Guest Post: How to Rock a No-Spend Month

A woman looking at a bill.
This guest post was written by Heidi at, a website dedicated to providing financial resources to readers.

The start of a new year is a fantastic time to review your budget and set some new financial goals. Whether you’re resolving to supercharge your savings this year or to crush some debt, I’ve got just the thing! With the holidays behind us and bills coming due, now is the perfect time to challenge yourself to a No-Spend month.

Why Do a No-Spend Month?

A No-Spend month is all about drastically reducing your excess spending—like buying new clothes or eating out—for one month.

How to Prepare for a No-Spend Month

It’s going to be a challenge, so get yourself mentally ready. Discuss the concept with your spouse, family or friends and explain to them the goals and benefits behind the challenge. 

It’s just one month—you can do anything for a month. Stay focused on the benefits—the process can be tough, but the financial reward will be worth it.

No-Spend Month Rules

So: how do you take on a No-Spend month? Here are the rules.

  • Don’t go out to eat, cook at home.
  • Skip the coffee shop and brew your own.
  • Cut out all unnecessary shopping and only buy items you need right now.
  • Reduce how much you drive. Combine errands and stick to your most fuel-efficient vehicle.
  • Swap expensive entertainment for free activities.
  • Cancel as many unnecessary monthly subscriptions as you can (like cable, streaming, gym, etc.).

How to Rock Your No-Spend Month

The next step after cutting out all unnecessary spending is to replace expensive activities with free experiences. Sound hard? Don’t worry—it’s easier than you think. Just make sure you have a plan before you start. Here are my top tips for how to sail through a No-Spend month.

For the Menu:

  • Recreate your favorite restaurant meals at home.
  • Eat through your pantry and cupboards. Channel your inner baker and try making a special dessert using items you already have.
  • Use up the food in your freezer.
  • Enjoy more meatless meals.
  • Fill up on pasta, rice and beans.
  • Shop the sales at your local grocery store and then use coupons to save even more.
  • Buy store-brand food items.
  • Pay for your groceries at the self-checkout using coins and spare change that have been collecting around your house.
  • Important: make sure you never grocery shop when you’re hungry. Let’s be honest, it never ends well.

Free Family Time:

  • Go for a walk or a hike.
  • Play a favorite board game.
  • Dust off the ol’ video game console and play a classic.
  • Take a trip to the library. Some libraries offer more than just books and movies, including musical instruments, seeds, tools, museum passes and more.
  • Go on a bike ride along a scenic trail.
  • Visit a local park and play frisbee, put up a slackline, hang a hammock or throw a ball.
  • Watch a movie at your local park. My local homeowner’s association hosts a free movie at our park several times each year.
  • Go camping in your own backyard.
  • Plan a beach day at a local lake or river.
  • Volunteer together as a family.
Girl reading a book and spending time with parents.

More Creative Money Saving Ideas

  • Cut your own hair (proceed with caution).
  • Skip the carwash and wash your car instead.
  • Turn down the heat and bundle up, or turn down the A/C and open the windows.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Try giving homemade gifts.
  • Put your credit cards away and only use a set amount of cash. When the cash runs out, simply stop spending for the remainder of the month.
  • Have a garage sale. Sell items you no longer need or use to boost your No-Spend month savings even more.
  • Consider a new side hustle to make extra money.

Use Your No-Spend Month for a Financial Check-In

Use this time to check-in with your budget, bank accounts, credit cards and credit report. This will give you a clear idea of how much you have, what you owe and help you set personal financial goals for this year. For example, maybe 2020 is the year that you:

  • Save up for a down payment on a house.
  • Pay off your student loans.
  • Buy a new car.
  • Travel abroad.
  • Boost a low credit score.

By setting goals and knowing your financial status, it’ll be easier to get real about what you can actually do this next year.

FYI: There are some really helpful tools available from to help you challenge any questionable negatives clogging up your credit score.

Benefits of a No-Spend Month

A No-Spend month will take some determination and creativity to pull off, but the payoffs can be huge. This extreme savings approach is one of the fastest ways to make progress towards achieving a financial goal.

Start this year without being held back by last year’s spending, and use this month-long challenge to start an emergency fund, supercharge your savings to buy a new home or simply save money for a rainy day.

Whatever your financial goals may look like this year, stay motivated this month, and enjoy the rewards!

Posted in Finance
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