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Have you ever tried a no-spend challenge? It’s just as it sounds. You go without spending any money (other than on necessities) for a set amount of time. I’ve seen week, weekend and month long challenges.
You restrict yourself from any extra purchases like going out to eat, entertainment, shopping, etc. While I like to think I don’t carelessly spend my money, I know that I’m guilty of buying coffee when I’m tired at work and stopping at Target when I really don’t need anything (it’s impossible to resist you, Target!).
With my travel bucket list growing every day, saving money and being more frugal with my income is currently a high priority for me. And what better time to cut back on spending than during the colder months when I’m pretty content staying cozy at my house.
I’ve seen no-spend challenges that are very restrictive, but I plan to give myself some leeway to purchase my regular groceries and obviously personal hygiene needs (soap, TP, deodorant! lol). I really don’t need to purchase gas either since I can commute with my BF. What’s cut is my visits to the coffee shop or vending machine for snacks or the extra items not on my shopping list at the grocery store. I’ve also got a pretty bad Amazon habit to quit.
Whether you’re trying a no-spend weekend, week or month (go you!) here are some totally free things to do to keep you busy and having some fun too.
Read! I have a big pile of books to be read and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Take this time to make a dent in the pile.
Watch movies and Netflix. Check out a new series or revisit an old favorite.
Get outside. Go for a walk around the neighborhood or visit a local park.
Hit the gym or try a free online workout. There are endless free workout ideas on Pinterest so you can try something new.
Declutter (get an early start on Spring cleaning!)
Go through your closets and split old clothes between a donate and selling pile. Serious bonus points if you make a profit during your no-spend challenge!
Play board games and cards.
Try a new hobby. I upgraded to a DSLR camera over the holidays and can definitely spend more time practicing taking pictures.
Volunteer! You’ll want to plan ahead on this one but there should be tons of volunteer opportunities in any neighborhood.
Visit a free museum or art gallery. Unfortunately, this is much easier if you live in or near a big city.
Organize and deep clean the kitchen. Go through the pantry and take stock of what you already have to eat. Challenge yourself to eat the food you already have in the house before going to the grocery store.
Do some virtual window shopping. Plan out who you’re Christmas shopping for this year and write out a list of what you’d like to get them. Tally up the estimated cost and use that as motivation to follow through with your no-spend challenge.
Bake! I have all the ingredients for baking at my house but rarely ever take the time to do it. Bake up some cookies, muffins or whatever you can with the items you’ve got.
Give yourself a mini spa day. I’m sure a lot of women like me have all the nail polish, files, face masks and more at home to treat yourself to a mini spa day without needing to spend a cent.
Review all of your bills and set your budget. This will put you on the right step moving forward after the challenge too.
Practice one of your talents.
Have a potluck with friends. Make what you can with your groceries and invite others to bring their own side dish. It’s a great way to spend time with friends without needing to go to another restaurant or bar.
Have a cooking challenge. Challenge yourself to make something in the kitchen to use up some of your pantry items or what’s leftover in your fridge. Hopefully you’ll realize how easy it is to use what you have instead of always buying more.
Meal plan and prep. Spend a few hours planning your meals for the week and prep everything you can. This is suuuch a timesaver for the week. I started meal prepping when I completed a Whole30 and it’s my favorite thing ever to plan out my meals and get everything organize over the weekend so that during the week I know exactly what I’m having for lunch and dinner everyday.
Stretch and Relax. Do some stretching or yoga and just relax for awhile. I know I’m guilty of always feeling like I need to be doing something with my free time, but sometimes it’s nice to just relax.
Make a list of the things you don’t miss. Think of the items or activities you aren’t missing out on during your no-spend challenge. Do you need to go out for lunch during the week? Take note of what you can continue to cut from your budget and also what you really miss so you can prioritize budgeting your money for the things most important to you.
Have you ever tried a no-spend challenge? How did it go? Share your tips below.