I did a no-spend month. Actually, twice.
I did one my last month in Montana (October), and another when I returned in November. While I may not have succeeded at both tries, I learned a lot. October was faulty because I was traveling across the country and got stuck in a snowstorm along the way. I had to get an Airbnb in Wyoming, buy clothes, and daily necessities to get me through the week.
For November, I was prepping to get my apartment. I had to buy renters insurance, a new couch, and extra rent for the time overlap of my two apartments.
Even though these two trials didn’t go as planned, I learned a lot. The next time I try this out, I will (hopefully) be able to pass with flying colors. You may wonder when I may start this up again? I’m planning to take part in a no-spend month in February. By then, I should be settled into my apartment and ready to save some extra cash.
Why do a “no-spend” month?
You may also be wondering why someone would want to partake in a no-spend month. And, there are a few different reasons. Here they are:
- You save a lot more.
- You get real with your finances and how much you could really save each month.
- Learn your spending triggers to regularly cut out of your budget.
6 Tips to prepare + conquer a no-spend month
If you’re wanting to do the no-spend month for yourself, there are some tips I have. One being, make sure you do it during a month that really works for you. Keep reading to hear the rest of my no-spend month tips and tricks.
1. Figure out the right time for you and your budget
As I mentioned, my two faults were doing this during bad financial months. In October, I was spending my last month in Montana where I had to spend a lot of money on travel costs, takeout food, and “vacation” expenses per se. On my way back to Austin, I got stuck in a winter storm where I had to purchase an Airbnb, daily necessities, and clothes.
2. List your goal + establish goals/rules
Before you start, list out your goals and establish boundaries. Is your biggest budget-breaker getting coffee out and about? Make it easy to make your fav cup at home. Are you one to always want to go out with friends? Let them know about your challenge and brainstorm *free* ways to hang out. Going to the park may be the perfect alternative.
3. Create time to grocery shop (+ stick to it)
One of the biggest budget-break is ordering takeout (in most cases). To avoid spending money on food when you’re out and about, create a weekly meal menu. Based on that menu, write out all the supplies you will need to make each dish and go to the grocery store with a plan. Avoid going to the store when you’re hungry and fray away from items you really don’t need.
4. Tell your family + friends when you can
As I mentioned above, tell your family and friends about your goals. In most cases, they will support you, hold you accountable, and push you to do your best. It can be hard to stick to when you’re justifying a book that could help your career or organizational bins you found at the “grocery store.” Do your best to be honest, and reach out for support if you want/need it.
5. Brainstorm ways to do “fun” things for free
Before you go into this, create a list of activities that don’t break the budget. For instance, having a picnic at the park, having friends over for coffee, or having a self-care night at home. There are some great ways to have fun without spending money. If you’re craving a nice dinner out on the town, see if you could invite your friends over for a home-cooked lavish meal.
6. Keep your goals in mind
When things get tough, think about your goals. To take things a step further, write your goals wherever you can. I like to write out my goals on a whiteboard that hangs above my desk. That way, I’m able to see my goals every morning and think about the positives that come along with this challenge. Your goals may be to grow your savings, 401k, and stop spending on things that don’t serve you.
7. If you fail, come back again better tomorrow
Now, try your hardest! I completely understand that it may not be the right time (like it was for me). If you do fail, come back better tomorrow to finish out the challenge. Pinpoint what you may have done to fail and actions you could do to avoid the same issue later on. Learn from the experience and start fresh.
If you’re ready to start a no-spend month, follow me on Instagram, and do it with me in February! I would love the additional support and would love to involve the community. 🙂