10 No Spend Challenges Everyone Should Try

no spend challenge

If you’re looking for a way to get a new perspective on how you spend money, one of the best ways to do this is to do some type of “no spend” challenge. While there are a number of things that a no spend challenge can help improve, probably the main benefit is that it’ll force you to break spending habits that you may not have even known you had. By finding these spending habits, being aware of them, and then coming up with solutions to change them, you put yourself in a position to use your money more effectively and on the things that are really important to you. In this way, no spend challenges are a wonderful way to help you get some insight into your current personal finances to see the changes that need to be made. Here are a few types of no spend challenges that can be extremely beneficial to your finances:

No Spend Day Challenge

The no spend day challenge is the classic of the no spend challenges. A no spend day challenge is basically a day where you are not allowed to spend any money. While they may not appear to be too difficult in theory, they tend to be more difficult than most people imagine because they often bring to light spending leaks that most people didn’t realize they had. Of course, you are not limited to only a single day. As you get better with your finances, you can try a no spend weekend, and no spend week, or even a no spend month. Any of these are bound to challenge the way that you currently spend money and force you to be creative in finding solutions to do and buy the things that you want without actually spending money.

No Impulse Purchase Challenge

This challenge can be an excellent way to greatly reduce the amount you spend shopping while at the same time making you more organized and think through all of your purchases. In this no spend challenge, you are only allowed to buy things that you have written down on a list before you went to the store to by them. No “oh, I need this too” purchases. If it’s not on the list, then it can’t be purchased. By sticking strictly to buying those things that you went to the store to purchase and buying nothing else, you will place yourself in a position to see how much you were spending on impulse purchases in the past.

No Credit Card Use Challenge

For those who have a volatile relationship with their credit card, a no spending with a credit card challenge can be an excellent way to help break the habit of using your credit card. You simply pick a period of time such as a month period where you’re not allowed to use your credit card for any purchases. This is a great way to see all those small expenses that you put on a credit card without even thinking about it in the past and should help you become much more aware of how often you used to use a credit card without even thinking about it.

No Buying Food Challenge

Not only is a no buying food challenge a great way to save money, it should also help you find new recipes and meals to broaden your cooking repertoire. Again, this challenge can be for any period of time, but it’s usually done for a week or a month depending on how much you have in your pantry. During this time, you’re not allowed to go and buy food from the store. Instead, you need to use the food that you have on hand. Since most families throw away a large amount of food each year, this is a great way to be creative using food without wasting. It can also help clean out your pantry of food that’s been there for a long period, and help you get creative in making meals from the food that you have on hand. The hope is that by doing all this, it will help you shop more efficiently and make better food purchases in the future.

No Eating Out Challenge

For those who have a tendency to let trips out to restaurants ruin their budget, doing a no spending money eating out challenge can be a great way to help temper this habit. As the name would suggest, the goal is to not eat any of your meals at a restaurant or from a takeout joint during this specified period of the challenge. Knowing that you won’t be able to go out to eat should help you prepare a bit more for cooking meals at home, and hopefully get you into a habit where going out to eat becomes a planned event instead of the default option.

No Cost Entertainment Challenge

One place where many people find leaks in their budget has to do with money spent on entertainment. By doing a month-long no spend on entertainment challenge, you will have to find new and creative ways to entertain yourself that don’t cost any money. It should give you a good opportunity to see how much you have been spending on entertainment in the past, and help you find different forms of entertainment that can be done without spending any money. By finding ways that you can entertain yourself without spending money, you place yourself in a great position to really pick and chose when you want to spend money on entertainment in the future.

No Coffee Shop Challenge

If you happen to be one of those people who has the habit of stopping in at the local coffee shop on a daily basis, doing a no spend at the coffee shop challenge can be an excellent way to help you break the habit over the short-term, and greatly reduce it over the long-term. While the coffee shop example is used here, this can be used with any habit that you have where you know money is leaking out of your budget. If you’re able to go a month without visiting the coffee shop, you should be in the position to make those coffee shop trips to treat rather than a daily habit, saving you a lot of money.

No Clothes Buying Challenge

Many people seem to get their therapy treatments by buying clothes (or other things). If you find that you’re spending money on clothes every month, doing a no spending on clothes challenge for a month can be an excellent way for you to reevaluate your wardrobe and buying habits. By the end of the challenge, you should know if there are any clothes that you really do need versus the clothes you merely want.

