Saving money and making it a habit can be challenging for many of us. Highly accessible online shops don’t make things easier either. So, I thought maybe turning our spending habits into a fun game can motivate us to save. Have you ever heard of the no-spend challenge? Here’s what you need to know and do to win it!
What’s a No-Spend Challenge?
No, it doesn’t mean not spending any money at all. It only means you do not purchase any unnecessary item within a specific time. You still have to buy groceries and pay the bills, of course. The goal here is to be more hands-on with your daily expenses and find the means to lose your bad spending habits.
The no-spend-challenge game also involves coping with temptation and using cheaper or free alternatives to destress. Hopefully, in the end, this challenge will show you ways to save money, earn more or pay off debt.
No-Spend Challenge Tips and Tricks
It may sound tricky, but it’s 100% doable. The key to win is to do some planning and preparation. These tips might help.
1. Identify Your Purpose
Setting financial goals for doing the no-spend challenge will keep your game face on! Your purpose will prevent you from quitting midway, too. So, start with assessing why you want to control your spending and where your savings will go. This way, finishing the game will not lead to splurging. For instance, you can say you’re doing this challenge to have extra money to experience debt-free living, go on vacation or make an investment.
2. Set a Time Frame
The next step is to determine how long your game plan will be. It’s entirely up to you, but you should talk it out with your partner or family. Some prefer doing it for the weekend, while others can do a week, month and even year-long challenge. I suggest you start small, then work your way up. It will give you room to figure the game out. Plus, making little achievements will keep you motivated.
3. Stock Up
Now that you know your time frame, it’s time to do some prep work. Check your pantry and fridge to see if you have enough supplies when you start the no-buy challenge. Ensure you have sufficient toiletries, hygiene items, pet food and medicines as well.
Create an inventory if you want to avoid missing out on anything. Then shop for things that you need to replenish. Make sure not to buy more than you need as that will defeat the purpose of the game. Shop smart and apply practical grocery habits you know.
4. Establish Your Ground Rules
The best thing about the no-spend challenge is that you get to make the rules. You have control over how doable yet challenging the game will be. Generally, your ground rules should cover the item you can buy and which ones you should skip. Here are some ideas:
- Spend on essentials only. These items may include groceries, bills, medicines and gas.
- Skip non-essential expenses. These may include new clothes, restaurant dining, spa service, subscriptions, online shopping and entertainment. Studying your previous purchases and monthly budget is a great way to follow this rule and avoid impulse spending.
- Allow purposeful luxuries. You can buy a new laptop for work, for example, if it suddenly broke down. The same rule applies to essential home or car repairs.
5. Think of Fun No-Spend Activities
With your no-spend challenge rules in effect, you’ll be avoiding random trips to the mall or coffee shop. Taking out your favourite things or hobbies that make you spend can be disheartening, I know. But you can always fill the gaps with activities that won’t cost you a thing.
- Make the most of your backyard. Plan a scavenger hunt with the kids, play some sports or go indoor camping.
- Visit the local park or library. If it’s within walking distance, use it as an opportunity to explore your neighbourhood and see the sights.
- Have a movie night. Raid your pantry for snacks and popcorn, then look for something good to watch with the kids. Playing board games is a good idea, too.
- Set an exercise routine. You can do a few laps in your pool, jog around your place or use online workout videos. You’ll be saving money and staying healthy at the same time!
- Start a meal plan habit. Use up your pantry staples, so you can save time and avoid spending on takeaways.
6. Find Ways to Earn Extra Income
Aside from doing cheap but fun activities during the no-spending challenge, perhaps you can also use it as a time to earn extra cash. That way, you’ll be more productive and less preoccupied about the sacrifices you have to make to win the game. It will help build up your savings, too.
You can use your spare time organising your closet, for instance, and looking for things you can sell online or through a garage sale. Part-time digital work like blogging, social media management or virtual assistance is on-demand as well. If you need more at-home ideas to make extra income, this article might help.
7. Involve the Whole Family
Once you have everything ready and planned out, talk with the whole family. Explain to them what the no-buy challenge is all about and why you’re doing it. Let the young ones join in the fun, too. It will be a perfect time to teach kids about money and saving. You can also let your relatives and friends know about your little family activity. This way, they can support you (and perhaps, hold those party invitations for now).
No-Spend Challenge Takeaway
When you complete the challenge, use the money you’ve saved for something good. Consider taking a longer time frame next if you want. Also, it is not a big deal if you have to make unexpected purchases during the challenge. What matters is you being more conscious about your spending habits and doing something to correct them. Just reset and get back on track!