The Far-Reaching Benefits of a No-Spend Month, and The One Drawback

Want to change your money mindset? Try a no-spend month.

Karen Banes
Oct 16, 2019 · 5 min read

A no-spend month is exactly what it sounds like. You pick a month and decide you simply won’t spend any money until the month is over. How drastic you are with the concept is up to you. You’re not expected to starve or default on your utility bills. You are expected to avoid all unnecessary spending, and be fairly strict with yourself over what you define as necessary. Does it have to be a month? Not necessarily. You can do a 7 day no-spend challenge, or a 100-day no-spend challenge. Some people take it further, complete a no-spend year, and write a book about it.

Obviously you will have to buy food and other depletable items such as personal care products and cleaning products, but it can be helpful to set boundaries around this too. Many people decide that they will only buy food when they’ve eaten everything already in their fridge and store cupboard, or that they’ll only buy personal care or beauty products if they run out of something specific (and don’t have anything else on their shelf that can function as a perfectly good alternative).

In the spirit of the no-spend challenge, you should probably agree not to eat out or spend on entertainment, although you can of course make exceptions for previously planned social events so as to not let other people down. So that covers how to do a no-spend challenge. But why would you want to?

You’ll save money

If you lack motivation or enthusiasm for this no-spend idea, make a plan for what to do with the money you save. You might want to pay off debt, build up investments, or save toward something important to you that there just isn’t room for in your current budget.

You’ll eliminate impulse spending

You might lower your stress

You’ll become more resourceful

You’ll use what you have

You’ll rediscover that (some of) the best things in life are free

And the drawback?

A no-spend month can be an interesting way to focus attention on how much of your day-to-day spending is unnecessary, wasteful, and even stressful. But ultimately most of us living in consumer-oriented societies need a more permanent solution. I’ll be honest. I’d no longer get any benefit from a no-spend month, because I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I practice considered, mindful, spending almost all the time. Yes, I said ‘almost’. None of us are perfect.

If you’re considering a no-spend challenge, try to look at it as a chance to implement a total reset on your money mindset, attitudes and spending patterns. Don’t end the month and go straight back to your pre-challenge spending habits. Leverage the fact that you now know you don’t need to buy as much stuff as you thought you did. Switch from ‘no spending’ to ‘mindful spending’. Stop, consider and assess before pulling your wallet out. Make your no-spend month a stepping stone to a lifetime of smart, considered choices when it comes to how you spend your money.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to encourage any lifestyle changes without careful consideration and consultation with a qualified professional. This article is for reference purposes only, is generic in nature, is not intended as individual advice and is not financial or legal advice.

Originally published on

Making of a Millionaire

Stories about money, personal finance and the path to financial independence.

Karen Banes

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Freelance writer & indie author sharing thoughts on creativity, productivity and success.

Making of a Millionaire

Stories about money, personal finance and the path to financial independence.

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