Why & how to do a no-spend challenge | your money goal for October | 12 Months to Get Good with Money

Hey reader,

Welcome back to 12 months to get good with money, a series of bite-sized steps to take over each of the 12 months of the year to get good with money slowly. Let’s recap the past few months:

In January, you made a budget.

In February, you made savings goals.

In March, you separated your savings accounts and learned about automation.

In April, you made a plan for your taxes.

In May, you learned the general concepts of investing and did research on the investing vehicles that are available to you.

In June, you created your investing plan.

In July, you made a plan to spend less and save more.

In August, you made a plan to earn more

In September, you did an exercise to help align your spending with your values.

Now, it’s October, and your goal is to plan and try a no spend challenge. Despite the fact that I’m usually not into limiting or cutting spending, I’m still someone who loves no spend challenges for the clarity they provide me in my budget.

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.

While you can plan to join me for this year’s No Spend November, 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.

Let’s talk about all the benefits of no spend challenges.

  1. 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.
  2. Much like fasting, no spend challenges can renew your gratitude and put your situation into perspective.
  3. 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
    • Last year, when I did my No Spend November, I looked at my dining budget with a critical eye, and realized that I was spending more money on national food chains instead of local restaurants, and this helped me make a resolution to buy more locally, which I’ve stuck to since.
  4. And, of course, they can save you money 🙂

How to make your no spend rules:

  1. Determine a timeline (a weekend, a week, a month) and set a goal about of days to not spend any discretionary money
    • Last year’s NSN my goal was 18 days completely without discretionary spending
  2. Make your exceptions
    •  Mine are usually groceries, gas, bills
  3. Track your spending during this time

And it’s that simple! Comment below what your no spend set up is going to be. Remember, it’s not a good idea to go into a no-spend blind. You should be keeping a budget, so click here to get my free budget template.

🙂 Rachel

P.S. f 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

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