With a new year comes new goals, resolutions, and excitement for the days. How can we reinvent ourselves and make our lives better? Many people chose weight loss, financial, relationship, and exercise resolutions for the upcoming year. And most only last about six weeks. It’s time for a no-spend challenge.
A no-spend challenge or spending freeze is just a freeze on all unnecessary spending for a designated amount of time. Since it is your challenge, it is your rule.
Decide on what you will not buy and be specific. Then pick a time frame. It could be a weekend, a week, a month, or a year! Find an accountability partner to help you when you are faced with temptation.
I have committed to going an entire year without buying any clothes, shoes, or accessories! For the whole year, I am not purchasing any unnecessary items!
How To Do A No Spend Challenge
This is a great way to get your finances in order and evaluate your spending habits. By restricting yourself to a certain amount of money that you can spend each day, week, or month, you can see where your money is going and where you might be able to cut back.
Follow these simple tips to get started:
1. Decide on the rules
This is your game, and these are your rules. How long will you play? Will it be a weekend, month, or year? What things do you have permission to spend money on? Can you spend if you’re given a gift card, and can you manipulate the situation if you want to?
Write them down so they are honest and concrete.
2. Set a goal
Not only are you setting a time goal, but you’re also setting a savings goal. Find some fun printables online and make it a game. Deciding what you’ll do with all the money you saved is the most fun out of all the steps. Choosing whether you’ll keep your money for a vacation, put towards debt, restock your pantry, or buy Christmas gifts.
3. Look at your calendar
When deciding on your time, look at your calendar and see what’s coming up. Plan accordingly for out-of-town guests, showers, and parties. Knowing if a special occasion is coming will help with your rules.
4. Come up with a plan
Coming up with a plan in case something unexpected happens will set you up for success. Don’t be afraid to rehearse a prewritten script. If a friend texts and says, “Hey. I just got a promotion, and I want to go out to dinner!” Do you have a plan for that? Inviting a group of friends to your house and grilling some chicken might be a great alternative.
5. Find things to do to take your mind off spending money
This is a great time to clean out garages, closets, and basements. Finding something to get rid of will help keep you busy, but you can also sell stuff and MAKE MONEY.
Why Do A No Spend Challenge?
When you commit to doing a spending freeze for this long, you need to be healthy and firm in your convictions on why you want to attempt and succeed. What is “your why”?
Why do you want to do this? Are you trying to catch up on bills? Are you saving for a vacation? Do you wish to pay off debt? Do you realize you have too much stuff?
If you feel like your spending is out of control, I encourage you to consider a Financial Coach to guide you through this.
Our niece Cindy was here with her family for Christmas and told me she went through the entire year without buying herself ANY unnecessary clothes! She was proud to admit that she was successful. And that got me thinking.
WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!!!
I know I could do this. I know I have too much stuff, and there isn’t anything I need.
No Spend Month To Catch Up On Bills
A spending freeze when you are behind on bills might be a must. There shouldn’t be any shoe shopping when the electric bill isn’t getting paid!
It might be time to put all shopping on hold until all bills are entirely caught up. Make do with what you have and realize this might be temporary.
Also, if you are finding the urge to shop is more significant than you think it should be, you might want to seek outside help for addiction. Shopping addiction is a real thing.
Spending Fast To Save For A Vacation
Imagine how much extra money you would have if you did a spending freeze for an entire year!!
If you have the energy, look back through the previous year to investigate how much money you spent on clothes, shoes, and accessories.
Then decided that you could take that same amount and put it aside for a fantastic vacation! That might be a great getaway!
I love the idea of collecting all the money you would have spent and doing something substantial with it.
How To Spend Less To Pay Off Debt
Like the vacation concept from above, the money you pile up from your spending freeze could put a considerable dent in your debt.
Let’s face it; many Americans have an average of 4 store credit cards in their wallet.
This permits us to spend more at department stores than we usually might because we know we don’t have to pay for it right away.
A shopping freeze will be a double win for these credit cards! Not only have you stopped adding to the balance, but you could take the money that you have stopped spending and pay off the cards!
Then cut them up and close accounts!!
Doing A Spending Freeze To Declutter Your Home
I live in a small house by choice. I love my little house, and it has great potential. But because I live in a small house, storage is minimal.
