10 Tips to Successfully Complete a No-Spend Month!

10 Tips to Successfully Complete a No-Spend Month!

No-Spend November is upon us! While a no-spend month can be done any month of the year, it's quite popular around this time of year, isn't it? Perhaps it's a bit of a calm-before-the-storm kinda thing before the very spendy holiday season? Or maybe it's just a nice alliteration? Who knows? I've completed many no-spend months, and I'm here today to share my tips on how to successfully complete a no spend month. Read on for my ten tips!

1. Plan ahead

2. Focus on work and making money versus spending

3. Create new habits, develop new hobbies, chase after new goals, and use what you have

4. Unsubscribe and unfollow

5. Print or create savings or debt trackers for motivation

6. Find inspiration on the Internet

7. Realize "things" aren’t as important as your goals

8. Hang out with yourself, but inform your friends and family

9. Don’t give in to temptation, but don’t be hard on yourself if you do

10. Reflect and have gratitude

Seems pretty easy, right? Read on for more thoughts on each of my ten tips, plus some bonus tips at the end. Please feel free to leave a comment with your tips for success!

1. Plan ahead
This by far is the most important step for successful non-spending. It would be almost impossible (challenge accepted?) to actually spend zero dollars in a month. People gotta pay bills, people gotta eat, people gotta go to baby showers. When I say "plan ahead," I mean "figure out what you're allowing yourself to spend your hard-earned money on this month." Look at the monthly calendar. What holidays are this month? What events are you invited to? Whose birthday is coming up? I've learned that if you allow yourself to spend on these things, you'll be less likely to relapse at the mall. If possible, spend on these kind of events before the month starts. You'll just buy the gift on someone's registry, but you won't be as likely or tempted to put more items in your cart. Also, keep a list of things you wanted to buy throughout the month. When the month is over, if you really truly wanted it, you'll know and maybe you'll buy it. But I'll bet you won't want a lot of what's on that list.

2. Focus on work and making money versus spending
If you don't think about spending money, you have more time to think about a lot of other things. One of those things could be your work (which could lead to a raise or promotion) or a side hustle. If your brain is focused on work or side hustles (or anything really), it will be less focused on spending.

3. Create new habits, develop new hobbies, chase after new goals, and use what you have
This is a big one. There is a LOT to work with here. I'll start with an example. A few months ago, I decided to do a no-spend month while also walking 7,500 steps per day. In order to hit 7,500 steps a day, I had to walk on my lunch breaks at work. Since I was walking for 45 minutes, I wasn't running to Target or Wawa, I wasn't buying a bag of chips or a new candle, and I wasn't wasting gas or putting mileage on my car -- all the while getting in some extra exercise and accomplishing goals. (Note: I've fallen off the lunch-break-walking wagon and writing about it is making me miss it so badly!) A new habit was created, new goals were accomplished, and I was happier, healthier, and wealthier! Try to find ways to reach your goals or develop new hobbies without spending money. Another example: let's say you have a lot of craft paint in your closet. Why not spend an hour a night completing some painting projects? It's relaxing and fun, you're using up something you have instead of buying new, and you can even create art to sell or give as gifts. (See side hustle above.)

On the topic of using what you have: this goes hand-in-hand with my minimalism journey. You might not realize that you (for the most part) already have what you need. I mean this in a broad way and there are many exceptions, but if you find yourself in a situation where you think you need to buy something, try to be creative and work with something you already have. Re-purposing and upcycling can be very helpful in a pinch during a no-spend month.

4. Unsubscribe and unfollow
This is one of the easiest ways to curb spending any day of the week. Click that unsubscribe button, friends! Click it as soon as you get a new promotional email. If you aren't constantly barraged with marketing emails, you won't be tempted to buy anything. You won't want it if you don't know it exists, right?? And you can always re-subscribe later if you absolutely must. Also, take a scroll through your social media feeds and unfollow or mute any accounts that are putting pressure on you to spend, either intentionally or unintentionally. A suggestion from a very wise friend of mind: "I have found that unfollowing local eateries helped cut down on temptation to dine out. This helped save money and calories!" Again, you can always follow again or unmute later on. Bonus tip: follow accounts that align with a no-spend month -- budgeters, minimalists, low-carbon-footprint people, and the like.

5. Print or create savings or debt trackers for motivation
Debtfreecharts.com/ is a great resource for savings or debt payoff trackers. These can be hugely motivational, especially during No-Spend November. Just don't purchase one that isn't free, during this month at least. ;)


6. Find inspiration on the Internet
As I mentioned earlier, I definitely recommend you follow some new accounts on social media that will inspire you. Social media aside, there are endless websites, blogs, YouTube videos, and podcasts that can be informative and helpful to you on this journey.


7. Realize "things" aren’t as important as your goals
Once you break the spending habit, you will think so differently about spending money. One of the concepts that becomes so clear is that your goals are more important than the junk you want to impulse-buy. Everyone's goals are different, but let's say for example you want to travel to Europe on a two-week sightseeing vacation. If you envision that trip, you won't want to blow $12 at Chipotle. You just won't! You'll meal prep and cut coupons for weeks because you know that trip will be worth more than splurging on meals.


8. Hang out with yourself, but inform your friends and family
It's very very easy to spend money while being social. Unfortunately, this might mean that you'll become a bit of a hermit during your no-spend month. It might not happen, maybe you'll find ways to go out and socialize without spending a dime. However, it's a good idea to let your friends and family know what's up beforehand -- just in case they don't see you for a few weeks. Spending time with yourself is great! I'm touching on a few topics that were previously mentioned here but.. you will have more time to think about your goals, create habits, do research to learn more, and make plans for the future. Being introspective, especially during this typically dark and cold month, can be very refreshing and mind-opening.

Another thing to note: sharing this with friends and family can be a lovely thing. People are usually very supportive and want to see you succeed! They will often suggest no-spend hangouts and activities.


9. Don’t give in to temptation, but don’t be hard on yourself if you do
Something I've learned during my no-spend challenges is that you might need a bit of incentive to keep going. Try to treat yourself in no-spend ways, like using gift cards you may have stockpiled, cashing in rewards points on a food service app, or doing free activities in your town. If you do fail on the challenge, don't give up and don't be hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes! What's important is learning from those mistakes, growing, and becoming a better version of yourself.

10. Reflect and have gratitude
After the month is over, think back on your time during this challenge. Realize how hard you worked, how many sacrifices you made, and how much money you saved for your future goals. Have gratitude that you were even able to do it in the first place and plan ahead for your next one.

Thanks for reading friends! Good luck, and happy saving!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bags and Baby Clothes from Popreal!