Happy Holidays to you and yours! Today, I thought it appropriate to talk about how to do a successful ‘No Spend’ Challenge.
A ‘No Spend’ Challenge can be done at any time throughout the year. But, January is an exceptionally appropriate time to challenge yourself to a ‘No Spend Month’ to detox from the consumerism of the holiday season. Christmas can be a major budget buster…assuming you actually have a budget. And even though Christmas occurs on the same day every year, without fail, there are always folks that are caught off guard and unprepared.
Have you ever had a ‘spendy’ Christmas holiday?
If so, no judgment because I’ve been there myself. I distinctly recall a time when I had a serious case of after-Christmas blues. Once the Christmas tree and ornaments were tucked away I remember being afraid to look at my credit card balance for fear of dealing with the reality of my spending choice. What a way to start out a new year.
Christmas should be filled with fun times with friends and family.
We should have time and space to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. But too often, we’re caught up in the gift-giving and consumerism of the holiday season. For this reason, I really despise being out in stores after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the anxiety-filled bustle of Christmas also tends to bring out the worst in some people, making for an unpleasant shopping experience.
Case in point…A couple of weeks ago I needed to pick up candy canes and last-minute gift wrapping supplies, so I reluctantly headed out to the local Dollar Tree. As I stepped out of my car I saw two very senior ladies arguing over a parking spot. I went into the store and purchased what I needed and when I returned to my car they were still arguing! Nothing like two silver-haired grandmas nearly coming to blows in a parking lot to get you in the Christmas spirit!
Ok, mini-rant over. Back to the actual topic for this post. After Christmas, I like to spend some time detoxing from all of the overspending and consumption that has become synonymous with the holiday season. So I’m challenging myself (and you) to participate in a No Spend Month.
What Exactly is a No-Spend Month
A no-spend month can be approached differently depending on the person. You absolutely have the ability to make it your own. To me, a no-spend month is a month in which I won’t be doing any discretionary or recreational spending. In other words, during a No Spend Month, I only shop for essentials.
Tips for a Successful No Spend Month
1. Choose a month that you’re likely to be successful in.
DO NOT select a month when you’re traveling out of town or going on vacation, or a month when you are having a birthday or anniversary. If you have any of these events occurring in January no worries…February will work just fine!
2. Take an hour to create a meal plan for the month.
3. Do a quick inventory of your personal care items.
4. Let your friends know what you’re up to.
5. Get buy-in from your family.
6. Develop a list of alternative activities to participate in.
What should I do with the money that I save?
- Start with a dish that you’ve been wanting to try out but couldn’t find the time
- Pop some popcorn, close your laptop, and cut off your cell phones while enjoying some FREE fun with the family.
- Declutter your closet. You probably have a ton of things in your closet that you don’t wear or can no longer fit. You might even come across a few items that you can list on eBay or Craig’s List to sell and earn a few bucks.
- Pamper Yourself..at home. Have a DIY Spa Day! Pull out some candles and bubble bath and soak in the tub while reading a good novel.
- Work on your budget for next month. If you need help with budgeting, grab a free copy of my Excel monthly budget spreadsheet