The No Spend Challenge – Day 1: Rules & Guidelines

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Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

This is the First day of The No Spend Challenge. To read all posts in order start with Day One. Read a summary of the challenge and view all 31 days in a list format here.

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Welcome to Day 1 – Rules & Guidelines: This is a call to all of us to try this challenge in our own way, with our own rules, and to do this together!

We did this challenge in November 2014 and January 2015. We ate what we had in our pantry and freezer. Guess what? We were able to save 30% and 20% of our budget respectively during those two months. It really was an eye opener for us to see where our priorities lie.

So, what are the suggested guidelines or rules for The No Spend Challenge? 

The guidelines or rules most people set for The No Spend Challenge are generally simple:

*No spending on anything outside of our absolute necessities.

*Eat from your food pantry, fridge, and freezer as much as possible.

*Avoid shopping at stores, coffee shops, etc.

*Avoid shopping online.

*You set a mini-budget of a pre-determined cash amount say $300 and that covers everything for the month- gas, essential groceries (milk, eggs), fresh fruits, etc.

*Encourage others in the group not to spend as well.

Exclusions:

What is typically excluded from The No Spend Challenge? Typically exclusions include your fixed expenses such as: Mortgage/Rent, Utilities, Cell Phones, Netflix (or cable/satellite if you still have that), Health Expenses, Sinking Fund Savings, Diapers & Wipes, Planned Vacations, Birthdays, etc.

Again the main goal is to stop spending. Then focus on other things the rest of the month.

Some Words of Wisdom…

The first week isn’t so bad. I’d highly recommend saving something special like ice cream or a steak for week 3. Keep a diary or find a way to document your journey. Review what you’ve written on the last day of the challenge.

It’s a great time to spend more time as a family too. Use this as opportunity to play board games, find free activities, clean & de-clutter your home, or just enjoy each other’s company at home.

Again, remember this challenge is totally customizable and easy to adapt to your lifestyle! 

What will your “No Spend Challenge” look like? Will you limit your coffee stops at Starbucks? Will you eat out only once a week or not at all? No buying toys? No clothing purchases? Limit or eliminate alcohol consumption (particularly going out)? Will you do your challenge for one month, a few months, or every month of the year? Or will you have a specific, themed challenge?

Are you ready to commit? We can do this! Let’s get to it!

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What rules or guidelines will you use for this month’s No Spend Challenge?

{Click here to go to day 2}

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About Jonathan Key 112 Articles
Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

12 Comments

  1. I think it’s a great challenge but I couldn’t do it. I’m vegetarian and visit the farmer’s market and other places for fresh items a few times a week… It would be a major challenge! Best wishes on this one. 🙂

    • Eliz you can set your own rules so this challenge is totally customizable to your lifestyle. So you could reduce expenses in entertainment for example. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • Nicole not sure what you mean about getting random things… The challenge is simply to customize a reduction in your family’s spending habits. Yes, cutting down or out on smoking would be a great start! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  2. I am committing to a no spend January. My freezers and pantry are stuffed with garden produce from last summer. I have meat in the freezer but more days than not I go meatless. Other than the two activities we had previously planned (and have already paid for last month) there will be no spending for anything other than basic necessities. Looking forward to the challenge!

  3. This a great idea! I really love the idea about saving some items for the third week. I also like the puzzle and game ideas.such a great way for families to bond without spending money.

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