Lately, I've come across several bloggers who have participated in what everyone is calling a "no-spend challenge." Essentially, this is a way to closely monitor your habits and get your spending back on track. There are a number of reasons to participate, with the most obvious benefits including saving money and tapping into your creative spirit as you fabricate numerous excuses for why you can't go to that group dinner.
And, the best part of a no-spend challenge is that it's 100% customizable. You make the rules.
You could simply say, "Absolutely no spending on anything but food and essentials." Or, maybe you know that Target is your weakness, so you decide, "Absolutely no Target." You could apply the no-spend challenge to eating lunch out, putting anything on a credit card or buying clothes. Kaitlin at The Simply Organized Home did a no-spend YEAR! #goals
There's a lot of power in the self-discipline involved in a no-spend challenge. You re-establish some level of control in your life, and you might even rediscover things that become overlooked in the keeping up with the Joneses. Here are just a few benefits of a no-spend challenge:
1.) Making less impulse purchases.
You're required to set down that candle in the dollar bin of Target and think about it before buying. Y'all know how I struggle with impulse purchases at Trader Joe's. A no-spend challenge reallllllllyyyyy makes it hard to justify PB&J chocolate bars at the checkout line.
2.) Revisiting long-lost closet items.
By not buying any new clothes, you're forced to reevaluate what you do have already in your closet. I see this as dually beneficial. You will rediscover that blouse you bought and wore that one time last summer, and now you get to wear it again — it'll feel like new! Or, you'll rediscover that blouse you bought and wore one time one time last summer and remember that you never wear it because oh my gosh, what were you thinking — that neckline is all wrong on your body and the pattern is terrible for your skin tone. In that case, you throw it in the donate pile.
See? The no-spend challenge can even result in a cleaner closet. Miraculous.
This extends to your pantry (oh hey, back-shelf noodles I bought on sale 4 months ago!), makeup drawer and more! Decluttering is a bonus benefit of not spending money.
3.) Finding fun & frugal entertainment.
From live music in the park to the renting movies from your library, there are tons of ways to enjoy free or frugal fun in your town or city. When you participate in a no-spend challenge, you're far more likely to seek entertainment that won't break the bank. Those events exist, and the challenge is the perfect excuse to switch up your normal/money-sucking routines and try something new.
Invite friends for a game of frisbee in the park. Show up to gallery openings and enjoy the cheese and wine. Create an adult scavenger hunt around your 'hood. Read a book. Adventure is out there — and it doesn't have to cost you!
4.) Increasing spending self-awareness.
There's nothing like a no-spend challenge to make you keenly aware of all of the mindless spending in your life.
Once you crack down a bit on yourself, you start to notice those expenses that seem to sneak up on you — and that are no longer easy to ignore. You may slowly recognize that a bad day at work always ends up with you wrist-deep in Sephora spoils. Alternatively, you may find you're super spend-y every time you have a work win. Rewarding hard work or wallowing a bit in self-pity is acceptable. It's normal. But it's something to be aware of and indulge in ~*mindfully*~.
From thinking twice about that Etsy order to recognizing emotional triggers for your spending, a no-spend challenge can help foster a sense of self-awareness that is healthy on a lot of levels.
There's no wrong way to approach the no-spend challenge, but here are my goals for the month of June:
My June No-Spend Challenge Goals:
- No eating out without a gift card.
- Only 3 total alcohol purchases "out" (in a bar/restaurant), except for on my cousin's birthday.*
- Have 75% of June's "fun money" left over at the end of the month.
- Become more mindful of my impulse purchases and track my weak spots.
- Try one new frugal and fun event.
Do we think these goals are realistic? What am I forgetting? Let me know in the comments below! Also, wish me luck because summer is fun and full of rooftop bars and bathing suit coverups and beach drinks and ughhhhh. Why did I choose the start of summer to start this?!
No. It's gonna be great. Inhale tacos, exhale negativeity. Stay tuned for the updates.
*I'm anticipating this expense and qualify buying her drinks as a necessity. It's her birthday, for goodness' sake — the woman deserves a gin and tonic if she wants it.