No Spending Challenge

Years ago, I had a friend recommend trying a “no spending challenge” for the month of January. It seemed like a unique idea to consume what I had around the house and now it has become a one or two times a year routine (January and September). I have also considered taking this on one day a week, for an entire year, and just make a habit of it and get creative. 

Unexpected Advantages I Found; 

  • I use up the food I avoid in the cabinet
  • I can save $200 to$600 in a month (I then use this for a vacation or something fun)
  • I get creative with recipes and find combinations that taste fabulous with what I already own. Those Pinterest boards come to life! 
  • I spend more time being present with the people in my life. 
    • Friend: Do you want to go shopping?,
    • Me: Actually I am taking on a no spending challenge, would you like to go on a hike? 

How to do this! 

First, enroll your family, spouse and friends in this challenge. It is more fun when you have a group to engage with and share your experiences. And who knows… maybe you’ll actually borrow that cup of sugar instead of going to buy some. 

  • Only purchase things you need. Milk, eggs… yes! But do you really need that bag of chips? Could you bake your own bread with that flour sitting in a jar?
  • Avoid wandering down the aisles while in the grocery. 
  • No online shopping, you can put things in your cart but no actual purchases 
  • Use what’s in your freezer and cupboards. 
  • No dining out or ordering in, invite your friends over to connect. 
  • No stopping for coffee on your way to a meeting.
  • Plan free activities vs movies, outings, and activities. 
  • Take the bus, walk or connect with someone and ask them for a ride vs. taking Uber.

Bonus Points and Ideas 

  • See how many things you can donate in the same time frame, one item each day? 
  • Unplug items that are not being used. Do you just always have the toaster plugged in? Save energy and unplug things that are not being used daily.
    •  I experimented with this, it costs $5 a month to have your microwave plugged in. At one of my apartments, the ONLY thing I always had plugged in was my refrigerator and I got my electric bill down to an average of $22 a month. Friends and significant others will just get used to plugging in things before they use them. 
  • Detail clean your own car. 
  • Paint your own nails and invite a friend. 
  • Sell household items online to make even more money (Poshmark, Mercari, Marketplace are my favorites). 
  • Repair your own buttons vs. taking them to a tailor. 
  • Try four of those Pinterest things you’ve always wanted to do with what you have around the house. 
  • Complete the touch-up paint you’ve avoided doing.. 
  • Read a book with your partner vs. renting that movie. 
  • How many subscriptions can you cancel that you’re not using?
  • Move those old beauty products into rotation. 
  • Check your auto-ship subscriptions. Could you space them out 1 to 3 extra months?
  • Have the paper bills stopped being sent to your house.  Especially if you end up only trashing them anyway.  Go paperless! 

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