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How I Saved Over $1,000 With A No Spending ChallengeInterested in doing a no-spending challenge?

No spend challenges are a fantastic way to motivate yourself to save more money each month!

I couldn’t believe the results that I got when I put a little effort into not spending my hard-earned money.

These challenges break up your money-saving habits so that it doesn’t seem so overwhelming when you’re trying to save.

There are many excellent ways to save money when you’re not spending it for a whole month. You may not even realize how obvious they are.

So let me share how I did a no-spend challenge and saved almost $1,000!

Because doing a saving challenge may be hard, but it’s totally doable when you set yourself up for success.

And doing a no-spending challenge can help you make a budget makeover which can help your finances for the rest of the year!

If you’re looking to save money, read on to hear how I saved over a thousand dollars this month with a no-spending challenge!

no-spending challenge

We Stopped Eating Out

It’s no secret that cooking at home saves you a lot more money than if you were to eat out. By going an entire month without eating out, I kept over four hundred and fifty dollars!

Our family of six normally go out to dinner once a week. That’s a lot of savings!

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Assuming you eat out for at least three meals each week, you’ll be able to quickly do the same when you stop spending on this non-essential category.

Sit down restaurants are much more expensive and you’ll be able to save several hundred dollars in only one month by eating in instead of having a night on the town.

During a no-spending challenge, keep a page where you can mark down each time you would have eaten out. Estimate how much your meal would cost and make a note on the page you’re keeping.

At the end of your no-spend challenge, you’ll have an idea of just how much you saved by cooking your food instead of going out. Isn’t that exciting?!

no-spending challenge

I Made My Own Coffee

If you know me then you know I love coffee! Hot, or iced, it’s all delicious!

Starbucks is my favorite and I used to stop every day while running the kids around to their classes, sports, and their other events. 

I know how to save on Starbucks but this month I truly wanted to not spend anything at all so I made my own coffee during this no-spending challenge.

I even brought jugs of coffee with me to drive up to see my great aunt for her birthday in South Carolina. Yes, jugs and jugs of cold-brew coffee! 

This alone saved me hundreds since I was the driver and you need to be awake while driving!

no-spending challenge

We Raided The Pantry And Freezers

Use what you have! I literally can’t say that phrase enough.

Chances are, there are probably a few things that you have already stockpiled that you just keep forgetting to use.

For me, it’s beans and Brussel sprouts. Almost every time I’m at the store, I’ve picked up bags of beans and frozen vegetables to use in meals.

And it seemed like the Brussel sprouts were always the last picked veggie to use at dinner so we had about 20 bags in the freezer.

Black beans are cheap and the perfect solution to bulk up a meal quickly. For that reason, I tend always to pick them up when I go grocery shopping.

If I had just checked my pantry, I’d find that I already have several cans and bags that I could have been using.

Like I always say, a little over time adds up! When you use what you already have on hand, you’ll spend less money, and your food won’t just sit around unused.

Needless to say, we learned how to make Brussels sprouts in different ways so we didn’t get sick of them. 

I Made A Meal Plan

I took inventory of what I already had stocked up and was amazed at how much I already had that I could have been using for previous meals. I ended up making a meal plan by using a ton of what I already had on hand and was able to save hundreds of dollars during my no-spending challenge!

So we didn’t eat out which saved us money. We ate at home which saved us money. And we used up the food we had so it never went bad which also saved us money. That’s a win-win in my book!

If you don’t believe me, do the math on what you already have to use and how much you generally spend on an average grocery shopping trip.

You’ll be stunned when you realize how much you already have, and how much you can save when you’re not buying a bunch of food that you don’t need for your daily meals.

Just using this trick every time you go to the store can be a budget makeover helper!

And yes, we ate every bag of beans and Brussel sprouts!

no-spending challenge

We Participated In Free Activities

Instead of going out to the movies, James and I stayed in and enjoyed a movie for a date night at home during the no-spending challenge. That alone saved me forty dollars alone! Plus, I didn’t even have to get out of my pajamas!

If you do a little research online during your saving challenge, you’ll more than likely be able to find a ton of free activities around town that you can take part in and meet new friends.

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There’s no shame in wanting to have fun, but when you’re in the middle of a no-spend month, you have to be smart about what you can really do!

Try riding your bike instead of paying for gas for your car during a no-spending challenge.

Take a look at what your town’s website says is coming up for the month. Maybe there’s a free concert in the park or an ice cream social this weekend!

We saved an extra couple hundred by just having fun around town and at some friend’s houses instead of going to the movies and Disney the rest of the month.

