Easy No Spend Challenge Guide: Save Money And Improve Your Finances (2024)

There are a lot of reasons to try a no spend challenge. Perhaps the month before you spent a lot on presents, food or vacation.

Or maybe your budget is a little tighter than you want, and you need to save up some money for emergencies.

Whatever your reason, a no spend challenge can help you save a lot of cash and become more aware of purchasing decisions.

I’ve included a FREE No Spend Challenge bundle of resources you can download and use for this (below).

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You’ll likely complete the challenge with a new perspective and understanding of your money, in addition to saving. Let’s get started!

No Spend Challenge – Free Bundle

To begin, download HerPaperRoute’s no-spend challenge planner for FREE! It includes a handy budget tracker so you can celebrate each milestone!

What is a No Spend Challenge?

It’s extremely popular – but what is it? A no spend challenge is when you only spend money on things you need, not on wants.

The challenge can be for whatever length of time you want. It’s common to start with a week or a month, but some people try out a much longer time, like a year.

If you’ve never tried out a no spend challenge, a week or a month is a great place to start. It will give you time to get used to the idea and decide if you want or need to continue with it for a longer time.

What is the 30 Day No Spend Challenge?

This is approximately a month of not spending any money. What this means is avoiding anything that isn’t necessary to buy.

Certain things are essential to pay for, like gas for your car and your monthly expenses. But you don’t buy anything random that isn’t essential.

If you genuinely want to spend no money at all during this month, you can try paying all of your bills at the beginning of the month, and buying all the food you need for the 30 days, too.

But this would require having all the money for bills upfront at the beginning of the 30 days. Because of this, most people will opt to just avoid spending on wants instead.

What are No Spend Days?

On a no-spend day, you do not buy anything. There is debate about whether you can buy things that are essential or not.

Since it’s only one day, you can probably avoid spending anything at all as long as you prepare. You can do more than one day in a row or have set no spend days every week or month.

How to Do a No-Spend Challenge?

Challenges can be hard to commit to. What you can’t forget is to keep your goal in mind.

There may be moments where you have trouble sticking with what you’ve decided to do. Especially if a fun opportunity comes up or you want to buy food or a snack impulsively.

These tips can help you to stay focused.

1. Pick Your Why

If you’re going to go for it with this challenge, you need to have a pretty strong why. There will be difficult days. You may want to spend money on something, but if you stick to your reason, you will keep going until the end.

Find something that is motivating for you. It could be saving a certain amount of money to buy something essential or for an investment. Or maybe it’s to create better habits for yourself.

2. Decide on a Time Frame and Starting Date

Don’t be vague about this. Set obvious starting and ending times for your no spend challenge.

For example, you can start on Friday at 6 am and end the following Friday at 6 am. Adding times can be helpful, so there’s no debate about whether you can spend money that day.

3. Set Your Rules

Decide what matters. What are your rules? Determine what is essential and what is a want.

What are you allowed to buy, and what has to wait? Examples of essentials are food, rent or mortgage payment, insurance costs, and other non-negotiables.

A want could be eating out at restaurants, going to the movies, subscription streaming services, and things you don’t need to survive, like new books or a new purse.

Once you’ve decided on what you can and can’t purchase, give yourself some other guidelines. Can you quit the no spend challenge early for any reason, or not?

What if an expense comes up that you didn’t plan for? Also, decide if you will add days to your challenge for accidental spending or not.

It’s a good idea to write all this down somewhere to look to in the future.

4. Talk it Over with Family/Significant Other

If you are doing a no spend challenge for a while, you should inform people affected by it. For example, family members that live with you.

You should give them a heads up about what you’ll be doing, so they don’t feel confused or expect you to spend money on things.

It’s even more important to let your significant other know about your plans. If you have any combined finances, they are entitled to know what you’ll be doing.

And even if you keep money separate, it’s still nice to make sure no plans are disrupted.

5. Put Away Credit/Debit Cards; Consider Using Cash Only

A simple way to avoid the temptation to spend is to remove it altogether. If you have limited cash with you and aren’t carrying credit and debit cards, you don’t have a lot of spending options.

Consider putting cards somewhere safe to stick to your plan.You should carry some cash with you, and maybe one card, just in case, though.

That way, if you find that you need to spend money in an emergency, you can still do so.

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How to Survive a No Spending Month?

Not spending money can be fun for a few days, but how do you keep it up for a whole month? You’re bound to want to spend at some point. Here are some ideas to keep you going.

1. Eat from your pantry/freezer

Stock up on the essentials before you begin the month, and then eat what you have in the house. You will need to be creative, with ideas that are slightly different from what you usually eat, but you will adjust, and it can help you avoid spending money.

2. Brainstorm free entertainment

You don’t have to spend money to have fun. If you’re used to going out on the weekends and spending is a normal part of that, it can be a challenge at first.

But check out some of these fun activities that won’t cost anything!


