Saving is a necessity if you ever want to improve your finances, prepare for the future, or build wealth. It’s certainly a hot topic as everyone scrambles to find new and interesting ways to save and cut down expenses whether it’s a cheaper phone or cable bill or a sale, discount, or cashback rewards program.
If you ask me we’re all forgetting the most important, most effective (not to mention the easiest) way to save. Stop spending money on stuff period! It’s a pretty obvious conclusion that if we stop spending money on various things every day, we will instantly save a nice chunk of money. When you really think about it do we really need to spend money every single day? For me, the answer is no as I’m starting to realize I can get by just fine without making a daily purchase.
The best way to train yourself to stop spending period is by having a No Spend Week. It’s simply the best way to save money by far!
Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we value most and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality. In turn, it allows freedom from the passion to possess more and more things. Minimalists are simplistic and prefer not to deal with lots of clutter and material possessions. Thus, reducing the desire to purchase many items makes them ideal savers 🙂
I wouldn’t really consider myself a true minimalist just yet but I do understand and respect this unconventional way of thought.
I say unconventional because Americans at least, are trained from birth to consume everything from goods to electronics to food and everything in between. Consumerism keeps the economy going but it leaves us all with a house full of crap wondering Do I really need all this stuff? That’s when we get shows like “Clean House” and “Hoarding: Buried Alive” where the people look so depressed and unfulfilled with their lives.
My weakness is clothes shopping but then what’s that popular saying? All dressed up and nowhere to go. Yup. I realized that relationships and experiences are more important to me than things and I’m ok with not having the newest and the best of everything. (Plus, I’ve started a 6-month shopping ban that I’m super excited about. Details coming soon!)
How to Not Spend Money For a Week
Now that we’ve explored the idea of living with less stuff, it’s time to plan and have a no spend week to generate instant savings. But first, what exactly is a no spend week? Basically, a no spend week is a week where you essentially don’t spend any money at all.
This could mean that it’s a week where no money comes out of your account at all. Or, it could mean that the only money you spend is on bills and necessities. But, with a no spend week, you are stopping yourself from buying unnecessary items and keeping more money in your pocket.
And, it’s also easier to do or start with if you’re just getting into budgeting and saving. I’ve also done no spend months, and some people have done no spend years, but a week is a great place to start.
Determine How Intense Your No Spend Week Will Be
The first thing you need to do is determine how intense your no spend week will be. While spending absolutely nothing the entire week would be ideal, there might be some necessities that need to be funded.
I usually set aside my gas money for the week so I can get to and from work and continue to pay bills if their due date falls during my no spend week. But as far as anything else goes, my wallet remains closed until further notice.
Plan Your No Spend Week
Next, you’ll need to take some time to plan when your no spend week would work best for you. If you’re just starting out, I’d recommend choosing a week where there won’t be any major events like holidays or birthdays that will tempt you to spend.
Get The Whole Family Involved
If you have a family or spouse that you want to include in your no spend week, make sure you’re planning with them too. You can sit everyone down and have a meeting about how you’re going to achieve a no spend week, what purchases are allowed, and how you can all pull together to make it all work.
Prepare Yourself Mentally
Finally, you’ll need to prepare yourself mentally as well as plan out how you will navigate through your week without making any purchases. Figure out what type of food you’d like to eat and the free things you can do in or near your home to keep busy. Make it fun and invite your whole household to try a no spend week with you for added support.
Other Ways To Have A Successful No Spend Week
Besides having meetings and preparing, there are other practical tips to have a great no spend week. Here are a few that have worked well for me and my family.
Having a no spend week forces you to be creative and work with what you have.
This could mean:
- Trying out new recipes to diversify your meals ( I love to use the $5 Meal Plan for this)
- Making gifts with items you have around the house
- Defining new ways to entertain yourself
- Finding better ways to spend time with loved ones
- Finding side hustles to make money instead of spending it ( I love taking surveys and scanning my grocery receipts. It’s easy money!)
- Decluttering your space and making it into something you love seeing everyday
- And more
The creative ideas you come up with during your no spend week will continue to help you save money long after the week is over.
Related: Survey Junkie Review
Find Free Things To Do
Along with getting creative during your no spend week, you can also find a ton of free things to do. There isn’t a shortage of fun and free activities that you can do by yourself, with your significant other, with family, and even with friends.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Have a popcorn and movie night (this is great if you don’t utilize your streaming apps enough)
- Have an indoor camping experience – build a fort, have smores, and just chat
- Go Hiking
- Play video games (if you already have them)
- Visit a free gallery or museum in your town
- Listen to some podcasts
- Read a new book or go to the library and spend time browsing
While there are so many other free things that you can do, this list should be able to help you get started.
Related: 75 Free Things To Do This Weekend
Ban the Stores and Make it Easy on Yourself
During a no spend week or a no spend weekend, you should avoid heading to the store at all costs. That way you won’t be tempted to buy anything. Just by not going to the store or buying any takeout you will save plenty of money, especially if you dine out normally, and you will have the opportunity to question those random impulse purchases you make every week.
Don’t Defeat the Purpose
Stocking up on extra goods the week before or after will only defeat the purpose of having a no spend week. The idea is to use the resources you have and keep your cabinets stocked all the times. If you get into the habit of planning meals that will help a lot. It’s also helpful to budget your essentials or home expenses each month and build up a good stock of toiletries and other essentials all the time.
That way, when you stop spending money for a week, you won’t feel like you’re down to the bare essentials. In the following weeks, it’s crucial that your resume following your monthly budget like normal. Just having a little self-control will prevent you from overspending to make up for the time you didn’t spend anything.
Eat Through Your Cabinets
Speaking of well-stocked cabinets, be sure to follow a meal plan and budget wisely for groceries. You could also try a pantry challenge where you create meals from the items that you find in your pantry, fridge, and freezer.
If you plan on doing a pantry challenge, sites like SuperCook will allow you to add the ingredients you have on hand and will calculate recipes for you.
Can You Do A No Spend Week?
While a no spend week may seem difficult at first, with some planning and preparation, it doesn’t have to be hard. These tips will keep you on board, and of course, accountability always helps. And think about it this way… you only have to do it for 7 days to start with!
Have you ever has a No Spend Week before? If so, how did it turn out?
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