Want to stop mindless spending and get a hold of your finances with a no spend challenge? Get my free no spend tracker printable worksheets!
Embarking on a no spend or low spend challenge isn’t a financial experiment. For me, it’s a journey that I hope will reshape my relationship with money and consumption. Let’s be honest, in the world we live in consumerism and consumption are king. It dictates almost every choice we make. Embracing a no spend or low spend challenge is a conscious decision to break free from the grip of unnecessary expenses. This blog post aims to guide you through the details of a no spend or low spend lifestyle, offering practical tips, insights, and encouragement. Be sure to get my free no spend tracking sheets to go along with the challenge!
What is a No Spend or Low Spend Challenge?
A no spend challenge is as simple as giving up any unnecessary expenses for a set amount of time. Typically this is at least an entire month but many who participate shoot for a full year of no or low spending. In a no spend challenge, the goal is to give up any and all unnecessary spending. This includes things like meals out and shopping for clothes, electronics, or other unnecessary items. Obviously, you will still pay your bills and allow a budget for groceries and gas.
A low spend challenge is the same concept but may include some of your own rules and exceptions. For instance, you might only allow yourself to shop for gifts for others, or give yourself an allowance of one meal out per month with friends. This is a great option for those with families who may need a little wiggle room for spending.
The Benefits of Participating in the Challenge
Participating in a no spend or low spend year or month has many benefits and there are lots of reasons give it a try. By participating you could pay down debt, hit your savings goals, or simply reduce mindless spending habits. No matter what your reasoning is, I’m convinced that if you stick with it, you’ll be proud of yourself and have more financial peace than when you started.
How to Prepare for a No Spend Challenge
It’s important to take some time to prepare for a no spend or low spend challenge. And I don’t mean rushing out to buy all the things or adding to cart before your challenge begins. There are a few things I would recommend before starting the challenge for the first time.
1. Do your research: Watching my YouTube video is the perfect way to get started. Following accounts or hashtags that focus on no spending is a great way to get started. Learn from those with experience so that you go into the challenge feeling knowledgeable.
2. Set some financial goals: You must understand your financial situation and check your bank accounts regularly so you can stay on top of your finances. It’s good practice to list monthly bills that will need to be paid and budget money for necessary expenses like gas and groceries. It’s also important to know and name your why. Make a list of goals you want to achieve and maybe jot down an old habit you’d like to break.
For me, I want to focus on using only the cash I have and absolutely no credit cards. Maybe you have debt you’d like to pay off or a vacation you’d like to save for. Any goal is a good goal! Just be sure to put it on paper so that you can refer back to it daily. In designing the free printable tracker, I was sure to add a space for you to verbalize your why.
3. Get your entire family involved: As a wife and mother of 5, I’m going to need lots of support from my family. The best way to do that is to get them involved in the reasoning behind the challenge and in goal setting. Maybe discuss what having extra money in your account can do for your family. Older children may even want their own simple tracker to join you in the challenge. The biggest thing is that everyone in the family is on the same page and has an understanding of the why behind your no spend challenge.
4. Make a list of challenge rules: In the video, you may have heard me mention the section on the no spend month tracker for rules and exceptions. Before beginning, use the space to list certain rules that you have for yourself such as absolutely no coffee out, or no Amazon purchases. There’s also space for you to list exceptions. For me an exception might be that I can only have coffee out when I’m meeting with a client. It’s best to think through scenarios so that you’re prepared. However, it’s ok to change your mind or make adjustments every month.
Best Tips for a No Spend/ Low Spend Lifestyle
Start Small: Take it day by day. Literally. With the free downloads, you’ll get a daily no spend tracker. Each day you meet your goal of not making any unnecessary purchases you’ll color in a spot on your tracker. This is a visual way of seeing your progress and visualization is powerful in any challenge. The real excitement comes at the end of a month of no unnecessary spending and seeing your tracker complete! Maybe your not ready for a no spend month. Maybe just start with a no spend weekend and progress towards the goal of a no spend month.
Give Yourself Grace: Know that you will likely make an unnecessary purchase. If and when this happens think of the quote found in the classic novel Anne of Green Gables:
“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.”
Shake off today and move on with the challenge tomorrow.
Make a Wish List: Included in the digital product download, is a space labeled “wish list.” This is a space where you will make a list of items you wish to purchase throughout the month. Maybe you need a new TV because yours stopped working. Add TV to your wish list and then wait until the end of the month to determine if it’s still a “need” or maybe it’s a want that you can live without. This will aid against making impulse purchases and will hopefully become a new habit of taking time to consider each purchase you make.
To keep track of your spending, I’ve created two spending trackers for you to use and they are completely FREE!
The full page spending tracker is for you to use in keeping up with any purchase outside of absolute necessities. Obviously, if you are doing a strict no spend challenge you will have very few of these if any. However, if you are going the low spend route you will use this space to document every unnecessary purchase. Be sure to mark if the purchase was an impulse buy and if you paid with cash or card. At the end of the month, you can see how much money you spent on unnecessary items.
The day by day tracker will help with motivation! Each day you keep to the challenge rules, you will color in that date. At the end of the month, you will be able to see the number of no spend days you achieved. Every single no spend day is a success and should encourage you to stick with your goals. Also, note that you do not need to begin the challenge on the first day of the month or on the first day of the new year. The important thing is that you get started as soon as possible.
I hope you will grab my free downloads and get started on your no spend or low spend challenge! I would love to hear about your progress. If you’re interested in following along for my Low Spend 2024, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here.