I have had over 50 No Spend Days this year so far! I set myself the challenge of having 100 No Spend Days in 2012, so I am currently ahead of schedule. I am due to move to Uni in autumn though and I think it's better to get as many as possible out of the way before I go!
So what have I learned so far?
The Boyfriend said that I would probably just roll lots of spending into one day, so no spend days would not save any money. This is not the case. I find that I don't spend more than normal on a “spend day”.
I find this challenge stops me spending little bits here and there. If I am having a No Spend Day, it's not worth losing it for an ice cream or a drink. It stops the drip drip drip of unconscious spending.
I have found that spending money is quite addictive. Even buying diesel can be quite exciting! I bet no-one else gets that excited about swiping their debit card! I think it's because it makes you feel rich. If you have a few spend days in a row, it's hard to break the pattern. You feel drawn back into consumerism.
I need to turn this feeling around. Spending money makes me feel rich, but NOT spending money makes you ACTUALLY rich(er)!
The breakdown of my No Spend Days is as follows:
- January – 13
- February – 14
- March – 10
- April – 11
- May (so far) – 6 of a possible 14 ( target is 14 for the month)
As you can see, since I was approaching and achieved being debt free in March I seemed to spend more often. I have set myself a target for May to get back on track and have 14 No Spend Days.
Who would benefit from No Spend Days?
The value of No Spend Days is debated a lot online. Do they encourage people to spend less, or simply group a lot of spending into a few days?
I would say they are good for those who fall victim to the “latte factor”, a phase invented by David Bach to describe the little things you spend money on daily. The example he gives is a latte on the way to work in the morning, but it could be any unnecessary purchase from a newspaper to buying lunches. If you just bring your own coffee/lunch from home a few days a week you could save a bundle, racking up a No Spend Day in the process!
Then again, as Laura Vanderkam said, perhaps these Latte Factor Victims spend a lot less on rent so that they can afford little luxuries like this!
Do you keep track of No Spend Days? Do you think they are a useful tool in a frugal lifestyle?