When the closets and cupboards are full, it’s time to get rid of things because there isn’t any other place to stick stuff.
Doing a shopping freeze limits the number of things I bring into my tiny house. It also makes me stop before I buy, thinking about my decision.
I write about decluttering in another blog post if you are interested HERE.
Cleaning Out Stuff
My father passed away on March 1, 2017. His wife passed away the June before that.
I am an only child, which means it has been up to me to handle all the stuff along with one’s dad passing away. Dad and Deb (my stepmom, his wife) led a pretty simple life.
They lived frugally with zero debt. No credit cards. No car payments. No mortgage. Their investments were not huge, but they had some assets.
They lived in a single-wide trailer purchased in 1984 after my Gampy passed away on land part of Deb’s family, about 2 acres. Dad and Deb had a Tahoe, a camper, and a boat.
They loved their church family and came to visit us every Sunday after church, and they were good people.
Deb passed from cancer, and Dad died from complications after a heart attack. I miss him every day.
Because I am an only child, it was my duty to clean out their house. There were 40 plus years worth of stuff in their home. Although the house wasn’t overloaded, it was still full of stuff.
Find Your Why
Because of the way my dad and stepmom lived their lives, I was blessed with a fantastic gift after the estate was closed. So we paid off our mortgage. The check equaled the amount left on our mortgage, almost down to the penny.
I listen to Dave Ramsey often. I have read every book he has written, and I am working my way through all of his team’s books and any book he recommends.
A small fact about me: I have not always been good with money, but boy, I have gotten better. I have always been frugal but not necessarily good at paying the electric bill.
So, I started to listen to Dave quite a few years ago, and I made a Budget Binder. My BB is my BFF.
Thanks to Dave, all of our money has a designated home. I know when things are due, so they don’t get behind, and I know which bill comes out of which paycheck.
Money is set aside for Christmas and repairs, haircuts, and vet visits.
I have always had this fantasy of being completely debt-free. I would get on the bandwagon, get excited about it, and then get bored.
But, I was certainly not willing to make the sacrifices needed to get the job done.
But then I learned something. As I was going through my Dad and Deb’s estate process, I realized that we could do this.
Dad had given me this fantastic gift, and along with the knowledge I already had, I could do this. Dad has taught me so much in these last months, and I am forever grateful. I hope he knows this.
We have debt. But I believe we can pay it off. I believe it down to my core! I think we can be completely debt-free and never go back.
Because going back would be like my dad’s passing in vain and leaving me these gifts for nothing. I want us to be his legacy!
So that is where the Shopping Freeze comes into play. I am the bill payer, the food shopper, and the clothes buyer. It is my decision whether we need new towels or toss pillows.
I am the keeper of The Budget. This also means that I control what goes out. I own whether or not we NEED new towels or toss pillows.
That lies the most crucial question, do we need it?
Final thoughts on no spend challenge for 2022
That is how I got to this point and the blog. No shopping year. Shopping freeze. Spending freeze. Frozen Pennies. I am keeping my pennies frozen.
Being able to share my year here will give me the joy of sharing and the accountability I need to see this through.
And I can share all the tips that I have always done with you to show you how to live the life you were meant to live without spending too much money and being in debt.
Thank you for reading the blog. I hope to save you SO MUCH MONEY, get you out of debt, and live intentionally. Build your legacy!
Reblogged this on Praying for the millennials.
Thank you so much!!!
Sara, I am looking forward to seeing your journey over the next year. You are Awesome and I know you can accomplish your goals. Go Sara!!
Thanks so much Donna! And thanks for visiting! xoxo
Sara: Wow! You have been training for this year for some time and I think your priorities are SOLID. When you are through with knocking out this debt, take a look at TheSimpleDollar $15 Retirement Plan article — everything he talks about in that article, I learned by paying a broker! Times have changed, now you can do this for you and your husband without a middle man. I just wanted you to be envisioning the next step toward financial independence, post debt retirement. You won’t miss a single thing that you don’t buy — I don’t know why it works that way, but it does. The other thing is that things you really need have a strange way of showing up “free.” See if that doesn’t prove true. Have a truly blessed year.
Thanks so much for all of your comments! I will definitely check out all your suggestions!!