The 30 Day Rule: How To Save (More) Money

What is the 30 day spending rule, and can it really help you to learn how to save money?

You leave school and think you are done with rules. Then you go to work and find a whole bunch of rules you have to abide by.

But that’s OK because outside of work, you don’t need rules right?

Then you realize you’ve spent way too much money and need to:

  • create a budget (spending rule),
  • save money (spending rule) and
  • somehow stop yourself from spending too much money (another rule)

And then you come across the 30 day rule, that is actually called a rule – yikes!

But if it saves you money, perhaps it’s a good rule to have?

financial desktop with red calculator, pink piggy bank wearing glassed and some dollar bills to signify what is the 30 day rule
Make saving money easy

Saving money

In theory saving money should be easy.

Spend less than you earn and save the rest.

In practice, it’s not as simple as that and that’s why you need a little extra help to get you in the savings habit.

Financial goals, no spend challenges and impulse spending rules are all designed to help you manage your money better.

What is the 30 day rule?

The rule is very simple.

If you see something you want then wait 30 days before you buy it.

How does it work?

The 30 day rule to save money is a rule, no getting away from it. But it’s only a temporary rule.

Put the money it would cost into a savings account for those 30 days.

If you still want it in 30 days then feel free to go buy it.

No longer want said item? Keep the money in your savings account.

If you truly want to buy something after imposing a month long freeze then you can.

It’s no longer an impulse spend, one to be regretted when you get your credit card bill.

Now it’s an item you know you really do want and will cherish it that much more for having waited 30 days.

Why use The 30 day rule to save money?

The point of this not spending rule is to readjust your spending habits.

So many of us these days spend without thinking then get a nasty surprise when our credit card bill arrives.

We don’t use the cash envelope system so we don’t see how our spending mounts up over the weeks and months.

Until it’s too late and we’ve got debt.

When you spend impulsively, without giving careful thought to the item, price and your budget, you can blow your budget very quickly.

When you’ve got financial goals you are determined to achieve, anything you can do to change spendy habits into saver habits is a good thing.

The art of delayed gratification, as it is called, helps you understand your true priorities.

It encourages you to question what you take for granted, why you spend as you spend.

As a result you will save more money than without the rule.

You may also like: How To Start Saving Money: 7 Tricks You Can Easily Do

beach towel with beach accessories inc flip flops and sunglasses
Saving money does not have to be hard

What Can You Gain from using the 30 day rule?

It’s a Win:Win 

I find it’s a great money challenge that is totally win:win.

You win if you really want that item after 30 days because you’ve given yourself permission to buy it.

And you also win if you decide that you no longer want it because you’ve saved the price of that item and it’s now safely in your savings account.

No Depriving 

It works so well because you are not depriving yourself in any way.

Either you get to buy your longed for item and you’ll probably want it all the more for waiting a month.

Or you get to save an extra bit of money. Simple but effective.

white desk with pin flowers and woman on keyboard - 30 day rule
Control your money, don’t let it control you

Satisfaction

You gain a sense of self satisfaction twice over.

  1. You gain when you successfully impose the 30 day rule and abide by it. After all 30 days is a long time to make yourself wait for something.
  2. After 30 days you either know you truly want that item and will treasure it that bit more.

Or you realize you didn’t want it and have saved a nice chunk of money instead.

Consideration Time

Delaying your purchases by 30 days gives you time to consider whether it’s something you really do need, or whether in reality it’s just a want.

And whether you want it enough to still buy it when it’s no longer an impulse purchase but a well considered delayed purchase.

You get to say no to yourself, without any feelings of deprivation.

You could also try having no spend days.

white desktip with pink notebook and pen
Get organized to make the 30 day rule a success

How To Implement The 30 Day Rule to save money

To be successful in applying this rule to your spending and getting the most from it, there are a few elements to it.