You’d be amazed at how much we spend on entertainment each month.

no-spending challenge

We Watched The Utility Usage

Saving money on a no-spending challenge doesn’t have to mean not using your cash or credit cards at all.

It can also mean saving money on things like electricity. It can be really easy to leave lights on in your home when you’re not concerned about that money coming out of your pocket.

I was very diligent about turning lights off and keeping my thermostat at a reasonable temperature.

I compared my last month’s utility bill with this month’s and was astounded. Who knew a little light could cause all my money to go down the drain?

Here’s how to save $40 On Your Electric Bill this month!

no-spending challenge

How We Saved $975 Over The Month

When I took a look at our bank account just before our no-spending challenge was over, I found that we had an EXTRA $975 in there. That’s almost $1,000!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? Talk about keeping that no spend motivation!

How in the world do you have an extra $975 in your checking account when you feel broke all the time?

I’ll tell you what we did during our Spending Freeze that I can honestly say has to be where the money came from this way of saving money:

  • We didn’t eat out at all. No Outback. No McDonald’s and no Chick-fil-A.
  • Didn’t go to Starbucks for the first 2 weeks of the month, then when we did, we used reward stars to pay, none of our own cash.
  • Vacationed out of town with my parents who paid for our hotel and our food for 4 days.
  • Stayed away from Target and if we DID go shopping, we ferociously stuck to our list.
  • No buying anything from Amazon.
  • Ate all the bags of Brussel Sprouts (along with a ton of other food) out of our freezer and ate out of our Pantry savings half our grocery spending each week.
  • Had several game nights, card tournaments, and rented a free RedBox movie instead of going to any movies, mini-golf, or Disney.
no-spending challenge

The Secret To Success

If you were to ask me what was the ONE thing that made all the difference in sticking to a month-long spending freeze, therefore, causing our $975 success, I’d say that it was keeping busy and doing without (yes, that’s really two things… but they work together). It’s this way of saving money that really taught me a lot about my spending habits and how I give into my wants and needs.

Have you ever gone to summer camp or church camp? You get there and you realize that you forgot ___________ (something important that you can’t believe you forgot to bring) but you are already unpacked and the activities are beginning in about an hour. And your schedule will be booked NON-STOP until you arrive back home next week.

That’s A No-Spending Challenge.

You keep busy and you do without so that you don’t really notice that you didn’t REALLY need that thing you thought was so important when you arrived at camp.

If I were going to be completely honest with you, I’d tell you that I missed LOTS of things while we were not spending money. On a daily basis. But I refused to give in to the impulse of buying things immediately and instead tried to figure out FREE alternatives.

Here are all the things I said No to:

  • Galoshes when we were stuck on a golf course in the rain 2 hours away from home. (We used plastic Walmart bags we had with us and tied them around our shoes.)
  • Dasani Black Cherry Soda. (I added lemon oil to my water and mixed stevia in it to sweeten it.)
  • New phone charger cords. (We are all sharing the cords we have and I’m regularly charging our portable backup chargers each night to use while a charger is already in use.)
  • New rugs for our living/dining room. (We’re vacuuming each day and I’ll find a deal on rugs next month.)
  • Going to the movies, or mini-golf, or the mall. (And now the kids want to continue doing a weekly family game night because we had so much fun!!)

That Naturally Begs The Question To Ask Yourself…

Is the freeze aggravating when you do without things you want? Yes.

Is it hard to stick with it when everything in you says GO TO STARBUCKS? Yes, it is hard!

And, then, you have to ask yourself, but is the freeze truly “worth it”? I’d say a resounding YES!! {It’s like those old MasterCard commercials when they say a list of things that cost money, and then they say… it is “Priceless”… only in this case, it’s the exact opposite… we are not spending money… and it’s is indeed PRICELESS!}

I hope that you find my experience with the no spend challenge helpful.

It was hard being very strict with myself, and I’m proud of my accomplishment.

One thousand dollars in just one month is a whole lot of money!

Plus, that’s a great emergency fund!

Let me know what other tips you have while you’re participating in a no-spending challenge. I’d love to hear about your experiences and how much you’ve saved!

So I hope you’ve learned how I did a no-spend challenge and saved almost $1,000!

Because doing a saving challenge may be hard, but it’s totally doable when you set yourself up for success.

And doing a no-spending challenge can help you make a budget makeover which can help your finances for the rest of the year!

 

YOUR TURN: In a pinch, what meal have you thrown together from your pantry during a no-spending challenge? Let me know in the comments below!

How I Saved Over $1,000 With A No Spending Challenge
How I Saved Almost $1,000 With A No-Spending Challenge
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