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Want to save more money quickly? Try a no spend challenge using this free printable and tips to help you get started saving.
Are you looking for ways to improve your spending habits and save more money? If so, then a no-spend challenge might be perfect for you and your family.
What is a no-spend challenge?
A no-spend challenge is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, a period of time where you and your family don’t spend any money outside of what is necessary to pay bills, or buy groceries.
Your no-spend challenge can be as long or as short as you would like, but many families start with a couple of no-spend weekends as a trial run. Once you have that down, extend the challenge to two weeks, and from there a month or longer. Getting into the habit of NOT spending money can be harder than you think.
Every family’s no-spend challenge will be unique to their family and budgetary needs, so there is no need to compare your challenge to someone else’s. Before you begin the no-spend challenge you will need to decide what the rules of your challenge are.
For example, are you still going to buy groceries during your no-spend challenge or will you combine it with a pantry/freezer challenge? A pantry or freezer challenge is similar to a no-spend challenge except that you are trying to use up whatever you may have in your pantry and freezers without spending money on groceries for a set period of time. Not only does this help your food budget, but it also helps to prevent food waste from expired or freezer-burnt items.
You can use a meal planner (like the one I’m linking to) to do your own pantry/freezer challenge. Just use the inventory sheets to know what’s on hand and then using the meal planning sheets to create a meal plan using those items.
If you do continue to buy groceries during the challenge are you going to spend the same amount you always do or try to spend less and put that extra money with the money you saved during the challenge? (Don’t worry if a pantry/freezer challenge sounds like too much to add to a no-spend challenge, especially when you are first starting out.)
The purpose of a no-spend challenge is to not spend money on anything that is not absolutely necessary. You will still pay your mortgage or rent, car payment, insurance, utilities, and any school tuition for the kids. What you are trying to cut out is the money you may not think about spending like takeout, coffee shop coffees, going to the movies, or simply heading to Target and purchasing whatever strikes your fancy that day.
No Spend Challenge Tips
Don’t pick a time period with a lot of family birthdays or holidays. You don’t want any family member to feel like they are missing out on gifts, celebrations, or events because a birthday or holiday landed in the middle of your no-spend challenge.
Give yourself grace. Again, getting into the habit of NOT spending money can be harder than you think. If you or your spouse slip up and spend money just get right back to the challenge.
Involve the whole family. If your kids are old enough to understand, involve them in your no-spend challenge. This can be a great educational experience about saving money, and it may keep them from asking for things you aren’t spending money on during the challenge.
Have a list of free chores and activities. When you are, or the family is bored you may immediately think of going to do some free family activities like bowling, shopping, or going to the movies without factoring in how often you do it, or how quickly that money adds up.
Instead, before you begin the challenge have a list of things that you can do anything from cleaning out the attic or garage (this one can make you money if you find items you no longer need that can be sold), go for a family bike ride, or have a movie night at home with a DVD you already own.
No Spend Challenge Free Printable
To make your no spend challenge easier you can use this free printable. It works best for a 30-day no spend but you could use it for shorter times as well.
A no-spend challenge is a great way to boost your savings account, prepare for an upcoming vacation, or to pay down debt. You can also use it as a tool to see how much money you may be spending unnecessarily.
A no-spend challenge can be a very helpful tool in taking back control of your finances.