How To Make No Spend Days Successful (And When Not To)

No spend days are quite the thing these days. Some people love them and some people hate them.

Some people think they work and some people don’t.

I loves me a no spend day, in fact I love having quite a few of them. But there’s little point having them if they don’t help you save more money.

The question you have to ask yourself is: Would no spend days work for me?

woman in business dress with bag and phone

What are No Spend Days?

It’s exactly what it says on the tin – a day when you spend no money. Whether by cash or card, you do not spend for that one day.

It’s not about your financial commitments like mortgages, utility bills and other direct debits you may have. These still need paying as planned.

You don’t want late fees or unnecessary defaults on your credit reports.

The focus is on your discretionary spending. The spending you are consciously or unconsciously choosing to do, because you can.

So you don’t spend on things like:

  • clothes
  • beauty treatments
  • groceries
  • coffee
  • lunch at work
  • eating out
  • gas
  • snacks from the corner shop

If you already have days without spending money then great. But if you are at the beginning of your journey and wondering how not to spend money everyday then no spend days are going to be a big help.

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How To prepare for a no Spend challenge

I love no spend days and challenge myself sometimes to achieve a certain number of them in a month.

They are a great way to press pause on your impulse spending, just for the day.

However, it helps to think about how not to spend money for a whole day. Plan and organize yourself a little bit in order to make your no spending challenge a success.

  • If you usually buy lunch, you need to prepare and bring your own
  • You need to plan drinks if you are at work or out for the day
  • Leave your credit cards and cash at home, means you have no money to spend
  • If you are going out for drinks with friends, mentally prepare yourself to order just tap water
  • Give some thought to how you will answer anyone who questions what you are doing and why.

I never spend money on a work day. I take my lunch, snacks and drinks with me. The weekends are my spendy days so these are the days I challenge myself on.

The benefits of having No Spend Days

No spend days are a great way to find your weak points when it comes to impulse spending.

You will realize where your money has been going precisely because you will not spend money that way for one day.

If you constantly spend a little money here and a little bit there, no spend days can help you create new, better money habits.

You can press pause on a spendy week and give yourself time to gather your thoughts and regroup.

If you’ve got financial goals, having a no spend challenge gives you the opportunity to fast track extra cash into your savings.

They are a nice motivator to save a little money and lead onto bigger and better things.

They help you get a bit more creative with what you can do without spending any money.

They are very easy to achieve, so a good small challenge to set yourself. You can ramp up your no spend challenge by setting a higher number of no spend days to achieve in the month.

They can lead on to bigger no spend challenges. Ones where you press pause on all impulse and discretionary spending for a week, a month or even a year!

Related post: 45 Creative Ways To Save Money (You Need To Know)

How many no spend days should you have each week?

If you never spend money on a Sunday then you would be fooling only yourself if you suddenly start counting that as a no spend day.

For myself, when I was working I never spent money Monday through Thursday. Not online, not in a coffee shop, nothing. So those days (unless on vacation) were excluded when I set myself a no spend challenge.

If you spend consistently 7 days a week then start with a no spend challenge to learn how to spend no money on one day each week.

If you’ve set yourself a stretching savings goal and want to ramp up your bank account balance then why not try a spending freeze for 2 days in a row? Or 2 separate days in the same week?

note book with inscription of 'learn to say no' on page - no spending days

4 Reasons Why No Spend Days Might Not Work For You

No spend days are not for everyone. It’s absolutely OK if they are not for you.

If now is not the time to deal with any of the issues that not spending money for one day may raise then don’t put pressure on yourself.

There are other ways of saving money that you can do successfully:

How To Radically (And Successfully) Cut Your Expenses

How To Spend Less Money (And Save) – 6 Easy Tricks

1. You Will Feel Guilty If You Fail

If your unplanned spending was unavoidable (e.g. car breakdown) try not to feel guilty. Plan another day to not spend instead.

If your unplanned spending was avoidable then get back on your no spend challenge bike and plan another.

If at first your don’t succeed, try, try again.

2. You Have A Self-Sabotaging Mentality

For example tell yourself you can’t do something and immediately you feel you must do it.

Entirely up to you but consider whether that is a habit and mentality you want to foster and continue?

You might want to consider whether using a no spending day challenge could help you get rid of this self sabotaging mentality?

3. You Can’t Bear Missing Out On A ‘Bargain’

Consider whether really, truly, it’s a bargain you must have. It may well be repeated in a few weeks time.

