Have you come across No Spend Challenge before?
Better yet, tried it yourself?
I didn’t know until recently No Spend Challenge is a thing, although it was a matter of time before I came across this little fun challenge.
I’ve been attempting and compiling 30 day challenge ideas to improve myself and my life.
And No Spend Challenge has been a wonderful addition to the list.
Whether you want to pay off debt like me, fix bad money habits, saving money for holidays or retirement, or simply get more conscious about the way you spend money, I highly recommend you give No Spend Challenge a go.
No Spend Challenge requires a serious disruption to our norm, but in a VERY good way.
And you’ll find out why.
What Does No Spend Challenge Mean?
No Spend Challenge means – exactly what it says – challenging yourself not to spend money for a set period of time.
Now before you say:
wwwhat… that’s impossible!
Hear me out.
First, you might think No Spend Challenge is for people who have trouble with money.
But that’s not the case.
Just like fasting isn’t for people with a weight issue, No Spend Challenge can benefit anyone who wants to live consciously.
We live in such a fast-paced world most things we do every day are on autopilot including, gasp, spending money!
By taking up No Spend Money challenge, you become more mindful of how you spend money and make sure you don’t waste it on unnecessary stuff (and regret later!).
Little Things We Do Every Day
Even if you aren’t reckless with money, when you stop spending money altogether, you’ll find at least one or two (or several) things you do automatically.
You may pop into your usual place for lunch to have the same sandwich and drink.
Or make a quick detour to grab a frozen pizza on your way home for dinner.
The same one you had the previous night.
Or drop by the fancy restaurant because it’s easy and quick (and to forget the previous night’s frozen pizza saga. ha).
How about a little latte on the way to work despite an endless supply of coffee available at the office canteen?
Small or big, challenging yourself to stop spending money for a set period of time will make you aware of how you can best use two important resources we all have, time and money.
For How Long to Do No Spend Challenge
The thing about No Spend Challenge is there is no strict rule.
Be it a weekday no spend challenge, a weekend no spend challenge, 7-day challenge or 30-day challenge, it’s entirely up to you.
If you think your current spending habits are getting out of control though, I suggest you go for a longer period like a 30-day challenge.
Challenge, by definition, gotta be a little hard, right?
Where is fun in that if it’s too easy?
Besides, the harder the challenge is, the more rewarding you’re going to feel when the challenge is over.
Start No Spend Challenge with a Good Plan
Good planning is essential for a successful No Spend Challenge.
The last thing you want to do is giving up halfway through.
Or rush into a grocery store right after your challenge is over because you’ve starved yourself!
Make a realistic plan that’ll last you until the challenge is over.
Don’t have one yet?
Go through your previous expenses and use it as your baseline to plan.
After your rent/mortgage and utility bills were paid, see what else you spent your money on.
Work out how much you spent on groceries plus non-essentials such as entertainment, takeaways, eat out, clothes, shoes, cosmetics, books, transport and so on.
Your aim here is not to spend money on anything else but groceries and perhaps transport.
By the end of the challenge, you’ll see how much you’ve saved compared to the previous month!
Can You Spot the Pattern?
When do you mostly shop?
According to this article, online fashion retailer I Saw It First says people shop online most between 21:00 and 01:00.
For Electronics retailer Currys PC World, it’s between 20:00 – 22:00 during the week.
In the same article, the John Lewis Partnership Card says 1 in 15 orders are made between midnight and 06:00.
Going through your past expenses, can you identify your own shopping pattern?
Was it online or offline?
During the week or on weekends? During your lunch hours or after work on the way home?
Was it in the evening after dinner?
Knowing your shopping pattern will ensure you complete No Spend Challenge successfully.
You can identify your shopping habits, be prepared and overcome temptation.
The temptation will Pass
Do you remember the last time you skipped lunch because you were so engrossed in the task at hand and wanted to finish it?
Comes your usual lunchtime. Your brain signals you.
Hey, feed me!
But you’re too busy.
So you sternly hush your brain (and your growling stomach).
Hang on. You will not die. Let me finish this first, OK?
After a brief (and intense) moment, the hunger and the stomach rumbling dissipate to the point you forget you were hungry!
The same goes for the temptation to buy stuff during your No Spend Challenge.
Ignore the urge to buy.
Hold on tight.
Or sit on your cards super tight. Ha.
It too shall pass.
So we’ve circled back to why you’d want to put yourself through such “extreme” challenge.
Believe me, it feels like extreme because we’re addicted to our routine, dishing out the plastic whenever we feel like it.
But just like with everything new we want to try out, it’s only in the beginning that feels hard.
Once you experience all the benefits of No Spend Challenge, you’ll have a whole new outlook on money and your life… for better!
Benefits of No Spend Challenge
So let’s talk about the benefits of No Spend Challenge.
There are many.
The most obvious one is you’ll save money.
Instead of buying items randomly, you’ll learn to plan and save for a big day, be it for holiday, a special occasion, a new car or retirement.
You’ll experience a new level of self-control and self-discipline which gives you greater satisfaction than any material possessions can.
Everyone knows chasing instant gratification will lead to a financial disaster but, as you know, it’s really hard to break it.
No Spend Challenge will force you to stop and fix the habit of chasing instant gratification.
You’ll learn to be patient. You no longer buy stuff on impulse.
You’ll become creative and more resourceful. You’ll find many ways of having fun without money.
You’ll get to know yourself with clarity on the daily choices you make.
You’ll pay off debt.
You’ll value your time and be good at prioritising what really matters.
You’ll learn to cook! (and get healthy and might lose weight).
You’ll be free from the guilt of buying stuff impulsively. Remember those feelings?
You’ll stop hoarding home with useless stuff. Seriously.
You’ll clean out the pantry.
You’ll make good use of items you already have.
Depending on whether you’re a saver or a spender, you’ll find No Spend Challenge easier or more difficult than others.
But everyone can do it, and everyone will benefit from it.
See it as a fun challenge (I think it’s fun): how many days you can go without spending money.
Involve family members or a friend. Compete against each other in a fun, healthy and encouraging way.
When you successfully complete No Spend Challenge, you’ll see a positive outcome that’ll make a drastic impact on your financial future and your life.
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