Parks are a great place to go after work or on the weekend. Take a stroll, read under a tree, have a picnic, or play a game of frisbee. Fresh air is good for you, and you won’t need any money.


You probably have some fun board games or cards tucked into a closet or cupboard somewhere. Now is the time to bring them out and have some fun. You can even host a game night as a way to connect with friends without spending.

Movie night

Are there any old classics you haven’t seen for a while? Check out what movies you own and see if there is anything you’d like to watch.

You can have a marathon on the weekend if you own any movie series. Make some popcorn and enjoy the day.


Libraries are great for borrowing books, games, movies, and more. Check out your local library for a fun outing, and then pick up some things that will help pass the time.

Find a book series you’ll enjoy reading, or even begin learning a language with books and DVDs.

Related: Ultimate List of Free or Cheap Date Night Ideas

3. Be content to work on projects at home.

Before you begin your no-spend month, make a list of home projects you can work on during the next few weeks. Things like painting a room, spending time on a hobby, or rearranging the furniture in your house can all be great projects.

If you need to spend any money, do so before the month begins, but it’s better to use only what you already have if possible. Look for projects that may be time-consuming but are not necessarily expensive.

4. Make a list of things you want to purchase when the challenge is over.

Just because you are not spending for a certain amount of time doesn’t mean you can’t in the future. Instead of not thinking about spending at all, try making a list when you want to buy something.

Read through the items on the list at the end of the challenge. If you still want any of them, give yourself permission to spend then if it makes sense.

5. Exercise

Exercising can help you be healthier, and it also is a free way to spend your time. Try taking up a new activity like yoga or running. Or you can work out at home.

6. Be creative

Make up a list of activities you can do while you’re in the middle of the challenge. Try to come up with things that both pass the time and are valuable activities.

Why You Should Try a No Spend Challenge

There are many reasons to do a no spend challenge. Check out the top five.

Save Money

This is the most apparent reason to do a no spend challenge. Try creating a goal for how much to save and make it a game to see how close you can get.

Take the Stress Out of Money Decisions

If you’ve already decided not to spend, you don’t have to worry about it much. If something comes up that friends or family want to do, you can tell them about your decision and not feel obligated to spend money.

Identify Spending Triggers

This challenge can be a great way to find out what your usual spending impulses are. You might even try writing down what you want to spend money on during this time. In the future, you can use this to help you stick to your budget.

Clarify Your Goals

A no spend challenge will help you to be clear about what you want financially. It can be a great way to set goals and saving challenges.

Use the time you have during the challenge to think about what you should do with your money and time in the future.

Force Yourself to Challenge Your Priorities

When you change your habits, you’ll be pushed to think differently about priorities. You’ll have the time to consider what truly matters to you and how you want to spend and save.

Use a No Spend Month to Improve Finances

A no-spend challenge can be a great way to give your finances a kickstart. As a recap, there are some of the financial benefits:

Have a why for a no-spend challenge and apply your savings to that goal.

Choose your “why” before beginning a no spend challenge. Then take all the money that you’re able to save and use it to reach your why.

A savings goal gives you something to accomplish, and it can make it easier to say no to spending because you want to save as quickly as possible.

It can help you get control of your budget.

Sometimes your budget needs a reset. A no spend month can be just the thing to get your money on track again.

While you aren’t spending, you’ll have the time to reevaluate your budget and see what is working and what isn’t. Plus, you’ll know how much you’re capable of saving, which can make sticking to a budget easier.

You can meet your money goals faster.

When you complete a no spend month, you are in charge of your money. You control your saving and spending, and you can reach your goals much faster.

A few no spend months in a row may even make it possible for you to reach a significant savings goal.

A No Spend Challenge Can be Difficult, but the Rewards Are Worth It

Beginning a no spend challenge is not easy. You’ll have to say no to some things that come up and find ways to be creative to avoid spending.

But there are some great benefits to this, too. You can save up a lot of money quickly, become financially organized, and understand your priorities.

Easy No Spend Challenge Guide – Conclusion

A no spend challenge is a good thing to try at least once. You’ll find out more about yourself and your habits, and you’ll have more money at the end of it.

Before you go, make sure you have downloaded your copy of the digital no-spend challenge tracker bundle:

Related Articles:

  • How to Save $10,000 in a Year
  • Tips for Saving $5000 in 3 Months
  • How Much of Your Paycheck Should You Put Into Savings?

Easy No Spend Challenge Guide: Save Money And Improve Your Finances (2024)


What is the 50 20 30 method? ›

One of the most common types of percentage-based budgets is the 50/30/20 rule. The idea is to divide your income into three categories, spending 50% on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings. Learn more about the 50/30/20 budget rule and if it's right for you.

How to do the no spend challenge? ›

For the no-spend challenge, you pay for essentials only for a set period of time. Thirty days is pretty common, so you might hear it called a no-spend month too. Basically you're covering your Four Walls (food, utilities, shelter and transportation) and other necessities, but you're saying no to all the extras.

