Have you ever had a no spend day or week? Ever told yourself that you wouldn’t touch those credit cards? If you haven't and you’ve been struggling to save money and manage your spending, you should consider freezing your spending for a few days to reset your finances and generate some savings .
Incorporating a spending freeze into your schedule can be quite healthy for your finances especially when you feel overwhelmed with it all . One way to do this is by adding a no spend period into your monthly budget.
These tips will help you get prepared and maximize the best results!
In order for your no spend period to be successful, you must be prepared.
A no spend period might actually include some spending on necessary items, such as gas or groceries.
The key is to eliminate any extra spending during this time frame.
Determine the length the no spend period will last – a day, week or even month
If you are a beginner, I would start with a small goal. This leads to more success!
This could include a no spend day or weekend or my personal favorite, a no spend work week.
I find it easiest for myself to save money during the workweek. I always pack my lunch and enjoy the coffee my work provides.
After work, instead of stopping at the grocery store to grab a couple things, I'll head home instead and eat the groceries I already have.
If you are really looking to jumpstart your savings or pay off debt, you can really ramp up your spending freeze and challenge yourself to a no spend month.
This is a great idea if you overspent the previous month and you are looking to get your finances back to normal.
How to save money if you can't do a no spend day or week
Can’t do a no spend week right now? No problem. When holidays, birthdays and travel are coming up, it can be difficult to do a spending freeze and you don’t want to set yourself up for failure.
If you need to spend money in certain areas of your budget, you can still reduce your costs and perhaps earn a little money back as well. One of the best ways to make any money from shopping is using Ebates.
Ebates pays you a percentage back when you make a purchase online.
While I have to do some online shopping, I always use Ebates first because they pay cashback on purchases from hundreds of retailers. Plus, they help you hunt down coupons that you can use to reduce the price of your order.
Each quarter, they deposit all of your cash back earnings into your PayPal account. Yippee for free money!
If you are new to Ebates, claim your $10 now (either in the form of a $10 GC to places like Target or $10 off a $25 purchase!)
This cell phone app helps you make money off your grocery receipts. Yup, for real! You use it after you go grocery shopping and use your receipt. It’s basically a rebate app, so you can earn anywhere from 50 cents to $5 off everything you buy.
My favorite part about Ibotta is that it’s not always brand specific, like a lot of coupons are. So you’ll be able to scan “any brand of bread” for 50 cents off, etc. If you do coupon – you can STILL use Ibotta and get a rebate.
For the diehard couponers out there, this will often result in getting an item for FREE. When you sign up, you will receive a $10 cash bonus when you make your first scan!
If you are going to shop, you might as well make money doing it.
Use the Target REDCard (it's a debit card)
The Target debit REDCard is one of the best debit cards to save money. The best part is it's NOT a credit card so if you’re not comfortable using a credit card right now, you don’t have to worry. You can save 5% off every purchase without having to deal with the temptation of overspending and paying the balance off later.
The Target REDCard is simply linked to your bank account so you spend only the money you have. I shop at Target all the time and the 5% savings add up!
Plus you get free shipping, which helps save money! Don't forget to use the Target Cartwheel App on your phone to combine even more savings. You can learn more about the Target debit REDCard here.
Get creative to help you achieve a no spend period
If you’re able to carve out time to go on a spending freeze and are fully committed, that’s great! One of the hardest parts during the no spend challenge can be figuring out how to use what you have. This is where a bit of creativity can really pay off!
This can include:
- using up the remaining groceries in your pantry
- downloading a podcast instead of renting a movie
- borrowing a book or video from the library (many times you can do this online through your library's website).
- going on a walk with a girlfriend instead of going to happy hour
- clean your house and find items to sell
- learn how to travel for cheap – or even do a volunteer trip where you get free lodging and food in exchange for volunteering!
- Make your own coffee at home or earn Swagbucks to earn free gift cards so you can treat yourself to little things like coffee
Tip: If you like to travel, try staying at an AirBnB instead of a hotel. This a fun and creative way to save money.
Over the past couple of years, I have stayed at a handful of AirBnB's and saved a ton of money. I've been able to rent an entire house, condo and apartment instead of a room at a hotel.
Reassess your wants and needs
By saying no to everything for a set period of time, you can really get an eye opening experience on where you really value spending money and how you might have been wasting it this whole time.
Plus, you learn how to work with what you have. Instead of spending money all the time as a solution, you may find that you can fix something so you can use it again, DIY instead of hiring someone, or just simply do without and be content with that decision.
How to proceed after the no spend period ends
This is an important period. You don't want to fall back into any bad spending habits or go on a shopping binge to make up for several days without spending anything.
This is a good time to look at how much money you saved during your no spend period as well.
What do you plan to do with your savings? Are you going to transfer it to your savings account or use the extra money to pay off some bills? Will you put it toward debt?
After you decide what you’re going to do, take action immediately and put the extra money toward a worthy cause.
Start saving, even if it’s only a few dollars a week
Whether you want to start an emergency fund or a vacation fund, you have to start setting some money aside. If you’re like most people and struggle with saving, you should consider using Digit.
I’ve just started using this free program and love it. Digit lets you save money each week from your checking account. What I really like about Digit is that it analyzes my bank account and determines how much I can really save per week.
Some weeks it might be $5 and other times it might be $20. You don’t have to worry about overdraft and can contribute less or more if you need to. As of now, I don’t know an easier way to save money! You can learn more about Digit here.
Making money instead
If having a no spend period seems tough or if you don’t want to do it often, consider trying to make money instead. Increasing your income will provide you with more money to add to your budget. You can pay off debt quicker, and catch up financially at a faster rate. There are so many things you could do to earn extra income:
This is one of the best ways to make money that won't cost you anything to get started! I have made thousands of dollars over the past few years taking surveys online and participating in research studies.
Not all surveys are created equal. I have weeded through a ton of companies to figure out which ones pay the best. Here's a few to choose from!
- Nielsen (great if you love to watch TV!)
- Pinecone Research
- Digital Voice
- Clothesline (limited to women 45-60)
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Side hustling is great because it allows you to earn extra money by doing flexible tasks and monetizing your skills. You can drive for Uber or Lyft during your spare time, walk dogs or pet sit, sell items on eBay, or even start your own online business.
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