A no-spend month or a no-spend challenge is where you don’t spend money in certain areas for a designated period. The rules are different for everyone, but the goal is to cut back on overspending and reevaluate your spending habits.

Everyone’s intention for the challenge will be different, but I’ll be sharing the rules that have helped me successfully do a no-spend challenge.

No-spend challenge

In this post, we outline everything you need to know for a successful no-spend challenge.


Why should you do a no-spend challenge?

It’s always a good idea to give your money a little reset, and a no-spend challenge is an excellent way to do so.

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You will become more aware of your spending habits and understand how much money you can save by setting goals for yourself and placing limits on what you can and can’t spend.

The perks of taking on a no-spend challenge are:

  • Amp up your savings
  • Discover spots to funnel more money toward your goals
  • Bump up your investment game
  • Hit your financial goals
  • Get a handle on your spending habits.

Get your FREE no-spend challenge tracker and guidebook here

no spend challenge

Rules for Your No-Spend Challenge

What you can spend on:

  • housing
  • utilities
  • insurance
  • internet/phone
  • groceries {limited budget so you can use whats in your pantry already}
  • gas
  • pet supplies (if you have one)

What you can’t spend on:

  • eating out (yes no takeout either)
  • clothes/shoes
  • home decor
  • online shopping
  • anything that is a need vs a want

Exceptions:

While each person’s no-spend challenge will be unique, I like to include exceptions in my no-spend month. For example, if there was a scheduled birthday party or other event that I was intending to attend, that would be categorized as an exception. Try to stay under three exceptions per no-spend challenge.

How to Start Your Challenge:

If you don’t know where or how to start, here’s a simple guide:

1️⃣  Pick a start date: Choose a day to kick off your challenge. Let the money-saving games begin! 

2️⃣  Set up your goals: Take a moment to jot down where you want to be in 30 days. Having clear goals will help you stay focused and motivated. 

3️⃣  Define your expectations: This is the fun part. Decide what expenses are allowed during this challenge. Stick to the essentials, like groceries (sorry, no DoorDash takeout this time), transportation, bills, and necessary home expenses.  

4️⃣  Make it real: Whether you print out the template or import it into a program where you can work on it digitally, make sure you can easily track your progress over the next 30 days. It’s like creating a roadmap to financial freedom! 

5️⃣  Stay Motivated: Keep your template in a place where you’ll see it every day. Let it be a constant reminder of your awesome money-saving mission. You’ve got more willpower than you realize! 

6️⃣  Learn, grow, and save: This journey will teach you so much about your spending habits. Take notes, reflect on your progress, and embrace the opportunity to become a more savvy spender and saver. Your future self will thank you.

How to Make Your No-Spend Challenge Successful

First things first, know your why

It’s important to have a clear reason why you’re doing this challenge. Maybe you’re saving up for a vacation, trying to pay off debt, or just want to be more mindful with your money. Whatever it is, remind yourself of your goals and why they’re important to you. Knowing your “why” will keep you motivated when things get tough.

Next, write out your expectations

Setting clear goals for your no-spend month will help you stay focused and accountable. Jot down what you hope to accomplish during this challenge and refer back to it whenever you need a boost of determination.

Tracking your progress is also key

You can’t improve what you don’t measure, right? So make it a daily habit to keep track of your spending and any slip-ups during the challenge. It’s not about beating yourself up over a little splurge, but rather being aware of your actions and learning from them.

Now, let’s talk food

Eating out can quickly drain your wallet, so why not challenge yourself to meal prep from your pantry? You’d be amazed at the delicious meals you can whip up using what you already have. Get creative and make the most of those forgotten cans of beans and boxes of pasta.

And when you do go grocery shopping, make sure to stick to a list. This way, you’ll avoid those unplanned purchases and be more mindful of what you’re bringing into your kitchen. Remember, this challenge is not about depriving yourself or punishing your wallet. It’s about gaining control of your spending habits and making intentional choices with your money.

Free Activities to Add to Your Routine During Your No-Spend Challenge

👉 Get your sweat on: Working out is a great way to use this time to get back into a workout routine. You’re already saving money, so why not make it a win-win by getting active? 

👉 Learn something new on YouTube: Who needs expensive classes when YouTube is a treasure trove of knowledge? Dive into YouTube University and learn a new skill or hobby. The best part? It’s all FREE! 

👉 Embrace the park life: Local parks are a godsend during a no-spend challenge. Grab a basketball, or soccer ball, or maybe even try your hand at pickleball. Most parks offer free access and provide a great opportunity for some social activities. You might even discover a new love for a sport! 

👉 Declutter your space: Take advantage of the extra time you’ll have during the challenge and declutter your space. Go through your kitchen, bedroom, and office, and get rid of things you no longer need. A clean and organized space = a clear and focused mind. 

👉 Negotiate those bills: Want to save even more money? Use this challenge as an excuse to call up your service providers and negotiate better rates. You’d be surprised at what kind of deals you can snag just by asking. Whether it’s your iPhone plan, WiFi, or even insurance, a little negotiating can go a long way. 

👉 DIY spa day: If you’ve got a stash of spa, facial, or bath products hiding in your bathroom closet, now is the time to use them! Treat yourself to a relaxing DIY spa day at home. Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll also get a well-deserved pampering session. 

👉 Dive into that book pile: Remember all those books you bought ages ago but never got around to reading? Now’s the perfect opportunity to finally dive into them. Get lost in a good story and let the time fly by.

These are just a few ideas that came to mind from my own experience with the no-spend challenge.

Trust me, they’ll make your life easier when you’re looking for something free to do.

This post was all about, everything you need for a successful no-spend challenge.

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