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The No-Spend Challenge has people all over the country putting a freeze on their spending for a weekend, week, or even an entire month. Not only does this forced frugality save participants money that they'd otherwise spend, it also highlights areas where spending can be cut or altered. After all, if you made it a whole month without that morning latte, why not cut it out permanently or cut it back to twice a week?
At the very least, by doing the No-Spend Challenge, you'll get a clearer picture of what your spending habits are and see firsthand that you do have control over your spending. Gaining financial independence takes sacrifice, self-restraint, and determination, and by doing a No-Spend Challenge for a month, you'll show yourself that it's within reach.
Obviously, you can't cut out all expenses entirely. Your essential bills will have to be paid during the month, such as rent/mortgage, utilities, car payments, insurance, gas or transportation costs, and groceries. Outside of these essentials, though, you're looking to cut, cut, cut!
Here are some tips on how to succeed with your No-Spend month:
Once you've successfully completed the challenge, be sure to deposit the money you saved into a savings account so you're not tempted to spend it and undo your progress. By proving this is something you can do, look forward to new challenges. Go for two months next time, or try to incorporate No-Spend days into your week regularly. It's a good way to remind yourself that you're in control of your finances and that you can do what it takes to reach your financial goals.
Don't forget the other things you learned throughout the month:
Your pantry is waiting to feed you. Use it.
All those ads in emails, texts, and social media apps have an influence on your spending.
With a little creativity, you don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun with friends and family.
If you don't make it to the end of the 30 days, don't be too hard on yourself. Even with an abundance of planning, unexpected expenses can pop up at any time. Even making it partially through the month, you've still learned something about your limits and discovered areas where you can improve your spending habits. You can always try again!