8 Simple Tips for Success During a No-Spend Challenge Month

Welcome to February! We closed out our monthly pantry challenge and moved on to our new challenge. This month, we will be focusing on a no-spend challenge month. Last year, I combined the two {a pantry challenge and a no spend month} and it was eye-opening. I noticed my spending pitfalls very quickly {shopping was one...but at thrift shops, so is it really that bad?} and made some changes that ended up saving my family a few thousand dollars. 

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. Do you think a no spend month sounds interesting? Maybe something you would like to learn more about? Then read on! I've got a little no spend challenge for you with 8 simple tips that will help you succeed!

tips for success

8 Simple Tips for Success During a No Spend Challenge Month

8 tips for success with no spend challenge

Last year, I started a no-spend challenge month after a conversation with some friends at book club. I had never heard of it, but I've since discovered Facebook groups and tribes full of people who commit to no spend living for various reasons. Some of them commit for a month or a year, and some for a lifetime. I've noticed it's sort of a game for some people. 

I look at a no-spend challenge as a reset and I've got some simple tips that will help you be successful during a no-spend challenge month.

What is a No-Spend Challenge?


If you are new, start here. This post will explain everything you need to know about a no-spend challenge. 

A no-spend month is a month-long commitment to spend money only on the necessities. We all have things we spend money on, many of those things are unnecessary purchases {some maybe we've talked ourselves into thinking were necessary}, which can make it difficult to save money and is oftentimes keeping you from your financial goals.

What keeps this whole thing fun {and appealing?} is that it's a temporary challenge. You can do anything for {in this case} 28 days.

In case you missed it, these are our family's no-spend challenge rules.

The goal is to reduce spending on non-essential items and to take inventory of the things that you have. 

Have you ever picked something up at the store you thought for sure you were out of, only to place it on the shelf and find that you not only had one at home already, but you had MULTIPLES at home already? 

Some versions on a no-spend challenge

Some people find that they enjoy the "challenge" of a no-spend period of time. Some people choose a weekend every month, some do it for a month every year, some do it for up to a year {or more!} in anticipation of a big investment or high-ticket item. Regardless of how you do it, a no-spend challenge is a great way to save money! 

I'm going to be focusing on a no-spend month here so make sure you are subscribed to my email newsletter to get all the latest tips and tricks!

the most important thing to remember during a no spend challenge

Important Tip to Remember

**There are no rules for a no-spend challenge, outside of the ones you set for yourself. If you are finding yourself coming up with loopholes in your challenge plan, ask yourself why and reevaluate your end goal.

This is literally the most important tip I could give you for this challenge. Don't cheat yourself!

Simple Tips to Keep you On Track During a No Spend Month

NO SPEND challenge tips

Meal Plan

A no-spend month typically doesn't allow for eating out, unless your rules specifically allow for this. Some people set the boundary for only allowing themselves to eat out during a no-spend month if they have a gift card that will cover the total cost of their meal. If you want to cut out all unnecessary spending, meal planning will help you be prepared for eating at home during your no-spend challenge. 

I have lots of easy at-home recipes saved here on my blog. Check out the drop-down menu under real-life.

Don't make these meal planning mistakes that are costing you money!

Make Your Rules

As my friend always says, failure to plan is planning to fail. Lay out some ground rules for your family's no spend challenge month. These are our family rules, you can decide what works for your family. 

no spend challenge goals

Set Some Goals

The goal of a no-spend month isn't to not spend any money, your electric company probably wouldn't take this challenge as an excuse, so don't try it! However, it's to cut out unnecessary spending and to make note of spending impulses. For instance, I noted earlier how I noticed that thrift shops were my weakness when I completed the challenge last year. 

I actually make money as a side hustle by selling items I buy at a discount at thrift stores {especially at Goodwill Outlet} so I'm going to make an exception for spending that will be used for resale. 
Take some time to set up some goals for your no-spend challenge. Do you want to save a certain amount of money for something specific? What is your why behind doing a no-spend challenge?

Make a List of No-Spend Activities

This is important if you are a family doing this challenge together. If you make a challenge fun it seems, well, it seems like challenging! I'll be coming up with a list of fun no-spend activities later this month that I'll share with you. In the meantime, spend some time coming up with a list for your family.

Plan Ahead

There is no perfect time in life to take part in a no-spend challenge, so if you already have something on your calendar that you know will deviate from your no-spend challenge month, make note of it now. 


Don't be tempted by sales coming into your inbox. Remove the temptation to shop from home and hit unsubscribe. I promise you, if you found the store before, you will find it again. 

Want to know 7 ways to stop overspending on impulse buys? Check this out!

Stay Out of the Stores

Don't be tempted and stay out of the stores as much as possible. I do the bulk of our grocery shopping, and I often {ie every.single.time deviate from my grocery list because I see a sale}. If this is you, order your groceries online, or in my case, I'm sending my husband because he has a list and he follows the list. 

If you are tempted at the mall, skip the mall. If you find yourself bored and scrolling the internet, go back to that list you made of no-spend activities. 

Take Inventory

During a no-spend month, it's a good time to pull out whatever it is that you hoard. We all do it. Maybe you "collect" makeup or beauty supplies, maybe you stock up on candles and foaming hand soap. Whatever it is, take inventory of your "stash" so you don't keep repeat buying. There is nothing more humbling than seeing how many tubes of mascara you have to stop you from buying more tubes of mascara. 

Have you taken a no-spend challenge before? What have you found to help you be successful?

Read this recap from my no spend challenge last year

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1 comment

Mandy Cat said...

Over the past year I've discovered the magic of buying online from brick and mortar stores and picking up my purchases curbside or at the customer service desk. It forces me to do my comparison shopping in advance. It saves time and, more to the point in this discussion, it keeps me from wandering up and down store aisles looking at things I may not even have known existed but now suddenly MUST HAVE.

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