Save More, Spend Less

October’s No Spend Challenge

October's No Spend Challenge

This month’s money challenge is focused on changing your spending habits. Since October is the calm before the storm in regards to the holiday season, we thought it would be a good chance to implement a No Spend Challenge.

Why We Do Monthly Challenges

Humans are competitive by nature, especially us. We like to play board games, yard-games, Nate loves Fantasy Football and is always up for some Mario Cart. To help play on that nature and make your personal finances more than just another chore, I thought we could add some monthly challenges to the mix of getting your finances in order.

Back in August, I had posted on Instagram that we would participate in Offer Up August. A challenge that pushed us to sell unwanted/unneeded things around the house. The goal was 4 items (1 per week) and we actually went a *little* overboard and sold 34 items in August. What can I say? I love cleaning.

No Spend Challenge

This month though we are focusing on a No Spend Month

It doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds, even though it is the month of Halloween. But rather than trying to limit all spending for the entire month of October, because honestly, that’s just crazy, the goals is to get 14 no spend days. That’s (technically) less than half the month and completely doable! They don’t even have to be consecutive.

For 14 days of October, we want to challenge YOU to not spend a dime all day.

Are you up for it?  

What’s the Point of a No Spend Challenge?

It’s not to deprive you of everything you love or make you an antisocial homebody. Instead, it is really about challenging yourself to get creative about how you spend your time and your money. It’s to show you that you don’t need to spend money to have a good time. 

You should be intentional about spending your money. I know it is so easy to stop by the store on the way home from work to pick up something you just remembered. But if you are more intentional about your spending, you will be able to make a list all week and maybe realize you already have an extra pasta sauce at home or you still have leftovers to eat rather than another fast food meal.

Completing a No Spend Challenge is not something we recommend that you do every month for the rest of your life. But hopefully, it will instill some habits in you that will allow you to be more intentional about how you spend your money. And when you’re bored, you know you don’t have to go shopping to fill the time to buy stuff you don’t need or will never use. 

Tips on How to Manage a No Spend Challenge 

Now, that it’s time to execute the No Spend Challenge, here are some tips to get you in the right mindset and keep you on track.

Have a Visible Tracker 

This is one of the most important aspects for us reaching any of our goals. If we aren’t able to physically see how our progress is going every day, we most likely won’t prioritize that goal and eventually fail.

For this challenge, I have made a No Spend Challenge printable. Check out the Free Resource Library to download your copy. We are posting ours on the fridge and at the end of each day marking whether or not we had a No Spend Day. The small win of marking a No Spend Day will motivate you to continue marking day after day until you reach your goal!

Remember you must put it somewhere you will see everyday. On your fridge, in your closet, on your desk. Somewhere that won’t get lost in the day to day craziness.

Create a Reward System

Another great motivator is a reward system. If you accomplish a No Spend Day, you should not only get to mark a spot on your tracker, but have some sort of reward. For us, we are going to be saving an extra $5 a day that we accomplish a No Spend Day into our vacation fund.

Find what is a good motivator for you and how you can find a piece of that to reward yourself each day. For example, you could allow yourself a dessert that day or money towards your beauty, sports, or fun category.

Batch your Errands 

By planning to do all your errands just one day a week, you will be more methodical in what you actually need and where you actually need to go. You’ll be able to save money by having a list and not just running to the store because you need one thing and end up leaving with seven things.

Also, by batching your errands, you will save so much time. I don’t know how many times I have gone to Walmart more than once in a week and not only does it drive me crazy but it such a waste of time! I have so many other things I could be doing. And saving time, saves money!

Tell People 

By telling people, you will be held accountable for accomplishing your goal. Even if your friends/family don’t join, at least they will understand that this one month you won’t be going out every single weekend with them. Maybe they will be more willing to plan a potluck instead of going out, saving everyone money!

Get a Partner to Join You

Going even further than just telling everyone about it to keep you accountable, find someone willing to take the challenge with you. That way you can share tactics and struggles together. If you know your best friend is also struggling to save money, the two of you could plan to spend a No Spend Day together to have fun and pass the time faster!

Avoid Temptations

If you are planning to have a No Spend Day, don’t tempt yourself by scrolling through Amazon or stopping into Target just to window shop. It’s so much harder to say no when there are items in your hands or in your cart than to just by pass the window shopping altogether.

Don’t Cheat with Cash or Gift Cards 

This is such a hard one for me. Whenever I have cash, I always feel like I’m not actually spending the money. Since it never hit my bank account and I check all my expenses through Mint, it’s as though it never happened. But it did! That was money that I should have deposited into my bank account and should definitely track.

So even if you spend money with cash you found lying around or gift cards you’ve had forever, you are still spending money! The point of the challenge is to get creative with how you spend your time and become more aware of how often you spend money. By using cash or gift cards, you are cheating yourself of learning these new habits, however difficult they may be.

Stay Busy

One of the easiest ways to get through the No Spend Challenge is by staying busy! The more busy you are, the less you have time to even think about spending money. Whether you stay busy with work or by finding fun alternatives to spending money (see the list below), I am sure you will be able to essentially distract yourself from actively trying to complete the No Spend Challenge.

Free Fun on No Spend Days 

  • Cook or bake
  • Pack a picnic
  • At home movie marathon 
  • Go outside (beach, lake, hike, park, etc.) 
  • Workout
  • Read 
  • Visit the library or a local free museum
  • Scout for Halloween/Holiday decorations around town
  • Go on an open house tour
  • Rearrange the furniture in a room 
  • Organize cabinets, clothes, files, photos, etc.
  • Work on the Honey-Do list 
  • Host a yard sale (enlist neighbors) 
  • Plan a Potluck Game Night with friends 
  • Learn a new skill 
  • Take photos / videos 
  • Write in your journal

Extra Challenge

If you feel that 14 no spend days is too easy and are looking for more of a challenge then we have something for you. We challenge you to not only have 14 no spend days in October but on the days that you do spend money to only keep it as a must spend item. That means only really spending money on your fixed monthly expenses, groceries, gas, doctors, and maybe some household necessities if you really can’t live without it (i.e. toilet paper, toothpaste). 

We don’t think the 14 No Spend Days will be easy by any means, but we are going to be taking on this extra challenge due to the horrific scene that was our September Budget. *shudders* 

Okay to Spend on Not Okay to Spend On
Groceries (shop your pantry first) Alcohol 
Gas Fast Food / Restaurants 
Utilities / Fixed Expenses (Rent, etc.)Online Shopping 
RX/Doctor’s Appointments Clothing 
Household Necessities (Toilet Paper, Soap)Home Decor 

We want to hear your struggles and accomplishments with this months challenge. Comment below (or on Instagram) how your No Spend Challenge is panning out!

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