No Cable TV Package Challenge

Many people who try this challenge for a month are pretty surprised when they realize how much TV was a habit rather than something that they really wanted to see. Spending a month without cable TV can put you in a much better position to determine whether it is something that is worth the price, or something that is getting in your way to do other things. It will give a new perspective on how you have been spending time and how you really want to spend that time.

No Spend Hobby Challenge

Hobbies can be expensive and it’s often a good idea to spend a month of more on a challenge not to spend any money on that hobby. While this can be difficult, it will really get your creative juices flowing since it’s something that you enjoy doing. Often times, it will help reaffirm the reason that you originally became interested in the hobby and make you appreciate it that much more. it can also help you focus on where to best spend the money that you do have on your hobby once the challenge is over.

What all these challenges should do is give a different perspective on your spending in these areas, and help you think about new ways to achieve what you want in those areas without spending additional money. Taking on a no spending challenge can be difficult, but the information that you learn from them can be invaluable to helping you get better control of your finances and spending more wisely.

Have you ever done a no spend challenge? What are some of the things that you learned which surprised you if you have? Are you planning any no spend challenges for this year?

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98 Responses to 10 No Spend Challenges Everyone Should Try

  1. Just over the half way point for my no spend January and I wasted too much money on fast food so now there is no cash left for the month except the coin I can find.

    Freezing cold in Canada today and it means that I will use much more gas to get my car warm and keep the windshiedl clear. I have the weekend off and will have to have a no drive weekend to save the gas for getting to work.

    Lots of food in the pantry so I will be stuck eating my own cooking until the end of January. At least I still have lots of toilet tissue.

  2. Gina says:

    I’ve done many no-spend days but have never tried a month. I’d like to do it in February since it’s the shortest one :)

  3. Danielle P says:

    We’ve tried some of these no spending challenges. My other half has a hard time with impulse buying and will try to justify it. We learned it’s something to be worked on constantly.

  4. CB in the City says:

    I do these challenges a lot. My favorite is the $300 challenge — trying to keep all variable non-bill spending under $300. Quite a challenge for me but a good way to sample post-retirement living.

  5. Stacy says:

    I like the no buying food challenge idea, it will really help us stop buying food when we have a pantry and freezer full of food already.

  6. MY says:

    I’ve never done these challenges and never even thought of it before. But I think it will be a great exercise for me to learn how to live within my means and stick to my budget by getting rid of unnecessary purchases. It will make me think twice about what I need, what I want, my budget, and my overall financial goal.
    Thank you.

  7. Gabe A. says:

    It would allow me to utilize my money in a more productive manner.

  8. Brandy says:

    I’ve done this before… it’s great because it really requires you to focus in on what’s important to be spending on.

  9. Debbie Q says:

    We have undertaken a permanent cable challenge and we are loving it. It just became too expensive to pay for channels that we never used.

  10. Sandra J says:

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. sue brandes says:

    It would help me have better control of my money.

  12. sheila scroggins says:


  13. amber says:

    I think i could learn the difference between needs and wants

  14. Selene M. says:

    I’d definitely save money and perhaps it would be the start of regular saving.

  15. Leslie J says:

    I love trying no spend challenges, but I often fail at them miserably…. no enough discipline and “life” seems to always get in the way.

  16. Elisabeth says:

    I should definitely participate in the No Eating Out Challenge as we eat out wayyy to much. That will save us money and pounds!

  17. rachel says:

    Saving money is great, so if this helps, I’m all for it

  18. cathy henatyszen says:

    I have never done one of these challenges, but I am fully aware that often we spend too much on things we do not need, I have a father who is a hoarder, so I try to really watch what I spend my money on.

  19. kelly nicholson says:

    What do you think you would gain from trying a no spend challenge?

    money saved..ha ha

  20. jeffrey says:

    Very true — it’s easy to cheat if you want on the shorter ones (longer ones a re a bit more difficult). It all depends on how you approach it.

  21. Mary says:

    I had a no-spend week, 2 weeks before Christmas, which allowed me to focus on what I had spent and how much I could spend. The week before Christmas was mostly food purchases and a couple of small items. It can be done.