If you were also applying the 30 day rule to impulse spending then you wouldn’t be buying the item right now anyway.

4. You Know You Will Stock Up Beforehand Just In Case You Run Out

One no spend day lasts for just 24 hours. What exactly is there to stock up on? Perhaps this is an area you need to delve further into?

small rolled up bundles of dollar notes

What Other People Think

Some people don’t aspire to achieve no spend challenges. Perhaps because they feel restricted by them, perhaps because they feel they don’t need them.

If you have a budget that you absolutely stick to unthinkingly then maybe you don’t need to focus on no spend days.

But many of us aren’t perfect with our budgets or actually like to have a fun financial goal to aim for. It helps to concentrate your mind.

And who doesn’t like the feeling of winning when you achieve your set goal of X no spend days?

5 Tips To Succeed With Your No Spend Days

  1. Be prepared for the day ahead, know what you are doing and have a plan on how you won’t spend any money
  2. Make a note of every time you would have spent money but didn’t – it’s a great way to analyze your spending/non-spending habits
  3. If it’s your weekend, get busy doing something else, if you are bored you are more likely to want to spend money
  4. Plan your food so you don’t get caught out
  5. Do your challenge with someone else, this is especially helpful if you are aiming for a number of no spend days in one month

What is a no spend week?

A no spend week is a great way to start cutting back on your spending and saving some money. A week is a good enough length of time to feel the difference to your everyday habits.

No coffees, no lunch out at work. No Saturday nights out. You can save a decent chunk of change in just a week if you put your mind to it.

How do you do a no spend week?

How to not spend money for a week? If you’ve already completed a no spend challenge or two, maybe through a series of no spend days then a no spend week just takes that bit longer. It’s just 7 days of not spending money.

Use the experience you have from previous challenges to make life easier. Pack your lunch, brew your own coffee, find things to do with no money.

What’s a no spend month?

A no spend month is a period of time where you commit to not spending any money on unnecessary items. The aim is to spend no money on anything that is not a necessity.

The point of not spending for a whole month is to give you some time without the daily distractions of mindlessly spending. So that you can plan ahead and kickstart your financial goals.

How do you get through a no spend month?

Successfully achieving a no spend challenge that lasts a whole month is no mean feat. You need determination and you need to a have solid goal for why you are doing this. Especially if you are usually that person who whips out their credit card on a daily basis.

Completing a no spend week before attempting a no spend month is highly recommended.

how do I prepare for a no spending month?

There is a lot you can do to prepare for a no spending month, which doesn’t involve going out and stocking up. That kinda defeats the object of your spending freeze!

When it comes to groceries, you can still buy these as food is an essential item. However, to make the most of your savings goal why not have a pantry party? Or rather, use your pantry as the starting point for as many meals as possible? You might have a few random food combinations but it will save you money.

If you think you’ll miss seeing friends and family for a night out to much for a whole month, why not have a potluck party? Everyone brings a dish of something to eat. It costs you nothing and you’ll have a great time.

You might also want to make a list of things you can do for free so you’re not tempted to spend money on a night at the movies or someplace else.

use a No spend days tracker or chart

Many people set themselves a challenge for a number of no spend days in a month. That’s the kind of goal you want to track so use a no spend days chart or calendar to tick off each successful 24 hour period.

If you want an easy no spend tracker then feel free to download the tracker from my free resource library. Plus there are many other trackers and printables to help you in your quest to save more money.

What about a no spend days app?

There isn’t a specific no spend days app that you can download to purely track your challenge. However, if you already use a budgeting app like Mint or YNAB then these can act as an app to track your no spend days very easily.

challenge yourself with a no spending day

It’s entirely up to you whether you give yourself a no spend challenge of any sort. No spend days are the easiest, only lasting 24 hours.

You could consider a no spend challenge of a week or month, or how about a no spend year?

Realistically, its not logical long term to purely focus on no spend days. Your budget and your ability to live within your means is what is important. Those will help you secure your financial future.

Start taking back control of your money by grabbing your copy of the Money Saving Starter Guide today.

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Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

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Last Updated on 13th October 2021 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

1 thought on “How To Make No Spend Days Successful (And When Not To)”

  1. My family loves no spend days. I can shop for 1 month on my budget and the only adjustment was milk, eggs and bread so now we are power milk, homemade bread or alike and use eggs only when needed. We always keep an eye on savings such as car trips to stores. It’s fun and the savings can end debt plus give us a summer vacation.

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