What are some simple tips to help you spend less money? ›

How to spend less money
  • Avoid eating out. Eating in can be a great way to save money every month. ...
  • Buy generic and used. ...
  • Use public transportation. ...
  • Check your insurance rates. ...
  • Ask for discounts. ...
  • Unsubscribe from marketing emails. ...
  • Save your tax refunds.
Apr 10, 2024

What is the 30 day rule? ›

The premise of the 30-day savings rule is straightforward: When faced with the temptation of an impulse purchase, wait 30 days before committing to the buy. During this time, take the opportunity to evaluate the necessity and impact of the purchase on your overall financial goals.

When should you not use the 50 30 20 rule? ›

The basic concept behind the 50/30/20 rule works for just about anyone. But depending on your income and debt load, you may need to adjust the exact breakdown of your expenses. For example, a low-income household may need to spend more than 50% of their after-tax pay on needs.

What is the 40 40 20 budget? ›

The 40/40/20 rule comes in during the saving phase of his wealth creation formula. Cardone says that from your gross income, 40% should be set aside for taxes, 40% should be saved, and you should live off of the remaining 20%.

How can I have fun but not spend money? ›

Whatever your situation, here are 13 fun things to do that don't cost money with friends and family:
  1. Go on a picnic. ...
  2. Go to no-cost museum and zoo days. ...
  3. Give geocaching a try. ...
  4. Leverage your chamber of commerce. ...
  5. Take a historical city tour. ...
  6. Visit a farmers market. ...
  7. Go camping. ...
  8. Do a photography challenge.
Feb 14, 2024

How to do a zero spend month? ›

How to be Successful in a No-Spend Month, 10 Tips and Tricks
  1. Choose the right month. ...
  2. Research free activities to do in your local area. ...
  3. Put your money away to reduce the temptation. ...
  4. Get your friends and family involved. ...
  5. Remind yourself why you're committing to a no-spend month. ...
  6. Track or monitor progress.
Nov 21, 2022

What is the no spending diet? ›

It's a popular exercise in which you commit to not spend any money on “non-essentials” for thirty days. A no-spend month is like a Whole30 diet or a restrictive cleanse, but for your money. It's tough to resist the urge to overhaul your relationship with money at the start of a new year.

How do you save aggressively? ›

Immediately save your additional income so you don't spend it all. Another way that is more instant and makes it easier for you to save aggressively is when you get additional income, for example holiday allowances (THR) and bonuses from the company. Before you spend it, immediately save most of the additional income.

How do you save money when you're bad at it? ›

How to Start Saving Money Even if You Think You Can't Afford It
  1. Track Your Expenses. Before anything else, you'll need to take a look at how much money you've spent in the past few months. ...
  2. Set Short- and Long-Term Savings Goals. ...
  3. Create a Budget. ...
  4. Be Smart About Where You Stash Your Savings.
Jun 28, 2023

What are the 5 steps to save money? ›

5 simple steps to start saving
  • Set one specific goal. Rather than socking away money into a savings account, set specific goals for your savings. ...
  • Budget for savings. Just because you decide to save doesn't mean it's going to happen. ...
  • Make saving automatic. ...
  • Keep separate accounts. ...
  • Monitor & watch it grow.

What is the 3 month rule? ›

The three month dating rule is a trial period that allows couples to shift from the honeymoon phase of dating to an integrated love phase. "What I mean by that is usually a few months into dating, we start to see some of the quirks, or maybe we start to notice things that we find annoying or irritating," Pharaon says.

What is the 1 month rule? ›

The purpose of The One Month Rule

If you spend a month thinking about a certain purchase and have discussed it with family/friends that you trust for financial advice (and you still think it is a worthy purchase), you are much less likely to regret your purchase. It helps you make sure the purchase is really worth it.

What is the 90 days rules? ›

The “90-day rule” is a USCIS guideline used to determine whether green card applicants applying from within the United States misled government officers when they were granted visas or admitted to the country.

Does the 50 30 20 rule work? ›

Yes, the 50/30/20 rule can be used to save for long-term goals. Allocate a portion of the 20% to savings specifically for your long-term goals, such as a down payment on a house, education funds, or investments. The rule is intentionally meant to bring focus to savings.

How could you start using the 50 20 30 rule? ›

The 50/30/20 rule is an easy budgeting method that can help you to manage your money effectively, simply and sustainably. The basic rule of thumb is to divide your monthly after-tax income into three spending categories: 50% for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for savings or paying off debt.

How to do 50 30 20 rule biweekly? ›

What Is the 50/30/20 Rule?
  1. 50% for your needs. Half of your income should go toward essentials or necessities, such as housing (including mortgage or rent), groceries, transportation, health insurance, and the minimum payment on your debts, such as student loans.
  2. 30% for your wants. ...
  3. 20% for your savings.
Feb 20, 2024


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