I know the concept of a no spend month (particularly in January) has taken off in recent times. If you haven’t heard of it before, a no spend month entails only spending on the absolute essentials and forgoing any luxuries. It’s a good way to boost your bank account if funds are running low. I wanted to share some tips on how to survive a no spend month:
Define what you mean by ‘no spend’
At the outset, it’s very important to clearly define what you classify as essential spending and non-essential spending, for it is the non-essential spending that you will be avoiding during the month, If you fail to distinguish between these two categories, it’s easy to slip back into old habits. Obviously it will vary for every person, but here is what is in my categories:
Groceries (excluding alcohol)
Urgent car/house repairs
Charity direct debits
Petrol for car
Coffees when out and about
Non-urgent home improvements
Plan free activities
If you usually go to the cinema, have a movie night at home instead (don’t forget the popcorn). Take the kids to the park instead of going to soft play. Have a Google to see what free events are happening near you. Emma over at My Debt Diary always has great tips on cheap/free things to do in her monthly Five Frugal Things posts, see here for her latest post.
If online clothes shopping is your weakness, unsubscribe from all your favourite shop’s emails. Break the habit of browsing ASOS. Maybe take a break from looking on Instagram if you find it triggers the urge to buy something. If you spend a fortune on coffee when out and about, invest in a reusable cup and bring your own. If you love to indulge in a takeaway, when doing your weekly meal plan, make sure you have the ingredients at home to make yourself a fakeaway. Avoid the non-grocery aisles at the supermarket (there’s a reason why the clothing and homeware sections are near the entrance to the supermarket, to lure you in).
Don’t let a hiccup derail you
Get back on track right away, one item of non-essential spending doesn’t mean your no-spend month is ruined. In fact, imagine if you only successfully completed 20 no spend days in a month – that would still be really good going!
If you have an Instagram, a great way to stay accountable is by doing a daily update on Instagram stories – you may have seen something similar if you follow any weight loss accounts. I have provided monthly templates below which you are free to use. The way it works is you that post the below template on day one of the month and add an appropriate emoji (or tick/cross) for that day to indicate whether or not you have stuck to your no-spend rules. Then you save it (touch ‘More’ in the bottom right hand of the screen when you are looking at your story and press ‘save photo’) and roll it forward to the next day. At the end of the month you can count up how many successful days you have had in the month.
For ease, you can also find the below templates at my Instagram account – just look at my story highlights entitled ‘No Spend Month Templates’.
Hope this has been useful – would love to hear any more tips when it comes to how to survive a no spend month.