  22. Denise Donaldson says:

    I have use lots of coupons and not spent anything, so that is my no spend challenge. :)

  23. Biku Toria says:

    I don’t spend much right now, so 9/10 days I do not spend anything.

  24. Jenny says:

    I think it’s great for getting you to think more about how you spend your money.

    Another challenge you might want to try: a drink only water challenge. No soda, coffee, tea, juice, alcohol, etc. Of course this can be modified however you like. I keep milk in mine because I think it’s healthy and not something that I drink in excess (should probably be drinking more, actually). You could also allow yourself to add lemon, lime, cucumber, etc, to your water for extra flavor, or not.

    This is a good challenge for both your health and your wallet. Drinks can add a lot to a grocery or restaurant bill, and tap water is nearly free. It could also break a caffeine addiction or help to readjust taste buds that are used to a huge hit of sugar (soda) several times daily.

  25. Cindy Merrill says:

    I did No spend challenge on Coffee Shops- learned how to make lattes and specialty drinks.

  26. Katherine says:

    Less clutter I am trying to buy as few groceries as posible~

  27. Pearl says:

    I learned that I could use what’s left in the kitchen creatively.

  28. Sarah says:

    I’ve never specifically done one of thees challenges, but we’ve done something similar to the no food spending challenge at times. It’s amazing how many meals you can come up with just from what you have on hand.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  29. Anon in Seattle says:

    I am tracking and trying no spend days this month. I seem to average 2 per week. It’s been eye-opening to me to realize what a habit spending some money every day was for me. It’s been sort of a game so far, but also is making me think about the mindless spending I have been doing.

  30. Elizabeth says:

    It would help me find hidden expenses.

  31. Anya says:

    Lol, some much-needed self-control. Not that I don’t already have any, but I must admit to my fair share of impulse buying! Ahhh, I must resist! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  32. Andrew Wade says:

    It’s always good for me to take on a challenge that encourages me to break out of my routines (including spending routines) and seriously examine them.

  33. Riann says:

    I think I’d learn how those little things we don’t think about really add up!

  34. nicole w says:

    it would really show me my bad habits I’m sure!

  35. Angel Jacklyn says:

    I’ve never tried a no-spend challenge before, but I’m sure from the experience of it alone I would walk away with a few extra bucks & 2nd guessing future spending decisions.

  36. secretarysaving says:

    I have. We will do a no eating out food challenge.

  37. Holly says:

    I need to try the No eating out challenge, that is definitely our biggest budget buster.

  38. Gianna says:

    I do all of that frequently! I would love a new way to save.

  39. Felicia says:

    Think these challenges will add to those savings for my emergency fund.

  40. Kate says:

    I want to stop my lunch time habbits. I have a tendency to bring food from home and then buy something outside the office instead. I hope this challenge will help me to make better decisions to eat healthier and with more frugality.

  41. Darla Mathews says:

    I currently do the No Cable Package but that also includes no cable at all. We do have a subscription to Netflix but I find that’s all I really need and it’s MUCH cheaper than cable. Prefer reading anyway.

  42. Kathie Weiss-Lefebvre says:

    All good ideas, because they all work. I love clearing out my pantry — because then it’s easier to do an inventory of the shrinking remains, clean all my cupboards, and then buy some fresh non-perishable staples in bulk (only on sale, and only with a coupon).

  43. Colleen Boudreau says:

    I would gain a larger bank account lol.

  44. Naznin Azeez says:

    I have been on a no spend day challenge. I learned that I really can cut down on my expenses!.. Thank you for this amazing giveaway..

  45. Hope says:

    We often do a week here or there where we do not buy food at the grocery store. It started as something we did out of necessity – we were out of money and needed to eat. But occasionally I am just too tired to deal with a trip to the grocery store on Sunday, so I take a good hard look at what we have in the pantry. I am amazed when a week passes by and we haven’t starved to death. The only caveat is that during those weeks we *really* miss having fresh fruits and veggies in the house – even if we have plenty of frozen and canned stuff to get us by.

  46. molli vandehey says:

    i have unoffically tried to this, and gained an understanding of the things we do spend and how we can limit those thigns….

  47. Lamar Bowen says:

    I stopped eating out once and I definitely noticed the savings.

  48. Pingback: How To Get Your Budget Back On Track With 3 Easy Steps | Ask The Young Professional

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