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!