If you’ve spent some serious spending this summer and missed your savings goals, consider taking on a no-spend challenge.
The idea is quite simple: if you want to save money and spend less, make a game of it. See if you can go a day, a week, or even a month without spending any money except for the necessities. Rent or electricity bill would be a necessity; a burger and fries, assuming you have food at home, wouldn’t.
If your no-spend challenge is successful, you should soon have more money in your bank account. And if you do a no-spend challenge long enough or often enough, you might even develop better spending and money management habits.
So how do you do a challenge without spending? We have some tips and ideas for no-expense challenges.
- Have a goal in mind.
- Get your kids involved.
- Set small goals first.
- Recruit others to join.
- Plan for exceptions.
- Try a specific challenge with no expense.
- Give yourself a reward.
Have a goal in mind
In other words, why are you doing a no-expense challenge? The more specific your goal, the better.
âExplain why you should stop spending money. Is it to pay off your credit cards, save for a vacation, or do you want to break the cycle of consumption? Talk about your goal, âsays John McConnell, founder of McConnell Financial, a corporate wealth management company in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Get your kids involved
If you have kids, let them participate, suggests McConnell.
âChildren want to be part of the solution and are aware of possible family tensions around money. Talk openly about money with children. Get them involved, âsays McConnell. âGet away from the fear of tightening the budget and you’ll be surprised how they’ll keep you on track. In my house, my 12-year-old is my police target, and he’s tough.â
Set small goals at the start
For example, if you’re shooting high with a no-spend challenge that lasts for a month, start with “try not to spend Monday through Thursday,” suggests McConnell. “A lot of people can be thrifty for a few days but can’t take it, so start small.”
Recruit others to join
A no-expense challenge might actually be fun, rather than a chore or sacrifice, if you do it with friends and have support.
Heather Albrecht, financial coach and founder of Balance Financial Coaching in White River Junction, Vermont, says she ran no-expense challenges in a Facebook group and participated in others as well.
Having a group of people to hold you accountable helps a lot when it comes to challenges without the expense, Albrecht says.
âThe group aspect helps keep the challenge in mind and keeps you excited about what you’re doing. It also allows you to be of help when other people are commenting on the issues they are having because you can support them and, in return, get help. when you need it, âsays Albrecht. âProviding support to others is a delicate way to prevent the mind from making excuses to quit smoking. “
Plan for exceptions
You can probably handle a no-expense challenge that lasts a day or two, but if you’re aiming for a week or a month, that’s when things start to get tricky.
âI always tell participants to plan when they want to take on the challenge and see what can happen,â says Albrecht. “Are there any birthdays or outings already planned? Decide ahead of the challenge if there are any exceptions to the challenge and just make sure you stick to them – and there shouldn’t be many,” adds she does.
Try a specific challenge without expenses
It doesn’t have to be a challenge where you don’t spend any money at all except on the crucial bills. Definitely don’t take the challenge of not spending to the extreme and don’t make payment for your car.
Maybe you should try a pantry challenge, suggests Sam Zelinka, who lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and runs a personal finance website for federal employees.
âMy wife and I have taken on a number of no-expense challenges, but our favorite type of no-expense challenge is a pantry challenge where we try not to shop for as long as possible,â Zelinka explains. financial incentive to try to keep meal costs low. They have three children.
âBy avoiding the grocery store, the pantry challenge forces you to eat food that you have already frozen or stored,â Zelinka explains. âYou’ll want to set some ground rules before you start your pantry challenge, like how long you plan to do the pantry challenge and a very clear list of what you will and won’t buy during the period. challenge.”
For example, Zelinka says that you can afford to buy milk when you run out of it, but you won’t allow yourself to buy cereal until the challenge of not spending is over.
It’s really fun, Zelinka says. You’ll find creative uses for junk in your pantry and freezer.
âWhile we took on a lot of challenges without the expense, the pantry challenges are our favorites,â he says.
Give yourself a reward
When you meet your challenge not to spend, McConnell suggests that you reward yourself. Nothing extravagant, of course. For example, it offers an ice cream evening at home with the family. But have fun – and if you’re doing it with family or friends, discuss what went well and what didn’t.
âTalk about your experience. The first few days will be very difficult, but once you get through that initial phase it will get easier and easier,â he says.
And if all goes well, you will soon have another mission to accomplish: how to spend the money you saved on your challenge wisely without spending.