Hey readers. Happy Monday!
November is one of my favorite months, and it’s just around the corner. I get to celebrate my birthday and my anniversary this month, as well as Thanksgiving, which is definitely in my top 3 favorite holidays. It’s also the month when money nerds around the world participate in no-spend challenges that suit their personal goals, and this year, I’m joining them.
So let’s chat about no-spend challenges. While the name suggests you cut spending entirely, that’s not exactly how it works. Instead, you determine which expenses are allowed and which expenses you want to challenge yourself to cut. Expenses that you must allow are: groceries, gas, bills, medications, and anything else that you must pay to live. Beyond that, you can decide allowances you want to make based on your own life.
I actually personally believe that the best way to try a no-spend challenge is by starting with a no-spend week or weekend. For example, you can decide that during the workweek, you want to challenge yourself to go without takeout coffee or lunch. Or, you can see an upcoming weekend we’re you don’t have any costly plans and determine to not spend any money at all that weekend.
There’s no “best” way to do a no-spend challenge, because it’s different for everyone. But when you’re planning a month-long no-spend, you need to be prepared to give a lot of exceptions in order to make it sustainable while still challenging.
I don’t tend to like restrictive money tactics, so it might be a surprise to some people that I do no-spend challenges. Here’s why I still think they’re worth a shot every now and then:
- If you’ve been budgeting for a while, no-spends can really bring some new energy and enthusiasm to money management, since you need to get creative.
- Much like fasting, no-spend challenges can renew your gratitude and put your situation into perspective.
- They challenge the status quo, and our own personal beliefs, about consumption
- This is the best part for me. I tend to fall into the subconscious thinking that I “need” to spend money often, when really I can go long stretches of time without having that need. It takes away the crutch of that easy serotonin-hit of buying something, and instead gives a lot of opportunities for reflection
- And, of course, they can save you money.
So here’s how I’m structuring my no-spend November.
My personal rules for NSN 2020:
- No spending on unnecessary items in the “other” category — online shopping, clothes, plants, decoration for the apartment, etc.
- Limit takeout: 3x/week or 13 times total
- Exceptions: birthday/anniversary spending, early Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving spending, and normal exceptions (groceries, gas, bills)
- Track all spending
- Goal: 18 days completely without discretionary spending
It’s been a long time since I’ve really challenged myself with my money. In all honesty, I believe that money should rarely be a challenge, and instead be a healthy, balanced aspect of your life. But every now and then, renewing your perspective and challenging your assumptions is a great way to learn more about your habits and hopefully work towards better ones.
So, will you join me? If you’ll be doing No-Spend November, comment below with your personal rules.
Don’t go into No-Spend November blind. Make sure to grab my free budget template to start your plan first.
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And if you need more guidance with goal setting, mindset shifting, and budget brainstorming, you can purchase my Money Map Workbook for just $9 –> Get Your Money Map Workbook