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No spend challenge – 6 months spending freeze

Upon reviewing our finances this financial year it was clear we slipped up. There were big changes, huge medical bills and an interstate move plus we developed and attitude of laziness and ‘we deserve it’. As in, we deserve that ice cream because it has been a hard day. We “deserve” take away because we are busy and work is full on.

The “I deserve it mentality” can be negative or I can use it to my advantage to kick our finances into shape again and save for the house we want.

I deserve it!
When you use this as an excuse to buy whatever you want it can make you spiral out of control with your spending and really blow the budget.

If you spin it around and focus on your goals, it can help you save money and achieve more. For example, your goal might be a holiday to the Great Barrier Reef. When you are weighing up buying that junk food or spending other money on things you feel you deserve, instead of saying “I deserve this ice-cream” tell yourself “I deserve my holiday!”

Focus on the end goal and put back whatever it is you were going to spend. Which do you deserve and want more – the ice-cream or the holidays?

Save Thousands with a No Spend Challenge!

No Spend Challenge
As a result of overspending last financial year, I am going on on a 6 month no spend challenge. I can be extremely frugal when I am committed. Because I am no longer in a financial position that means I have to be, it is easier for me to slip up and spend unnecessarily.

My no spend challenge will mean no spending on anything that is not essential and when I do spend it has to be the best value for money purchase.

To give you an idea, essentials include:
– Rent, electricity, insurance, gas, water, medical needs, basically any bill that has to be paid to provide the basics in our home for my daughters.
– Groceries that are under $150 per week total including alcohol, any cleaning supplies etc.

Non-essentials include:
– Take away of any form
– Clothing (excluding sneakers for each of my daughters and uniforms if necessary. They are having a growth spurt).
– Travel outside of planned travel unless it is a paid trip
– Mobile phone. It is generally essential for me to have credit, however, I want to see how long I can go without recharging. I have wifi pretty much everywhere, mostly use Facebook messenger and rarely make calls or send texts.

Basically, if I can live without it, I will. One grey area others may disagree on is my monthly beauty salon trip I will not give up. I get one thing done and I have looked at more permanent options but I am not a candidate for them. I do my own hair, manicures, pedicures etc. So I can live with this minor monthly expense.

Save the difference
It’s all well and good to say you aren’t going to spend money, I’ve found if I do not commit that money to something else, it disappears. As soon as I decide to save my money instead of making a purchase, that money needs to be transferred to my savings account. If I had made the purchase I would have had to find a way to manage without it, so I like to behave as if the money is gone and make things work without it.

If you have a large debt to pay off, transfer it to your debt. Whatever you choose to do, don’t just stop spending, find another purpose for you money to keep you motivated.

I’ll be doing this from Jul 1st, 2016 through to December 31st, 2016 and most likely beyond. Getting really strict for a short time motivates me, breaks my bad habits and enables me to focus on how I want to live my life.

To check my progress, I’ll post links to updates here:
Update 1 – 10 days into the challenge
Update 2 – tips to resist temptation

Are you joining? Have you ever done a no spend challenge?
You might also like:
10 ways to make $1,000 this month
101 ways to make money from home
50 ways to live for free
What to do with unexpected bonus money and how to get it

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Sonia Hale

Sunday 10th of July 2016

Great post.

Mel @ brokeGIRLrich

Sunday 10th of July 2016

The longest I've managed to do a no spend challenge is a week, but even that made a difference! Good luck with the whole 6 months!!

The Thrifty Issue

Monday 11th of July 2016

A week does make a difference! The change in thinking is surprising.

Emily @ JohnJaneDoe

Saturday 9th of July 2016

We did a no spend month last October...which included minimizing our grocery bill to produce, dairy, toiletries and cleaning supplies and no dining out. It was tough but taught me a lot about how we spend money, why we spend money, etc. Since then we've really cut back on things like our regular grocery spending, eating out, buying clothes, etc. We even cut our Christmas spending almost in half.

I don't think I could have done no spending for 6 months, though. We cut back, but still allow ourselves the occasional night out, trip to the movies, or unplanned purchase.

Good luck with your challenge!

The Thrifty Issue

Monday 11th of July 2016

We realised when we reviewed our spending over the past 6 months we eat out way too much. I've previously had to do long stints of not spending (when I was married my now ex-husband sometimes was out of work, after the divorce I was a single mum etc.)


Saturday 9th of July 2016

I really need to try this! I'll definitely be checking in on your progress, sounds tough but really worth it!

The Thrifty Issue

Monday 11th of July 2016

Yes, not an easy challenge. Worth it when you have a definite plan and end game though.

Laura Harris

Saturday 9th of July 2016

Wishing you all the best on this no-spend challenge! Six months takes a lot of focus! I'm sure your kids will benefit from your example of living on less and finding contentment.

The Thrifty Issue

Monday 11th of July 2016

We've found it to be good so far and discovered a lot of free family fun in our area which is great. I hope it teaches my kids something. Thank you.

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