The Right Time For A No Spend Challenge

No Spend

We’re planning another No Spend Month in August. We did one back in January–always a necessary thing after the holidays. This time, the No Spend Challenge is more preemptive. We’re trying to plump up our savings cushion.

Greg’s been talking a lot about getting a new truck. We actually need one. Our old Durango, now over 22 years old, is conking out on us more often. If we could save a little more, maybe we can afford a truck next year.

Note: Our truck doesn’t look quite as bad as the one pictured. It’s only marginally more reliable.

I hope I can convince Greg not to get a new truck. New cars ALWAYS depreciate by thousands the moment you drive it off the lot. This is a work truck, so I don’t want to get fancy. I just want it to run dependably and be relatively comfortable to drive/ride.

For this No Spend Challenge, we might amend it to groceries, necessities, and the occasional garage sale. That means no splurges, no entertainment that requires $$, and no eating out.

We’ve embraced a few tricks to get us by.

  • Limit our time out. If we’re out when we’re hungry, we’re doomed to eat out, so we try to plan excursions so that we’re home by meal time.
  • Change our routine. All that time we used to spend frittering cash can be better spent fixing, cleaning, or building the things that have been on our to-do list.
  • Target online shopping. Some people have trouble with this, but I’m patient. (Stop laughing. It’s true.) I’m patient if it means I can save money. Anything I find online I put on my Wish List. And I’ll watch it, to see if the price goes up or down. Some things have been on my Wish List for ages. The only time I’ll buy it is if it’s something I really need or the price comes down enough that it behooves me to make the investment.
  • We look for free entertainment. For us, that’s:
  • A drive to somewhere we’ve not been before.
  • A Free Day at museums or state parks.
  • Our DVD library, or Amazon Prime.
  • Farmers Markets
  • Flea Markets (window shopping only)
  • Antique Stores (window shopping only)
  • Binging on a tv or book series.
  • Start a DIY project. (I’ve got two projects in the wings now.)
  • Trying a new recipe.
  • Finally, do things in little bites. If you can’t handle a whole month, do it for a week. If a No Spend Challenge is too intimidating, remodel it to only target your weaknesses. It could be dining out, clothes, entertainment–wherever the money drains fastest. Put a moratorium on that one thing alone.

We do our No Spend Months every year. It’s a good way to cleanse your spending palate and get back on track. Besides, there’s always a chance we’ll live to be one hundred. I want to make sure we have enough money to get us there. 🙂

Retired or not, we still save. Do you think you spend more money in the summer or during the holidays? I know a lot of people like to take their vacations in the summer.


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9 Comments

  1. I think “changing the routine” works well for a lot of things. If snacking in front of the TV at night is an issue, try a hobby instead. Or watch something you normally wouldn’t, like a stand-up comedy special or a documentary.

    I love how the No Spend Month can be changed up to be a No Spend Week or to fit a certain spending area.

  2. I would like to take on a no-spend month too. 🙂 We’ve already planned two camping trips to visit friends in August, so I will have to ammend my goals somewhat. Maybe a low spend month would fit better.

    We went on a wonderful vacation to Colorado recently and really splurged. Now I am feeling worried about the budget. Hopefully hubby will be on board with my low spend month!

    • Lisa: I love Colorado but it’s expensive to visit.
      A low-spend month is ideal when you only want to get back on track. We do the more stringent moratorium in January when the holiday bills come in. Since it’s cold anyway, it’s not a hardship for us. We cocoon for the month of January.

  3. ANGELA L BROWN

    The kiddo and I just returned from our summer vacation, a cruise to Cozumel. With school starting next month, I’ve already spent bundles on plumping her uniform wardrobe and textbook purchases. Private school is no joke financially.
    And her birthday is next month. Thankfully, she just wants to do movie fun after the splurge on the summer fun.
    So I was actually looking to try a no-spend month for September. I’ve already started researching more recipes for us to spice up our limited menu and looking at ways to focus on no spending for lunches during work.
    Time to truly get better with the savings.

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