Spend less – save more.
I have found a way to save on money, and to limit pointless spending. This is by having no-spend days, weekends, or weeks. I came across this idea from reading a variety of different frugal living idea books and web-pages over the years.
I have done a few no-spend weekends, and a no-spend work week. The idea is that in that period of time you set yourself, let’s say a weekend, you don’t spend a penny. This does not include bills such as rent, power bills etc. But, when I prepare for a no-spend weekend, I make sure that any bills that need to be paid, are paid before the weekend.
No-spend work week.
I don’t do things in halves, so the first time I did a no-spend period, it was a work week – Monday to Friday. So here I was, prepared to give up spending ANY money at all for five days. I did my groceries the week before, with the knowledge that I wouldn’t be able to spend any money from Monday. I made sure I had enough bread, milk, and lunch food to see us through.
I also made sure that the kids knew that zero dollars would be spent in the work week (they actually jumped right on board with it – no problems). I spend four of my week days at work. I work in the food industry, and one of the main reasons I wanted to try the no-spend work week was to prevent myself from buying food and drinks at work.
When Monday came, I was very vocal at work about what I was doing. Some people thought it was a great idea, and some thought it was pretty nuts. I heard, “I could never do that”, multiple times. And that was fine, I was doing this for myself.
I found over the next four days that I didn’t struggle at all. I didn’t need to spend any money. I didn’t miss it, or itch to spend it. I did get asked if I was just going to spend it all in the weekend once the no-spend time ended. I thought that was a really good point to make. But, by the time Friday came and I had not spent one cent of money, I knew I was too proud of myself to go and blow all that hard work on things I didn’t need.
What a no-spend week taught me.
The no-spend week I completed opened my eyes to my prior spending habits. It also showed me that at times I was shopping – to shop. If I was in a store buying a book – I was browsing the whole store and picking up bits and pieces along the way. It’s really easy to convince yourself that you need it, just because you want it. I now think about any purchase I make.
I have done multiple no-spend weekends since the work week one. These are fantastic, as money can disappear throughout a weekend with the kids. There are so many things to do on these weekends to make it fun and enjoyable – without spending a cent. I have compiled two lists for a no-spend weekend. One with kids, and one without. I will add them shortly after this blog. They can be intermingled of course. These are ideas anybody can use.
No spending for one year.
I recently read a book called ‘The Year of Less’, written by Cait Flanders. She is on the other end of the spectrum and completed a no-spend year. This led her into a second year of no spending after she completed the first. This is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but the book is very inspirational and uplifting. If you are after a fantastic read about learning to live with less, I recommend giving this book a read.