Do you think you could go one day without spending any money? What about two days? Three? A full week? Every now and then, we do a “no spend challenge” around here. A typical no spend challenge is where, for a set period of time, you basically are in a spending freeze with your finances. You don’t spend money on a single thing. (You can read more about a typical no spend challenge here). In June, we hosted a “No Spend Summer” challenge. It was a little different than most no spend challenges. Instead of not spending money on ANYTHING for the month of June, we opted not to spend any money on going out to eat for that month. And many of you did too! I loved reading your messages and comments, it helped me keep going. Going out to eat is one of our biggest challenges in sticking to our budget. We fight it by meal prepping most of our dinners for the week on Sunday. But there are definitely some weeks where things don’t go as planned. Since we both work full time (and blog and do a few other side hustles) things get really busy and chaotic so it’s really easy to justify going out to eat. (as I’m sure it is for you too).
We’ve had some rough months getting caught up from paying medical bills for Danny’s eye (in case you missed it, he got a weird infection while we were out of state). Fortunately, he is A-OK now. Unfortunately we were out of our insurance’s network when it happened so it was not a fun bill to pay to say the least. And that’s why we’ve decided to do a No Spend November! We are going to spend the entire month of November dining in, i.e., we’re not spending any money this month on going out to eat. And we would love for you to do it with us! Here area few tips on how to succeed on our No Spend November challenge so you’ll be ready to go in a couple of weeks!
HOW TO SUCCEED ON THE NO SPEND NOVEMBER CHALLENGE:
Being prepared is key to succeeding on any no spend challenge, and No Spend November is no different. The week before the challenge, take time to plan a few favorite and or fun meals so that you’ll be ready to go the first week of November. A few days before the challenge starts, be sure you are stocked up on the groceries you’ll need for the coming week. Having what you need on hand means you’ll be less likely to go through that drive through window! Remember, the extent to which you are prepared is the extent to which you will succeed.
Set a clear goal.
Setting a clear goal is one of the most important things you can do to succeed on a no spend challenge. Are you trying to pay off debt? Save for a down payment on a house? Earn money to invest? Set a clear and definable goal so that you can remember what you are working towards. The no spend challenge will be much easier if you have an overarching financial goal. Use that goal to motivate you when you feel yourself starting to get off track.
Remind yourself of your goal often.
Once your goal is set and No Spend November has begun, there will no doubt be many temptations along the way. In fact, you will probably be more tempted than ever to spend money. That’s just how adversity works– it rears its ugly head just when you start doing something great. You will have to remind yourself, probably many times, of your goal. Your goal will be the glue that makes you stick to the challenge. Write it down somewhere you will see it often. Hang it in your bathroom, on your fridge, and in your office. Write it on your hand. Do whatever you’ve gotta do to keep that goal in the forefront of your mind.
You don’t have to sit inside your house staring at the ceiling doing nothing during the no spend challenge. Use the time you aren’t spending money wisely! You can work on side hustles, search for free entertainment, work on projects around your house, help someone in need — there are plenty of things you can do without spending money! For me, it really helps to stay busy so that I’m not thinking about what I can’t spend money on.
Don’t overspend when the challenge is over.
It doesn’t do much good to have a no spend challenge if you spend all the money you would have spent during the challenge once the challenge is over. Avoid the temptation to overspend once the challenge is over.
One way to keep your spending in check (during the challenge and definitely when its over) is to track every single penny that you spend. You can do it by hand, using the Mint app, or simply by monitoring your online banking.
Ready to join us? The rules:
If you are interested in joining the challenge, simply choose one area of your budget that you feel like you are the weakest at, and commit to not spend ANY money in that area for the month of November! Perhaps you can’t help but buy all the things on Black Friday, or you love buying new clothes, or you spend too much money on apps, or Amazon, or maybe you’re like us and you can’t resist the drive thru window at Chick-fil-a. Wherever you struggle most is where you won’t spend any money for one month. We’re starting on November 1 and ending on the 30th. We’d LOVE for you to join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram, where we’ll be posting about our progress and would love to see yours!
Not a 30 day challenge kind of person? Simply try to not spend money for a few days. I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is and how much you can get by with— it’s probably more than you think. After that, start tracking all of your spending!
What is the longest you have gone without spending money? Could you survive a full month of not going out to eat?