No Spend Year

Unlike its name, a no spend year isn’t a year where you don’t go without spending anything. A no spend year involves cutting down your unnecessary expenses for a full year. It still means you have to spend on necessities such as food, utilities, toiletries, etc. but not spending a single dime on things you don’t need such as luxury clothing, latest gadgets, etc.

Is a No Spend Year Achieveable?

While a full year without spending on discretionary items may seem a long time, some people have successfully achieved it. The end goal with no spend year can be different for everyone who takes it up. However, the main focus with it is to save money. If you think the no spend lifestyle isn’t for you, don’t be afraid to customize the program according to your needs beforehand. However, once you’re into it, try not to cheat your way out of it.

How to budget for groceries and travel?

As mentioned above, no spend year isn’t about completely cutting off your spending. There are still some things you will need to spend on, such as groceries or travel. The key to success, however, is to look for inexpensive alternatives.


When it comes to groceries, no spend years can do you more good than harm, especially if you’re someone who eats outside a lot. With groceries, you have to set yourself a budget, for example, £80 per week. It means you can spend up to £4,200 in a year on groceries. If you can’t control your eating budget, have your partner or a friend help you. Set yourself a cash stipend for food and ask them to pay it to you at the start of each week.

Setting a budget for groceries can not only help you save money but also get you to eat healthily. If you find yourself eating outside or eating junk food regularly, then it can help you significantly with your health. You can also use the opportunity to transition into a healthy lifestyle and leave unhealthy eating habits behind you. Similarly, you can also use the opportunity to learn how to cook, which is a bonus. If you have a job, you can take homemade food with you to ensure you don’t order from outside.


You don’t realize how much you spend on travelling until you see how much you can save by tweaking a few travelling expenses. Unlike groceries, you cannot predict when and where you will need to travel. Therefore, setting a budget for it might not be an option. However, you can easily save on travelling by using inexpensive alternatives as compared using your car. For example, you can use public transit or shared cabs instead of spending on fuel.

Similar to groceries, you can also find some healthy alternatives to not only help you save money, but also improve your fitness. For example, you can consider walking to work, if that’s an option, or using a bike whenever possible. While you may still need to spend on a bike, it’s not technically unnecessary if it can help you save money in the long run.

Is it achievable, though?

Yes, a no spend year is no impossible task. If you still need proof, you can watch Michelle Mcgagh’s TEDx talk about it titled “My No Spend Year”. In the video, Michelle talks about how a no spend year helped her save £22k. She discusses how she got started with her no spend year journey by discovering a box of unneeded things that she was paying storage fee for regularly. She goes on to describe how the no spend year had an impact on her lifestyle and helped her discover herself. The speaker further explains how a no spend year can help you recognize the important things around you, that you would generally ignore.

But its better you hear it from her than read about it here. You can watch her talk below.

What are the benefits of a No Spend Year?

The benefits of a no spend year are virtually endless. You can find some of them listed below.

  • It can you get rid of bad spending habits.
  • It can help you realize the value of your money and time.
  • You can save a respectable amount of money.
  • It can help secure you against suddenly losing your job or help you quit a job you hate.
  • You can use the money you have saved to finance your vacations.
  • You can pay off your debts from the money saved throughout the year.
  • It can also help you finance the down payment on your mortgage.
  • You can use it to save for your wedding.
  • It can help you save money to finance your higher education.

These are some of the possibilities in which a no spend year can help you save money.

How much can I save in a no spend year?

The best way to know for sure how much you can save with a no spend year is to start it. You can easily save up to £20k in one year. There are many examples of people saving £20k or even more with a no spend year. With a little bit of effort and steadfastness, you can even take it to the next level and possibly aim for £25k or even £30k with your no spend year.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about No Spend Month and No Spend Days.

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