  1. Note down all the details of the specific item you want to buy but are now going to wait 30 days for – if you do decide to buy it after 30 days you’ll know where to find it.
  2. Put the exact amount this item costs into a separate savings account – this is what you will use to buy it after 30 days. If you still want it.
  3. Make a note of the start and end dates of your 30 days.
  4. Keep your notes someplace visible so you can consider those items during the following month.
  5. Add further items to your list as they crop up – they will of course have different end dates to your first item.
  6. After 30 days – make your decision. Are you going to buy it or keep the savings?

Thinking about the item/s is important because you can mull over it’s worthiness, how it will enhance your life, what you will use it for.

And perhaps what you could use instead or whether you really need it.

Word of warning. The 30 day rule doesn’t work if you can’t afford to buy the item you are hankering after.

The key point about imposing this rule is to get better at your money decision making.

You can’t improve if you are going into debt for something that is clearly a want (and not a need).

Other money posts you might like to read:

12 Things You Should Never Pay For

10 Ways For How To Manage Money Better

white ringbound notebook with flowers and leaves surrounding it
Plan your savings campaign

Tips To Succeed With Your Plan

It can be hard to implement this impulse spending rule for everything you had previously just bought there and then.

However you can help yourself to control shopping urges and improve your ability to stick with it by adopting some of these ideas:

1. Don’t write down the items.

If you can’t remember it after 30 days then it wasn’t a true want or need was it?

I know this is the opposite of advice above but can definitely work for those of us who are somewhat memory-challenged!

2. Shop online.

Fill your basket with what you would usually buy then click X in the top corner, shut down your browser and walk away.

3. Put the item on your birthday or Christmas list.

You get to have the item you really want and someone else has the pleasure of giving it to you.

4. Don’t take cash or cards out with you.

That way you have to return home anyway and you can’t impulse buy.

5. Use the library.

If you are wanting to buy books, take a picture of it and check it out of the library.

golden eggs in nest with a broken one with coins inside
Save money fast

How can I save $500 in 30 days?

$500 in 30 days sounds perfectly doable, albeit quite an aggressive savings target. You could apply the 30 day rule to all your spending decisions for one month.

Think about it, don’t buy anything you would not usually think twice about.

  • Coffees
  • A meal out
  • Lunch out
  • A night out
  • A new accessory

Over a month pressing pause on all of this spending could net you $500. Read my post on how to make 300 dollars fast for loads more fast money making ideas.

How can I save $1000 fast?

Saving $1000 is in theory just double the $500 above. But if you want it faster than 2 months, you’ve got to be even more aggressive in your savings challenge.

Making a little extra money on the side would speed things up. You could try asking for extra shifts at work, find a 2nd job, do a few surveys in the evening.

Surveys won’t make you thousands but you can easily rack up $50 or more while sat on your sofa. Here are a few survey companies you can try:

These posts on savings challenges might be useful to you too:

How To Save 10K in A Year, And Some!

10 of the Best 52 Week Money Challenges For You

The 30 Day Rule to save money successfully

So there you have it, the answer to what is the 30 day rule.

It’s a strategy to curb impulse spending, learn how to save money and increase your savings habit.

Saving money just got that bit easier.

For more money saving tips and advice why not check out these posts:

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

33 Ways You Are Wasting Money [And How To Stop Right Now]

How To Survive, Thrive And Save Money On A Tight Budget

Grab your copy of the Money Saving Mini Bundle to start saving more money

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

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pinterest image for the 30 day rule

Last Updated on 3rd March 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.

4 thoughts on “The 30 Day Rule: How To Save (More) Money”

    • Hi Alice. Isn’t it just? It takes a little getting used to but honestly it will really make a difference to your spending habits. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Reply
    • Hi DP, Apps and the rise of online shopping especially the one click option is definitely a problem, along with the fact we can store all our info on these apps/websites so don’t even need to input our address for repeat orders. I’ve certainly found having a spending rule pause and deleting my saved info a big help. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

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