Have you ever done a “no-spend” week?
Well if you haven't it is what it's name implies, you literally don’t spend money for an entire week. It’s a great way to save money for a week, and also help you understand your financial goals, your budget, where you spend your money, what you can't live without and more.
You can pay your bills ahead of time, such as mortgage/rent, car insurance, student loans, credit card bills, groceries, the week before. Even though you are trying to take control of your finances on your pathway to financial freedom, you certainly don't want to be late on any of your bills.
It really is that simple: no buying gasoline or groceries, shopping (online or in-store), or anything else. Some people do no-spend months, or no-spend 6 months, a year or even two years! Well, good for them, but let's not get crazy straight out of the gate. First, try a week, or even just one day, and see if you can stick to it.
The key is to take small baby steps. Just like diets or anything else extreme, if you do too much, you'll be wanting dessert and to spend your money like crazy if you cut it out completely.
Here are some tips to stick to your first no-spend week. Try for the full 7 days, but if you can't do it on the weekends, consider that it is a 5-day workweek. This way you'll still feel good about your progress.
1. Review your calendar and choose the right week.
Pick a week where you realistically won't feel strapped. Review when you pay most of your bills: beginning or end of the month. Then check for holidays or three day weekends and work around those days.
2. Decide what you want your “extra” money to go toward.
You choose your goal and what you want to stick to. Maybe you looking to start your emergency fund, pay off debt, go on a vacation, buy a new purse, add to your entertainment fund. Whatever it is choose something that will motivate you to stick to your goal.
3. Purchase any groceries and necessities you will need for the week.
After you have picked your week, plan what you’ll need to last through the week. Check toilet paper, shampoo, groceries, gas, etc. It is especially tempting to buy food out and you can slip up easily with fast food, coffee or take out.
4. Stay home or find free entertainment.
This is free entertainment. Watch some of the movies you have laying around that you haven't watched in awhile. Play a board game with your family or friends. Use the internet for something other than online shopping. Or if you love to online shop, place the items into your carts, but don't actually buy.
7. Be prepared
During the week, someone will invite you to dinner, or you will crave your favorite restaurant. Just pass or wait until the end of the week. Or better yet, offer an alternative. Do you want to come over and watch a movie? A no-spend week will open your eyes to how much you are spending on non-necessities. So you can realistically see where your money is going.
Do you spend money on Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts everyday? Try preloading a gift card and using that for the month only a few days a week.
Do you stop for a snack on the way home? Pack a snack for your day.
Do you only shop? Unsubscribe from all of the stores your subscribed too, just stay subscribed to the ones you really love.
You'll really start to see where most of your money goes. Then you can plan ahead and make adjustments for the next week.
Have you ever done a no-spend week? If so, how did it go? If not, are you willing to try it? Why not? What is motivating you to try it? Tell us in the comments below.
Looking for a fun no-spend week idea for friends or family? Invite them over for a bonfire, and hang out and talk.
Or try a dessert date where you and your significant other bring or make dessert, without purchasing something or going out to eat.