How A No Spend Challenge Can Help You Save Money

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Most of us have had times where our spending gets completely out of hand, or we just don’t have any money at all.

Some months are worse than others. And if you’re anything like me, the weekends are when we tend to go off the rails and spend way too much money.

This lack of extra money and excessive spending is a great reason to incorporate a no spend challenge into your month. A temporary freeze in spending will help stop overspending and help you save money.

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What is a no spend challenge?

A no spend challenge is exactly what it sounds like…you challenge yourself to freeze your spending! You pick a period of time you’re comfortable with and don’t spend a single penny that isn’t necessary!  

Now depending on the length of your freeze, you may need to spend money. But, you should only spend money on things that are absolutely essential, such as food, housing, gas, and utilities.

Why do a no spend challenge?

A spending freeze is a great way to save money! When we have a month where we have gone really over budget, we’ll do a spending freeze until the new month starts. This allows us to refocus and get our mind right for next month’s budget.  

But, a spending freeze is also great for when you want to save for something. Whether you want to pay off debt or go on vacation, cutting your spending way back (to zero!) can help you save for it!  

no spend challenge

How long should I freeze spending?

The length of your spending freeze is completely up to you. If you’re new to this, I recommend starting with a weekend.  

Weekends are a great way to start because they’re short, but they’re also challenging because this is where people tend to spend the most money.  

Now, after you conquer your no-spend weekend, you can move on to a no-spend week or even a month…hell, go crazy and do the rest of 2021 if you want to!

How to do a spending freeze in 3 steps

You may be wondering the actual logistics of a spending freeze. It’s pretty simple, but you have to prepare for it.

1. Set your goal

First, you need to figure out why you need a spending freeze. Do you need to reboot your budget or save for something?  

Keeping your why front and center will keep you motivated and on track for the duration of your spending freeze.

2. Make a Plan

Next, you have to know what you’re doing with the money after it’s saved. This way, you don’t just spend it frivolously after your spending freeze is over.  

I recommend reading about sinking funds and emergency funds to find out the best way to allocate money for savings.

3. Go for it and stop spending!

Now that you’ve set your goals and made your plan, it’s time to set a date to start your no spend challenge!  

Tips for doing a spending freeze

Plan ahead

Depending on how long your spending freeze will be, you may need to plan ahead. Stock up (within reason) so you’ll have what you need to get through. But, remember you’re trying to save money, so don’t go crazy!  

Eat what you have

Eat what you have in your house. Try to empty out your pantry, fridge, and freezer before you go shopping again. I recommend you check out the blog Fun Cheap or Free for Jordan Page’s Shelftember Challenge. She inspired me years ago to save money by shopping my pantry before shopping the grocery store.

no spend challenge

Get your family on board

Talk with your significant other and children about why you think a spending freeze is necessary. Come up with a small incentive to get everyone on board and stay motivated. Then, find fun activities in your local area that are FREE and enjoy as a family.  

Let your friends know

It may be a good idea to let your friends know about your spending freeze too. This way, they don’t invite you to anything that would tempt you to open your wallet and spend money you don’t want to.

Have Realistic Expectations

Lastly, have realistic expectations. Don’t plan a no-spend weekend if you’re not able to commit. Also, don’t expect to save your whole paycheck when you have bills to pay. Only do what you can do…period!

And make sure to give yourself some grace. If you don’t make it through the first time, it’s ok. Try again. The point is to save money, and a penny saved is a penny earned.


Doing a spending freeze is a great way to save money or reboot your budget. Make sure to set a goal, make a plan, and go for it! The great thing about a spending freeze is you can plan it for however long you want because you make the rules!  

So, I challenge you to have a no-spend weekend to see how much you can save! Make sure to leave a comment below and let me know how it went!

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