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I have this friend. And I’m not judging, just using her as an example. But she recently posted on Facebook that her family spent almost $1000 on restaurants/take out for one month. A thousand dollars. Just on restaurants, fast food, coffee drinks. That’s $250 a week! First thing I said to her was, “You need to do a No-Spend November Challenge.” She agreed. And asked, “What are the No Spend November rules?”
Mind you, I know this person solely based on our mutual love of couponing and bargain hunting. No one can spot a deal like her! Which just goes to show, and why I’m not judging. We all fall into bad habits sometimes. It happens. We’ve all done it. But a No Spend Challenge is a great way to get back on track. And, I’ve even included a No Spend Challenge printable to help you along the way.
Occasionally, we all get or need a wake-up call. Going over her bank statement was hers.
My wake up call is stressing about the holidays. Every year I plan how much we’re going to spend. And almost every year I go over it because I forgot something. Every year, I feel like I am behind the spending 8-ball before Thanksgiving even gets here.
So I promised myself, not this year. This year I am doing a No-Spend November Challenge.
No Spend Challenge Month
You’ve heard of people giving up things in November, right? It’s often a no- this or that. I believe it got started with men who were not shaving to raise awareness for prostate cancer, No-Shave November. Since then, many other ideas have piggy-backed on that or copied it.
Of course, you eat, you drive your car, you use water. But if it’s not necessary, you don’t spend.
Think of it as “Less Spending November” if you must. But all the online articles agree on the No Spend Rules: The No-Spend November Challenge is just buying the essentials. Essentials.
Some folks do a No Spend January. Hey, whatever works for you.
No-Spend November Rules
- Decide what you are going to do and make a plan. If you always go shopping with your bestie on Black Friday, do it! Just stick to it for the rest of the month. All the online websites agree: It’s only the essentials. Essentials. Can you live without it? Then don’t buy it. (free monthly challenge printable below)
- Look at your bank statements from September and October and add up what you’ve spent on unnecessary items. Think of that as your goal. You could have that much more money in your account at the end of November.
- Make a plan for the money that you’ll save. Using my friend’s example from above, if they gave up restaurants and Starbucks, they could save $900+. Let’s say $500 because they likely will need to spend more on groceries than they have been. They should make a plan for that $500 to keep you motivated throughout the month.
- Yes, there’s a big (and sometimes expensive!) holiday in November. Enjoy the holiday, cook for your family if that’s what you do. But be sensible and ask yourself “do we really need this?” or “every year I end up throwing this out, why am I buying it?” Yams with marshmallows, I’m looking at you. Just because it’s tradition, don’t make it if no one eats it.
- Go slower. Slow down this month. Before each and every purchase you make, ask yourself, “Do I really need this? Do I already have this or something similar at home? Why am I buying this?” It’s going to take discipline, some more than others. But you just have to be strong and say no.
- Tell your kids now. I told mine last night. “Don’t ask me for anything. We are not buying anything but groceries until Christmas.” If they protest, fill their mouth with Halloween candy. Make sure everyone is on board or there will just be resentment if someone brings new things home.
- Which reminds me, as you look at your calendar, give yourself some bright spots. November is also a Book Fair month at many schools. I told my son that yes, he will still get Book Fair money. But that’s the only thing this month. If you have outings planned, keep them because if this whole month is horrible and boring, you’ll give up.
- What’s in your wallet? One of my “cheats” for a no-spend month is that I allow myself to use any gift cards that I have in my wallet. Remind yourself that you can do this. We don’t need “things,” we really don’t.
- Do it any month! If November doesn’t work for you, bookmark this post and save the printable for January, February, March….whenever! What matters is that if your spending is out of control, that you rein it in. I purposely left the month off the printable so that it’s good any time.
- Lastly, don’t trash the month if you make one mistake.
No Spend Month Printable
Here’s a free printable guide to get you started. Sometimes seeing your ideas on paper can help them come to life.
Good luck and I hope you achieve your goals this month, whatever you decide.