Have you ever heard of a no-spend weekend?
It’s a weekend where you can put your frugality to the test.
No-spend weekends help me keep my monthly spending in check. This year, I scheduled my no-spend weekends in advance, so I had time to research free or low-cost happenings across my city.
If you’re looking to cut extra expenses out of your budget or to quickly pay down debts, no-spend weekends may put you closer to your financial goals too.
Navient customer Kristal B. says creating a basic budget will help assign your dollars. “Don’t be afraid of a budget. This is your key and road map to financial freedom. Keep expenses low, pay extra on your student loan and try not to increase your lifestyle.”
If you’re looking to save more, plan a no-spend weekend with these five low-cost and free ideas:
1. Attend a local event
Take advantage of free events in your community. You can discover new activities by subscribing to local newsletters and monitoring social media.
Following my city’s Facebook account and subscribing to my community’s newsletter is how I find out about free monthly events like the Art Loop, a staple of the creative community, and free music and heritage festivals.
Also, consider tapping into your local library’s bulletin board. My library offers book clubs for adults and reading time for children. Libraries typically host fun and engaging activities for people of all ages.
2. Volunteer at your favorite organization
Whether you spend time in a soup kitchen or mentoring teens, volunteering with an organization that you care about can help save money. If you don’t have money to donate to a nonprofit, volunteering is a great alternative to give back.
This year, I volunteered at the local YMCA as a mentor part of the Black Achievers program. I’ve also helped high school students prepare for college and their future careers. I was able to travel throughout the East Coast to support these college hopefuls in learning more about their higher education options.
3. Get outdoors
During the warmer months, I like to spend time in the sun. Join a local walking tour to learn more about the history of a town or city. You can save money by creating your own self-guided tour by researching historical sites and museums.
Or, consider packing a picnic and visiting a local park. You’ll get to spot native wildlife and plants and may even hear amazing music. On my no-spend weekends, I like to visit my neighborhood park to support and hear music from budding artists.
4. Pick up a hobby
A no-spend weekend is a good time for you to discover what you’re passionate about and actually have an opportunity to craft your hobby. I mean, I can’t count how many times I’ve began a new project and stopped before I finished.
Picking up a hobby does not have to be costly. There are plenty of fun and fulfilling hobbies you can take up. I use my no-spend weekends to deepen my knowledge of photography and cooking (with the instant pot, of course). This means I am either outside catching awesome shots of local wildlife or learning a new recipe from my cookbook or Pinterest.
5. Involve your friends and family
Get your friends and family involved in your no-spend weekends by hosting themed potlucks or a game night. No-spend weekends do not mean you have to stifle your social life. In fact, 1 in 4 young adults, aged 22 to 35, say that spending time with family is most important to them in life, according to our Money Under 35 study. If potlucks and game nights are not your scene, consider a quiet movie night.
Even when you’ve deliciously conquered your no-spend weekend, you can continue to create homemade meals for the week. Packing lunch for work can help you cut weekly costs. Navient customer Nandi M. says keeping a list of every penny you spend will help you become more aware of where your money is going and where you could be saving.
“Little things like making coffee at home, packing your lunch, shopping at secondhand stores and carpooling add up! It becomes habit and you’ll be happy you did it once you are loan-free!” — Nandi M.
No-spend weekends don’t have to be boring; they can be filled with adventure, intent and fun. If you need more money-saving inspiration, check out the Money and Finances section of our website.
In addition to planned activities, no-spend weekends are also a great time to re-evaluate your savings plan and budget. We can help you create your budget plan and keep track of your expenses with our interactive worksheets.
Brianna Huff is the communications specialist for Navient and an avid participant of no-spend weekends.