At the start of the year I set myself a challenge to have 100 No Spend Days in 2012. A No Spend Day is where you don't spend any money (duh!), although standing bills like rent, utilities etc. don't count. I originally took on the challenge because I wanted to stop the little drips of cash that I often spent on pointless things, like a bar of chocolate or a coffee. I hoped it would cut down on my own little “Latte Factor“.
I completed the challenge! :) I reached 100 No Spend Days!
January: 13 No Spend Days
May: 10 (I realised I had been slacking, so decided to up my game the next month!)
July: 12 (was travelling for 10 days though, so actually probably the best month so far!)
August (so far): 13
Back in May I hit the halfway mark. I had noticed that despite The Boyfriend's predictions, I did not spend more on “spend days” than I otherwise would have, although I did find that the frequency of my No Spend Days decreased after I'd finished paying back my overdraft. I'm pleased to say that after I have since regained momentum and started having more No Spend Days each month! :)
I have picked up a few handy techniques along the way for people wanting to increase the amount of No Spend Days they have:
- Don't go shopping! Seems like a pretty simple idea, but if you head into town for “something to do” you'll pretty much inevitably buy something, even if it's just a bottle of water.
- Don't bring your wallet. I'm not saying be cheap and expect everyone else to pay for you if you go out! What I mean is if you're not planning on buying anything, don't take your purse to work etc., because it's easy to be tempted into buying a snack or something and the little Latte Factor dripping of money starts again.
- Remember WHY you are avoiding spending. Come up with a savings goal, such as a £1000 basic Emergency Fund. Whenever you're about to make a frivolous purchase, remember how much closer you'll be to your goal if you DON'T spend your cash!
- Bring your own lunch. It's easy to go into town and grab a sandwich at lunchtime, but if you bring your own lunch you'll stop the daily spending!
- Track your spending. If you don't pay attention, you'll find money slipping through your fingers with nothing to show for it. If you have to write down that you didn't have a No Spend Day because you bought one 60p chocolate bar, you'll be annoyed you didn't move towards your goal! Trust me!
- Find free things to do. Libraries, museums, picnics in the park, beach days, crafting. There's usually something free to do. Instead of going out for drinks with friends, why not invite them round?
- Plan purchases. Try to plan what you'll be eating in the next week so you can get it all in one go. Buy your petrol at the same time and you'll barely need anything for the next week!
I'll keep trying to add to my No Spend Days. The next month will be crazy as I'm moving to a new city next week, but when we get back into the swing of things I should be able to rack up many more before Christmas!
Do you have No Spend Days? Any tips or tricks to stop yourself spending money?