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Why You Should Try a No Spend Month

What is a no spend month? Well, instead of budgeting for items that are non-essential, a no spend month challenges consumers to cut nonessential spending altogether.  

Giving up nonessential items is easier than many people think, and it saves money and reduces waste. Here is why we think a no spend month is both beneficial and achievable.  

Why You Should Try a No Spend Month

Financial Benefits 

To better understand how much money you can save during a no spend month, list your monthly budget, dividing items into essential and nonessential items. Anything you require to live a healthy and safe life should be put on the ‘essentials’ list. This may include insurance, food, medicine, etc. Items you can live without should be put on the ‘nonessentials’ list. This may include eating out, new clothes, décor, etc.  

Add up the amount spent in the ‘nonessentials’ group to see how much you could save during a month of no spending. This number may be surprising.  

For additional motivation, make a specific savings goal. Make sure your goal is achievable during the month or more you are participating in the no spend challenge.   

Environmental Benefits 

In a paper by Nature Communications, it was found that the driving force of environmental degradation is overconsumption by affluent households. Those that have the privilege to participate in a no spend month should take advantage of the opportunity in order to reduce waste production and help ease rapid climate change.  

After the 30 days, you may discover certain habits that you can live without in the future. Perhaps you are okay with using a hand towel instead of paper towels. You may even find that buying fewer clothes is easier than imagined. Whatever it may be, by consuming less you contribute less to landfills and oceans that are overwhelmed with man-made waste. 

Getting Started  

After making your list of essential and nonessential items, getting started  should be straightforward. However, many people become discouraged during the early days of the challenge. This is why setting clear goals is essential for success.  

If you still find it hard to get past the first week, try enlisting a family member or friend to participate in the challenge with you. Comradery will help inspire and provide accountability. Remember, doing something together is always easier than doing it alone. After the first couple of weeks many people can feel their old habits fade away.  

For more information on how to map out the logistics of your no spend journey, this article by the balance gives great pointers on how to go about this process.  

Resources  

Keeping track of your consumption on a calendar may be helpful, but a budgeting app may be more suited to your needs if your goal is to save. Here is a list of Nerd Wallet’s top budgeting apps for 2022.  

Have compassion with yourself! Starting off slow may be a good route if the challenge seems too daunting. For more tips on both the budgeting aspects and logistics, Chime has an article on how to nail a no spending month challenge.  

If you are still unsure of where to start, here is an example of a no spend month by blogger Jenny Lee who maps out her budgeting process and results in her blog titled No Spend Month Challenge Update.