I’ll be honest – I don’t always love the idea of a non-spend month. Like going cold turkey for a diet or other resolution, it can often be extremely difficult. Once you slip up, it’s easy to give up and go crazy. But, if you find yourself wanting to save money for the month, a no-spend month can be a great way to hit pause on your spending and get ahold of your finances. Here are my best tips for a no-spend month.
Tips for a No Spend Month
Set Ground Rules
This is so important. Are you cutting ALL discretionary spending? Or are you keeping things that are ongoing expenses, like your gym and streaming services? What happens when you have a birthday party to attend, or tickets to a must-see event are released for only a limited time? Set those rules up front, so you won’t be making emotional decisions when they come up.
Use Your Emergency Fund
After an expensive December (those Christmas gifts!!), I wanted to limit discretionary spending in January. Unfortunately, right after the first of the year, we had a few situations come up. My car needed brand-new tires to pass my inspection. Our snowblower stopped running and needed expensive repairs. We needed a few home repairs. These expenses can definitely derail one’s budget, but that’s why it’s so important to have an emergency fund. Use your emergency fund during your no-spend month if necessary (but ONLY for a true emergency).
Be Kind to Yourself
Mistakes happen. If you break your no-spend month, forgive yourself, and then recommit. Don’t let it stop you from meeting your financial goals.
Find Free Activities
It’s essential that you keep yourself busy during a no-spend month. Find free activities, like exercising with free online videos, and playing board games with your kids. If it isn’t too cold outside, get some fresh air and enjoy time taking walks and enjoying the outdoors.
It’s easy to forget that you are trying to cut spending when you are out wandering through a mall. Try to avoid all temptations by staying out of the stores. It’s also a great idea to unsubscribe from shopping newsletters and leave any Facebook groups with sales or merchandise.
Shop Your Home
Avoid the temptation to shop whenever you think you need something new. Instead, go through the things that you already own, and see if anything works for your purposes. It’s so much easier to just go shopping, but chances are, you can find something that you can use.
Find Other Ways to Reduce Spending
While you are in your no-spend month, find other ways to reduce spending. Can you reduce cable or any of your streaming subscriptions? Is it time for an energy audit? Are you subscribing to any subscription boxes that you don’t need?
Ease Into the Next Month
This is so important. If you start the next month by buying everything that you didn’t buy the month before, it’s all for nothing. Develop good financial habits and ease slowly into the next month.
Have you done a no-spend month?