No Spend Challenge: How to be Successful

You always hear that it just takes 30 days to form a habit. 30 days of consistently working at something to change your entire behavior around that particular subject. It seems like a daunting task, but if you think about it… That month is going to go by either way. Whether you’re working on yourself or not. Therefore, why not use that time to try to form a productive habit for yourself? Maybe try a 30 day challenge, like a no spend challenge!


A great way to form a habit over the course of a month is to make it interesting! Many times, people fail at reinforcing positive behaviors by getting bored with the process. And for good reason! A lot of those behaviors we’re trying to fix take actual work. They also don’t usually have immediate results. Not to mention, often times they’re just not fun behaviors to fix!

So, if you know me, you know I love a fun 30 day challenge! Especially the kind that help form positive habits that directly benefit my life. I think 30 day challenges make forming new habits more interesting. It sort of becomes more like a game to win and less like hard work. Plus, if you complete the challenge, not only do you win, but you can reward yourself! And the charts to keep you on track are pretty cute!

But a 30 Day No Spend Challenge?

I know it sounds terrifying to go an entire month without spending money, but I promise it is beyond worth it! My hubby and I did two in 2020 and plan to start another on January 1st! Thanks to these challenges, we have completely changed our view on purchasing and owning material items. In fact, we’ve gotten a much more minimalist outlook in our lives since our very first no spend challenge back in August. It even completely changed how we did Christmas this year, which saved so much money for us!

How Does a No Spend Challenge Work?

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If you don’t follow me on social media, I posted all about our no spend challenges in my Instagram stories last summer. It surprised me how many people DM’d me asking questions! They had never heard of this challenge and didn’t understand how it could possibly work! Of course, I couldn’t blame them. I was equally as confused when I first heard of this challenge! Furthermore, it seems almost wrong to go an entire month without spending money. But after a few days, it started to feel more like a relief! It was almost like all that spending was more of a burden than a luxury. So, if you’re wondering how to do this challenge, then read below!

no spend challenge empower women folder calculator iPhone
kelly sikkema

1. Know Your Rules

The very first step to ensure you have a successful no spend challenge is to know your rules! Now, depending who you ask, the rules may vary slightly. But for the most part, they’re the same! They go like this.

You can spend money on:

  • Your rent or mortgage
  • The utilities
  • Your car payment or commute
  • Gas or oil for your car
  • Your loans or credit cards
  • The phone/internet bill
  • Your health/vehicle/home insurance
  • Doctor’s bills
  • Your groceries (but be strict with it)
  • Basically anything you need

You cannot spend money on:

  • Eating out
  • Buying new clothes
  • Going to the movies
  • Buying home decor
  • Purchasing electronics
  • Snacks at the gas station
  • Drinks from the vending machine
  • Going to theme parks or fairs
  • Concerts or festivals
  • Parties and bars
  • Basically anything you want

2. Plan Ahead

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you know I love planning! So do that. Is there a holiday, birthday or event that month? Plan for it. Do you have a weekend off and want to do something fun? Get to planning. Family coming to visit? Skip town. Okay, kidding on the last one – kinda – but be prepared for any instance you might have to spend extra money that month! Go ahead and plan your whole month out so nothing takes you by surprise. The worst thing you can do is have a last minute “emergency.” Then, you’ll be “forced” to spend money on something you may not need.

You also want to make sure you plan out your meals! I know my biggest downfall is eating out, so I always try to warn others. A great tip to combat this issue is to create a meal plan! I personally love this Weekly Meal Planning Bundle by momAgenda. If you have all the groceries you need by properly planning, you will be less likely to stray from your goal. Make sure to be realistic and include things like coffee, so you won’t stop at Starbucks! Who knows, it may even help you lose weight!

no spend challenge food
ellie elien

3. Find Free Alternatives During the No Spend Challenge

If there are things you really want to do that cost money, find an alternative. Say you want to have a fun family day. You can go to the playground, a park, your back yard, or a nature trail. Maybe you want to have a date night. Cook together, watch a movie online, or make a DIY romantic date on your patio. Need something fun to do one night? Reread an old book, play board games, or reorganize a room in your home. There are tons of possibilities out there! A no spend challenge can be a great way to find a new interest or hobby for free!

4. Keep Track of Yourself

One of the best ways to stay on track is by tracking your progress! I personally like to use a daily tracker for the whole month. That way, at the end of each day, I can put a check mark when I didn’t spend money! It makes you feel like you accomplished something for preventing yourself from spending money! I made a cute tracker to use for January that you can get here. I will also have it in my no spend highlight on Instagram or on my Pinterest! There are a couple of different sizes and file types, so use the one you prefer! The PDF option is awesome if you want to print it out and the “story” PNG option is great to save in your camera roll!

no spend challenge keeping track
bethany cirlincione

5. Check Your Results After the No Spend Challenge

At the end of the challenge, make sure you check your results! How did it go? Did you have any cheat days or did you stick to the challenge? How do you feel now that it’s over? Do you want to keep going? It’s a good idea to process all of your feelings about the last 30 days, so you know how to move forward. My hubby and I were able to make a lot of changes after only one no spend challenge that has saved us tons! I can confidently say we think twice before spending a dime now. That’s why I’m excited to begin this challenge after the holiday season, so we can get back on track!

We hope you’ll join us! Don’t forget to snag your free 30 day tracker before you start! Do you have any extra tips to add for a no spend challenge? Comment below!

8 thoughts on “No Spend Challenge: How to be Successful”

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  5. I’m planning a no spend April. My biggest challenge will be groceries. I tend to stock up as though the Seven Year Famine is looming. Shopping from my pantry and freezer could possibly feed me through May!! I’ll probably be somewhat burned out on that ten pounds of mahi mahi that was such a good buy from Costco but so be it.

    1. Groceries was tough for me at first, too! Maybe Pinterest could be super helpful for finding ways to switch up your mahi mahi lol. Good luck on your no spend challenge!!

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