Have you wanted to do a successful no-spend month to save money but have always failed or don’t even know how to do one? Today, I’m breaking down all the rules of a no-spend month as well as my top tips to make your no-spend month successful!
#1 Rule to Make a No Spend Month Successful
Before I get into all the details of No-Spend Months and the “rules” I want to remind you that there is NO set way that you HAVE to do your no spend month!! No-spend months are personal and need to fit you and your lifestyle or they are never going to work.
Set Your Rules For Your No-Spend Month
Decide what categories you are going to spend in, what categories are “off-limits”, how are you going to pay for items?
Here are some things to consider as “rules”:
- Only pay bills, gas and groceries
- Cash Only
- Only buy what is on grocery list
- Do not go grocery shopping when hungry
- Cut grocery budget in half – only produce, dairy and meat.
Create a plan for your spending freeze
When you are triggered to spend what will you do instead?
When you start your no-spend month/spending freeze you will be pumped and motivated but about half way through the month the excitement wears off.
Come up with a plan for when you are triggered to spend. Here are some suggestions:
- Find something around the house to sell (then you are SAVING money and MAKING money… double win!!)
- Go for a walk
- Declutter an area of your home (watch this video for some decluttering ideas)
- Call a friend or accountability partner
- Read a book
- Review your goals and your WHY.
Nail Down Your WHY
WHY are you doing a no-spend month in the first place?
Is is because you saw a YouTube video and thought it would be fun?! … I doubt it.
I bet it’s because you have a financial GOAL that you want to hit!
Or maybe you finally want to feel like YOU are in control of your month rather than your money controlling you and all of your decisions.
Or maybe pay off the debt that you accrued over the holidays and want to pay off your high-interest credit cards.
Whatever your WHY is for doing a no-spend month, its important to have it nailed down and come back to it often.
It’s also important to share your WHY with your family.
Rather than just telling them “Sorry, we can’t spend any money this month, we are staying home all month” share with them the WHY.
“We are going to cut back this month on our extra saving so that we can go on a really fun vacation this summer and these are all the fun things we are going to do…”
What does a no-spend month help with?
Hitting a specific goal.
Like I said earlier, its so important to have your WHY nailed down and have your end goal in place.
I want this no-spend month to:
- Pay off my Visa Credit Card
- Get 30% towards being 1 month ahead on my bills
- Save for a vacation in the mountains
Help you realize your spending triggers.
A no spend month is very eye opening to teach you what your spending triggers are.
- Spend when you’re sad
- Target dollar spot
- Spend out of spite because your spouse spent money not in the budget
Why no-spend months don’t work and how to combat it
1. Don’t track your spending.
It is so important to be on a written budget and track your spending.
When you are tracking your spending throughout the month you can visually see where you are spending your month.
It’s a built in accountability partner when you have to manually log every single time you go to the gas station for snacks and then at the end of the month you saw that you went 12 times throughout the month!
If you are in your budget every couple of days tracking your transactions it will only take 5-10 minutes MAX. Please don’t use that as an excuse not to budget.
When you are tracking your spending every couple of days it also helps you to readjust throughout the month.
For example, if you are on week 2 of the month and have already spend 75% of your grocery money you can take a step back and eat from the pantry or chose lower cost meals to make.
Whereas if you wait until the END of the month to track your spending then it’s too late and “better luck next month”. NO!!
Track your spending every couple of days and it will become a habit before you know it!
2. Failure to plan
- Go back to what you are going to do when you are triggered. If you don’t have a plan in place you are going to fail.
- What fun things will you do?
- You can’t just go to work, school, church and home and expect your family to be on board.
- Come up with fun activities for when the boredom hits, find free activities at your local library, free activities on your city’s facebook page, fun crafts and games that you can do at home.
- What is the maximum you are going to spend on groceries for the month?
- Let’s say your goal is to cut your grocery bill in HALF. Awesome, thats’s a great goal but HOW are you going to do that?
- Go through your pantry, fridge and freezer and see what meal plan you can come up with off of the food that you already have on hand.
- Check out my FREE 7-Day meal plan for ideas.
3. Didn’t change the behavior to begin with
At the end of your no-spend month it is pointless to go right back to your old way of spending.
Reflect on what you learned this month.
I see so many people that will do a no-spend month and then the next month they spend even more than they typically do because they felt so constricted the previous month and didn’t implement anything they learned long term.
Think of this month as. a detox.
Break the habit of going to the Target dollar spot just to go.
Try a Savings Challenge to keep you motivated!
Pairing a no spend month with a savings challenge is a great way to keep you motivated throughout the month and focused on your goal!
Check out my top Savings Challenge videos hers:
Check out my top Savings Challenges Printables:
More Ways To Save:
Here at Freedom In A Budget, I am all about saving money! Here are some of the EASY ways that I save money:
• CIT Bank offers high interest savings accounts and CDs to provide a safe, secure way to earn money grow your savings.
• Fetch Rewards is a free grocery savings app that rewards you just for snapping pictures of your receipts. That’s really it. Free gift cards on groceries on thousands of products every day, no matter where you get your groceries. Just scan your receipts and get gift cards from places like Starbucks, Target, Ulta, Applebees. Use code QHKBH to earn 2,000 points ($2)!
• Rakuten/Ebates: Rakuten is my to go way to earn Cash Back from over 2,500 stores like Macy’s, Amazon, Sephora, Walmart and much more. Join Rakuten today for free, and you’ll get a $10 Cash Bonus to get you started! Every three months, you’ll get a Big Fat Check in the mail or a PayPal payment just for shopping.
• M1 Finance is an easy to use brokerage platform that allows you to invest in Fractional Shares and auto reinvest!
• Budget Templates: Excel budget templates with pre-populated categories and formulas to keep you on track with hitting your financial goals.
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