How to Cut the Overwhelm of a No Spend Month

A no spend month is a great way to quickly save money for a goal, but it can also get overwhelming if you try to do too much with the challenge.  With these tips for how to have a no spend month, you can cut the overwhelm of a no spend month challenge… and hit your financial goals more quickly.

female hand with clipboard and money background with white overlay and text tips to cut overwhelm of no spend month

What is a No Spend Month?

A no spend month is a period of time (usually a month) where you cut your expenses as much as you possibly can.  You want to cut to the bare bones and only spend money on essentials that you can’t live without (like housing, transportation, utilities, and essential food). 

Everything else (like eating out, junk food, clothing, and entertainment) needs to wait until after the no spend period is finished.

Why Do a No Spend Month?

Perhaps you want to kick-start a savings goal or want to get started quickly on paying off debt?  A no spend month will help you accumulate a pile of money faster than you normally would just by following your monthly budget or doing ‘little money’ saving challenges.

Paying off a big chunk of your debt or having a great start on your emergency fund after just a month of saving is a great motivator to keep going until you’ve reached your goal.

However, it’s easy to let the thought of a no spend month get overwhelming.  You have so much going on already with a hectic life.  Do you really have the mental bandwidth to add something else to your life?

A no spend month does not have to be overwhelming when you use these 6 tips to have a No Spend Month without the overwhelm.


Start Small (Try a No Spend Day or a No Spend Week)

Rather than start big with an entire no spend month, you might want to start small with a no spend day or a no spend week.  You can gain confidence in how it works and slowly work your way to a longer period of time.

Remember the “Why”

It may be difficult and a bit of a sacrifice to have a no spend month.  However, you have to remember why you’re doing it.  Get your entire family on board with your goals and know “why” you’re doing this challenge.

You can use this free printable to write down your family “why” for having a no spend month.  Then, post it in a prominent place in your home so everyone is on the same page and remembers why you’re making these sacrifices for this small period of time.

Create Realistic Rules {that work for you and your family}

Typically, before you start a no spend month, you’ll come up with a list of rules for the month.  For example, you may need to buy produce and some dairy products each week or every other week.  So, you make a list of things that you’re “allowed” to buy. You can also make a list of those things you will not spend money on for the month.

However, if you make the rules super strict, it can get overwhelming and feel too constricting and potentially cause you to fail.  On the other hand, if you create too many rules, it can also become overwhelming trying to remember all the rules.

Create a set of rules that will work for you and your family.  Write them down using this free printable sheet and post the rules on the fridge so you (and the rest of your family) remember them.

pink background with glass jar of money saved during no spend month

Use What You Have

One way to spend less money on food is to use what you already have on hand.  You likely have more food in your pantry, freezer, and fridge than you realize. 

Take a quick inventory of what you already have and then plan meals around those ingredients for the month. 

You can use this website to choose an ingredient and get a variety of recipes based on that ingredient.  That makes it way less overwhelming to use up what you already have (and spend no money in the process)!

Plan ahead to avoid temptations

Do you know when you have certain temptations to spend?  Perhaps you love to stop at Starbucks for your morning coffee.  Or maybe you hit up the vending machine in the middle of the afternoon for a little pick-me-up snack?  Or you have every intention of packing your lunch in the morning before work but just don’t seem to have enough time to make it happen.

Plan ahead to avoid the temptations to spend money. 

If coffee is your weakness, make your own coffee at home in the morning and put it a mug that will stay hot during your drive. 

If you know you’ll need a snack in the afternoon, pack a snack to bring with you. 

If you know you don’t have time to make your lunch in the mornings, pack it at night before you go to bed so you can simply grab it and go.

Give Yourself Grace

If you fail during your no spend period, it’s ok!  You don’t need to completely abandon your no spend month for one small mistake.  Give yourself grace, and try not to spend any money going forward until the end of your no spend period.

So, what do you think?  Do you think that you’re up for trying a No Spend Month with these tips to make it less overwhelming?

Resource to Help You Be Successful with Your No Spend Month

image of printable no spend month goal setting page with pink and teal elements

Click the image above or the text below to get your free printable planning page.


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