solutions to do and buy the things that you want without actually spending money.
No Impulse Purchase Challenge
This challenge can be an excellent way to greatly reduce the amount you spend shopping while at the same time making you more organized and think through all of your purchases. In this no spend challenge, you are only allowed to buy things that you have written down on a list before you went to the store to by them. No “oh, I need this too” purchases. If it’s not on the list, then it can’t be purchased. By sticking strictly to buying those things that you went to the store to purchase and buying nothing else, you will place yourself in a position to see how much you were spending on impulse purchases in the past.
No Credit Card Use Challenge
For those who have a volatile relationship with their credit card, a no spending with a credit card challenge can be an excellent way to help break the habit of using your credit card. You simply pick a period of time such as a month period where you’re not allowed to use your credit card for any purchases. This is a great way to see all those small expenses that you put on a credit card without even thinking about it in the past and should help you become much more aware of how often you used to use a credit card without even thinking about it.
No Buying Food Challenge
Not only is a no buying food challenge a great way to save money, it should also help you find new recipes and meals to broaden your cooking repertoire. Again, this challenge can be for any period of time, but it’s usually done for a week or a month depending on how much you have in your pantry. During this time, you’re not allowed to go and buy food from the store. Instead, you need to use the food that you have on hand.
Since most families throw away a large amount of food each year, this is a great way to be creative using food without wasting it. It can also help clean out your pantry of food that’s been there for a long period, and help you get creative in making meals from the food that you have on hand. The hope is that by doing all this, it will help you shop more efficiently and make better food purchases in the future.
No Eating Out Challenge
For those who have a tendency to let trips out to restaurants ruin their budget, doing a no spending money eating out challenge can be a great way to help temper this habit. As the name would suggest, the goal is to not eat any of your meals at a restaurant or from a takeout joint during this specified period of the challenge. Knowing that you won’t be able to go out to eat should help you prepare a bit more for cooking meals at home, and hopefully get you into a habit where going out to eat becomes a planned event instead of the default option.
No Cost Entertainment Challenge
One place where many people find leaks in their budget has to do with money spent on entertainment. By doing a month-long no spend on entertainment challenge, you will have to find new and creative ways to entertain yourself that don’t cost any money. It should give you a good opportunity to see how much you have been spending on entertainment in the past, and help you find different forms of entertainment that can be done without spending any money. By finding ways that you can entertain yourself without spending money, you place yourself in a great position to really pick and chose when you want to spend money on entertainment in the future.
No Coffee Shop Challenge
If you happen to be one of those people who has the habit of stopping in at the local coffee shop on a daily basis, doing a no spend at the coffee shop challenge can be an excellent way to help you break the habit over the short-term, and greatly reduce it over the long-term. While the coffee shop example is used here, this can be used with any habit that you have where you know money is leaking out of your budget. If you’re able to go a month without visiting the coffee shop, you should be in the position to make those coffee shop trips to treat rather than a daily habit, saving you a lot of money.
No Clothes Buying Challenge
Many people seem to get their therapy treatments by buying clothes (or other things). If you find that you’re spending money on clothes every month, doing a no spending on clothes challenge for a month can be an excellent way for you to reevaluate your buying habits. By the end of the challenge, you should know if there are any clothes that you really do need versus the clothes you merely want.
No Cable TV Package Challenge
Many people who try this challenge for a month are pretty surprised when they realize how much TV was a habit rather than something that they really wanted to see. Spending a month without cable TV can put you in a much better position to determine whether it is something that is worth the price, or something that is getting in your way to do other things. It will give a new perspective on how you have been spending time and how you really want to spend that time.
No Spend Hobby Challenge
Hobbies can be expensive and it’s often a good idea to spend a month of more on a challenge not to spend any money on that hobby. While this can be difficult, it will really get your creative juices flowing since it’s something that you enjoy doing. Often times, it will help reaffirm the reason that you originally became interested in the hobby and make you appreciate it that much more. it can also help you focus on where to best spend the money that you do have on your hobby once the challenge is over.
What all these challenges should do is give a different perspective on your spending in these areas, and help you think about new ways to achieve what you want in those areas without spending additional money. Taking on a no spending challenge can be difficult, but the information that you learn from them can be invaluable to helping you get better control of your finances and spending more wisely.
Have you ever done a no spend challenge? What are some of the things that you learned which surprised you if you have? Are you planning any no spend challenges for this year?