No Spend Challenge: Our Family Rules

Last week, I introduced you all to a no-spend challenge. A no-spend month or a no-spend challenge is where you don't spend money in a certain area for a designated period of time. The rules are different for everyone, but the goal is to cut back on overspending and reevaluate your spending habits. I can't set the rules for you because everyone's intention for the challenge will be different, but I can share the rules that our family has decided to use for this monthly challenge.
It's not too late to join us for the no spend February challenge! If you're curious, here are the rules our family will be following.

No Spend Challenge: Our Family Challenge Rules
how to create a habit of intentional spending

The goal of a no spend challenge is to reduce spending on non-essentials. I outlined everything you need to know about a no spend challenge here, so make sure you jump over and read that really quickly if you haven't already. 
If you haven't already, sign up for the challenge and I'll send you a no spend checklist with everything you need to get started. 
The ultimate goal for our family was to cut back on spending for anything that was a want, not a need. 

What can we spend money on during a no spend challenge?

  • housing
  • utilities
  • insurance
  • internet/phone
  • groceries {limited budget so we can use up what we have}
  • gas
  • dog food
  • activities {swim team}
  • charity donations

We are cutting out spending on the following items:

  • eating out
  • clothes
  • home decor
  • shopping
  • treats disguised as groceries {ready made food and drinks}
  • entertainment
  • anything that is a need vs a want

Some wiggle room in our rules:

We can use gift cards and reward cards. This is in an attempt to use what we have, though we can only use them if it's necessary. 

For instance, I have a lot of coffee meetings. There will be no Starbucks run for coffee just because, but instead, if it's a work-related meeting, then using a gift card is acceptable.

Other Considerations:


I have decided to set a lean cash-only budget for myself for groceries. This will prevent me from purchasing items we don't need this month at the grocery store. I want to use up what we have in the pantry and the freezer and will be using substitutions I have at home if possible. For instance, why buy bread when I can bake it? 


We have kids and jobs and fuel is a non-negotiable expense. However, I will be seeking out carpool opportunities this month and combining errands as much as possible so that I can cut back on some spending.

Subscription Services

We have several current subscription services {Amazon Prime, Netflix, Spotify} and I'll be taking the time to reevaluate our need to participate in them. Is there a less expensive service we can substitute or downgrade to as an option. All things I'll be looking into this month.


There isn't much wiggle room here. However, we do have some control over how long our showers are and how high the thermostat is set. 

Other Expenses

There are other expenses that we have set up as a necessary spend. However, some of those items have some wiggle room for negotiation. Can we get a better rate on our internet by calling the provider? Can we cancel our newspaper subscription {yes, we are those people!}

Your no spend challenge month is the perfect time to take a look at your monthly spending and see if you've created reoccurring expenses for your family that you just don't use, want or need.

Don't forget, sign up for the challenge and I'll e-mail you two free printables to help you keep track of your goals, your progress and your savings! 

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