No Spend Challenge

A No Spend Challenge: 28 Days of Being Simply Frugal.

As you may know, I did a month-long No Spend Challenge in 2008 (before Simply Frugal began) which impacted my spending habits to this day.  I obviously found it quite helpful financially in the long term.

Still, I struggled with the idea of leading a No Spend Challenge because in reality, the way to a solid financial foundation is not to stop spending, but to learn to spend responsibly.

As we move forward in preparation for the 28 Day challenge in January, I thought it was important to share my heart and ideas behind the challenge.

First of all, keep in mind that I don’t think spending on the things you want is bad but, a No Spend Challenge may be just what you need, to realize your desire for stuff is just that, a want, not a necessity.  While it may not eliminate any debt you have, it could possibly be the reality check you need, to turn your spending habits around. (I definitely found this true during my experience!)

My hopes of what you’ll get out of the challenge:

  • You’ll learn to occupy your time with things other than shopping
  • You’ll be encouraged to be more creative and productive with your time
  • You’ll learn to distinguish the difference between a want and a need
  • You’ll begin to appreciate what you already own

Throughout the month, as the name suggests, you’ll have to cut out or limit unnecessary spending and learn how to say no to the things you want.

On that note, we might as well get into the No Spend “Rules”:

For any sort of challenge there needs to be a set of rules or guidelines in place, right?  For the January 2017 No Spend Challenge, I’ve got one rule:

No spending on anything that isn’t absolutely essential.

Of course, the challenge is a No Spend Challenge, but it’s impossible to cut out all your spending.  Bills still need to be paid and mouths still have to be fed!  But in January, we’re going to be trying our hardest to live well, while using what we already have and being creative with our time and resources!

For our family, that means paying our regular bills, as well as purchasing some groceries. We have quite a few things in our pantry and freezer so we’ll most likely get away with buying only fresh products like milk, eggs, cheese and fruit & vegetables. We will also most likely have some expenses to do with the purchase of our new home. (Think lawyer fees and other exciting stuff :P)

No spending on anything that isn’t essential will look different to each family.  Here are a few examples of expenses you can cut out for the month:

  • Eating out (at restaurants)
  • Coffee from coffee shops
  • Clothing
  • Entertainment
  • Toys
  • Cosmetics
  • Hobbies—crafts, sports, classes, etc.
  • Alcohol and other vices
  • Home décor

What do you think is going to be the hardest thing to let go of?

Are you on board?  Join us over at the Simply Frugal Community group on on Facebook. Along with each post I publish on Simply Frugal, we’ll be having a discussion about the topic in the group. If Facebook isn’t your thing, I’d love to have you join by leaving comments in the comment section below each post.