How to do a No Spend Month Challenge

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Have you tried a no spend month?

A no spend month can be a great way to kick start the new year, or hit a financial goal you’ve been trying to reach.

New to budgeting? A no spend month can help you realize just how much you have been spending on miscellaneous expenses.

Trying to start your debt free journey? A no spend month can help you put down your first big debt payment, and give you the motivation you need to keep going.

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My husband and I decided that January would be the perfect month for our no spend challenge.

Since December is usually all about spending, that leaves January with the perfect set up for saving and revisiting our financial goals.

For our no spend month, we will pay our essential bills, and buy groceries as usual (although I’ve seen some no spend challenges where you try to use up all the groceries in your home).

Then, we will use only spare change, gift cards, or money from items we sell to purchase “wanted” items (and really only if something completely unexpected comes up).

Are you in for a no spend month?!

Grab the free no spend month calendar, so you can keep track of your own rules, goals, and check off your no spend days.

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    No Spend Month Rules

    There are no specific rules for a no spend challenge. You can definitely make your own!

    The point is to spend as little as possible, and propel yourself toward a financial goal with all of the money you save.

    Our no spend month rules include:

    Money will be spent on bills and minimum debt payments only.

    We will use our regular grocery budget.

    • I’ve seen people do a “pantry challenge” or other no spend food challenge where they use up everything in their fridge and pantry.

    We can use spare change for spending.

    • Since we use cash envelopes, we end up tossing our change into a bucket that fills up over the year.
    • We counted it all up and have about $170 in there.
    • We will be able to use this money for our miscellaneous spending this month.
    • We are going to start a new tradition of doing this every year!

    Gift cards are okay.

    • Since Christmas just ended, it’s a good time to use up those gift cards.
    • If you’re doing a no spend month any other time of year, i’m sure you have a few gift cards that you haven’t used!
    • This is a great time to use them up, or you can sell them for extra cash on the Cardpool app.

    Preparing for a no spend month

    The best way to be successful at your no spend month challenge is to plan ahead.

    Do your budget!

    • If you want your no spend challenge to work, you need to do your zero based budget first.
    • This way you can estimate how much money you will have left over at the end to put toward your goal.
    • Plus, it will be helpful in deciding what the bare minimum is that you need to live on!

    Choose your month wisely.

    • Don’t pick a month where you have a big family wedding, or an expensive holiday, or a lot of birthdays.
    • January works great for us, even though it’s our anniversary.
    • We decided this would be a great month to do a no spend challenge and either get creative with our anniversary gifts, or wait until February.

    Get on the same page with your spouse.

    The no spend challenge will only be frustrating if you’re not on the same page with your spouse or significant other.

    Set a goal.

    Your no spend challenge will be more fun if you set a goal for what you will do with the extra cash you save.

    Some no spend challenge goal ideas are:

    • Fill your “baby step 1” starter emergency fund of $1000.
    • Put all the extra money to your smallest debt to get your debt snowball rolling.
    • Use the money to kickstart a financial goal like a house down payment, or save for a car.
    • Get caught up on your bills if you are behind, or just learning to budget.

    Use a printable no spend tracker or calendar.

    Keeping a visual to hang up on the fridge all month will help you, and the whole family, stay motivated during your no spend month.

    Related: How to make a debt free vision board

    Are you ready to try and succeed at a no spend month?

    Let me know in the comments if you have questions, it will help me improve this blog post for the future!

    Download the free no spend challenge calendar and make sure you let me know how much you saved, and the goals you hit, at the end of your no spend month.

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    No Spend Calendar

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.
      A no spend challenge can help you learn to budget, save extra money to pay off debt, or build your baby step 1 starter emergency fund.
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      1. February is our anniversary – we love to camp and live in a place where that is easy to go for cheap/free 😊

        No spend month would help me break my addiction to Amazon 🥺… I live remote and I get lonely – so I shop online

        We are needing a new well (minimum $20K) so the no spend would also help us get closer to getting the well, then back to paying off debt… because of where we live, we have an emergency fund of $1,500 already saved and been working on debt (not as hard as we should until recently)…
        Ok 👍 let’s do a no spend February
        The month of love to be closer to debt free 💕

      2. This will be my first time (I am 51) truly committing to a no spend month! And even looking at going into March.
        We have been needing to put in a new well for a couple years and didn’t have the money… this will help greatly!
        Thank you for clear guidelines, my husband was ‘no way, I will need gas to get to work’ 🤦‍♀️
        I shared this with him and he got on board! 🎉


      hi! I'm shannon

      I’m a wife, mom of three, doctor, and blogger! In 2018, I decided to turn my mom blog, into a personal finance blog so others could follow along on our journey to pay off over HALF a MILLION dollars in student loan and practice start up debt. I hope you enjoy following along, and maybe even find some inspiration along the way.