Have you ever thought about trying a 14 day no spend challenge?
I like to do these every once in awhile to save money, clean out the pantry, and to have extra money for upcoming holidays and events (like back to school). If you need help preparing for a no spend challenge look here!
Here is my explanation of the 2 Week No Spend Challenge:
For some of you, a No Spend Challenge will be spending NO money on anything that isn’t essential for 14 days. The only thing you will spend is paying your bills.
If you are able to be that disciplined, that is awesome and I’d love to hear how much you are able to save during this time!
For the rest of us, a no spend challenge probably means paying your bills, and eliminating as much as you can from the non-essential category and maybe even trying to trim your essential category. (Paying your bills are essential, cookies at the grocery store when you are grocery shopping, probably are not!)
For me Coke Zero stops at the gas station or a clearance deal at Target both seem like small expenses at the time but can quickly add up!
A no spend challenge can eliminate those expenses and help save your money!
Essentials will be different for everyone, for some people tithing at church would be non-essential, for some it would be essential. This challenge is for you and is designed for you!
If you can live out of your fridge, pantry, and freezer for a week, I challenge you to not go to the grocery store. The purpose of this challenge is to save you money but when you are out of milk for your kids, please go buy some.
You can get meal planning help for this challenge here! I have a sample of my own plan here! I will be posting on maximizing your pantry, freezer, and eating what you already have to help you out (and there will also be some organizing, some decluttering (in case you didn’t participate last month or have more to go), and I’d like to share frugal recipes! I hope that makes sense to everyone! If not, please ask questions!
Here are some expenses that I would cut during this time: buying soda, coffees at Starbucks, eating out, clothing (the exception to this is that I know my oldest daughter is going to be buying a jersey for her basketball league), playing the lottery, buying alcohol, toys, and items that I should already have on hand like toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and any other impulse items.
As you think about participating here are a few questions I think you should answer (and these will be different for everyone!):
1. When I go to the grocery store/ Target, Wal-Mart, etc. what can I not buy that would help me save money that our family either can live without for 2 weeks or that isn’t beneficial to my family?
This is where the soda, candy, and mainly junk food comes in. (I’m not saying you can’t drink soda at all during the challenge, I’m saying not to buy more during the challenge! So in my case, I may have to stock up at be sure I take something to drink when I drive in the car.)
2. What expenses do I know that are coming up in the next 2 weeks that I will need to account for?
Here is where the basketball jersey, maybe a birthday gift you need to buy during this time, or if you have an engagement that you have already planned come into play. These were arrangements made before this challenge and you need to honor them.
3. What will I NOT buy during these 2 weeks?
4. Is my partner on board?
I have a hard time getting Jason on board for these challenges and I understand why.
Being a farmer, life is very unpredictable. The weather, your animals, and other factors outside of your control dictate your life. Farm expenses are frequent as machines break, animals need fed, and vehicles need fuel. Sometimes you need to purchase things that you don’t plan on and that’s ok. Almost all of the money he spends is out of the farm account anyway so it doesn’t really make a difference to our personal account.
I know there are areas of my spending I can cut back on regardless of if he participates or not and my job is being the manager of my home where my goal is to do a better job saving so I have more money for other things that are more important.
5. Are there any other exceptions or rules that I want to use in this challenge?
This is your challenge. There’s no judging from me, I just want to help you reach your goals! The more you stretch yourself, the more helpful this challenge will be.
Date night is not optional in my home. It gets me out of the house, be a better mother, and allows me to spend time with my husband. However, instead of going to Red Lobster, we can choose to go somewhere less expensive or eat at home before going out.
There are many date options that are reasonable or don’t cost a thing. I’m going to try to be really creative and think outside the box.
I think that’s about it. If you have questions, leave them in the comments, Facebook me or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I sincerely hope you will consider your own no spending 14 day challenge and watch for an upcoming group challenge for those of you who wish to participate!