A No Spend Month is a challenge in which you don’t spend money on certain items for a month. The items mostly consist of products or expenses you don’t need or are unnecessary. You can think of the no spend month as a medium difficulty level for the no spend challenge, between no spend day and no spend year. If you have been doing no spend days or no spend weeks, then no spend month is the next step for you.
As with any other no spend challenge, the main goal of a no spend month is to save you money. That is the only quantifiable achievement you will get from the challenge. There are also many unmeasurable benefits you will get that will stick with you in the long-term. For example, by trying a no spend month challenge, you can analyze your spending patterns, get rid of compulsive shopping habits, discover yourself and get many other benefits.
How to Plan for your no Spend Month
The key to a no spend month, or any no spend challenge, in general, is to plan. A no spend month can be demoralizing if you don’t plan for it. If you have already tried smaller no spend challenges such as no spend days or no spend weeks, planning for a no spend month shouldn’t require much effort. After all, you already know the rules.
The first thing you want to plan about your no spend month is when you are going to take it. The time you take your no spend month challenge will also dictate how much you will save. For example, if you take your no spend month around the holidays, you can expect to save much more than if you take it after the holidays or any other season.
The next step to planning is to make a list of all your expenses. You can do this by observing how much and where you spend and noting it down with yourself. Once you’re done making a list of your expenses, you can categorize them into necessities and non-necessities. It will help you develop a general idea of where you need to cut your unnecessary spending. You can also use it as an opportunity to reassess your wants and your needs, which can help you in the long run.
Once the planning step is over, you should have a good idea of what you need to do to get started. The next step after planning is to prepare yourself.
Preparations to put in Place
As mentioned above, no spend month is about not spending on unnecessary expenses. You still need to pay for some inevitable expenses. These are the expenses you need to prepare for in advance. For example, you cannot go a month without paying rent or spending on food or even travelling. The general idea when preparing for these expenses is to find cheaper alternatives, wherever possible.
With rent, you cannot change anything, especially if you have already signed a rent agreement. With other expenses, such as food, you can switch to eating at home and avoid eating out. It can significantly bring down your spending and help you with your no spend month. The best idea when it comes to spending on food is to set yourself a budget and follow that.
Similarly, you have to find inexpensive alternatives for your travelling needs. For example, you can use public transport or use a bike to travel around. It’s not easy to set a travelling budget for yourself as travelling is not as predictable as food expenses. Therefore, the best idea is to always look for ways to avoid driving your car and save money.
How to still have a Social Life without Spending?
The question that people tend to ask often regarding the no spend challenge is whether it is possible to have a social life without spending. The answer to that question is yes, it is possible to have a social life regardless of whether you spend or not. Here are some ideas that can help you with your social life while on a no spend challenge.
- Plan your social activities beforehand.
- Learn to take advantage of free opportunities to socialize, such as going to free galleries, exhibitions, concerts, etc.
- Learn to say “No” to your friends. If your friends are supportive, they will support your decision.
- Hang out with friends that are also going through a no spend challenge or cutting down on expenses.
- Get into new hobbies that don’t need you to spend to socialize.
- Stick to the basics and learn to work with what you have.
How much can I save during a no spend month?
Depending on your lifestyle and the month you choose, you can save anywhere between $500 to $2,000 during a no spend month. If you decide to do your no spend month around the holidays, you can potentially save even more than that. Your aim should always be to spend nothing or the least amount possible during your no spend month.