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How I completed a no-spend month

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The easing of lockdown restrictions along with the recent festive season has seen a boom in consumer spending over the last few months. As a result, many Brits have made New Year’s resolutions to spend less and save more. A great way to achieve this goal is to complete a no-spend month.

With January often being a challenging month financially, many people opt for February or March as the ideal month to limit their spending.

As someone who loves to shop, I decided to take on the challenge myself this year. Despite being unsure at first, I managed to complete a month of zero spending in January! Here’s how I managed to achieve my goal.

What is a no-spend month?

A no-spend month is a month in which you limit your spending by creating rules. No-spend does not mean that you spend nothing at all! This would be impossible due to essential costs such as food, rent or mortgage payments, and utilities. However, it does require you to cut out any unnecessary purchases and reduce your essential bills as much as possible.

The exact rules of a no-spend month differ from person to person, depending on what you class as ‘essential’ to your life. For me, this meant spending no money on new clothes, cosmetics, luxury food items and unnecessary public transport. I also set myself the goal of cutting £10 from my food shopping every week.

How I completed my no-spend month

Initially, I thought that my no-spend month would be challenging. However, after a week of following the process, I found it fairly easy. It’s not until you can’t spend any money that you realise how little you actually need the things that you purchase.

My no-spend month was made easier by following these four top tips.

1. Set a reasonable goal

One mistake that people make is taking the ‘no-spend’ concept too literally and setting goals that are unrealistic. It’s almost impossible to go a whole month without spending any money at all. It can also be very disheartening if you have to miss out on celebrations and big social events due to no-spend rules.

To ensure that you don’t set yourself up to fail, only cut out things that you really don’t need. As well as this, try to set yourself a monthly spending allowance for important social events and everyday essentials. This way, you will be able to enjoy your life whilst cutting down your spending.

2. Delete shopping apps and unsubscribe from emails

One of my biggest spending downfalls is giving in to the temptation of online offers. During my no-spend month, I reduced this temptation by deleting shopping apps from my phone and unsubscribing from eCommerce email lists.

This simple trick made a huge difference! I no longer found myself aimlessly adding things to my basket or feeling tempted by ‘limited time’ email offers. This prevented me from impulse spending.

3. Prepare

One of my goals during my no-spend month was to cut out any luxury food purchases. This meant no coffee shop pick-me-ups, lunchtime meal deals or fancy restaurant dinners. As a result, I took time to plan my meals and prepare enough food to keep me going throughout the day.

I made the most of my reusable travel mug, which saved me £3.50 on coffee every day. That’s a total of £17.50 throughout the working week! I also took plenty of snacks with me wherever I went and prepared meals so that I wasn’t tempted by restaurants in the evening.

4. Save for a reason

The best way to motivate yourself through your no-spend month is to know why you’re doing it. I would recommend using any money that you save for a purpose that will benefit you in the long term. I personally used my monthly savings towards my annual car insurance payment, which saved me from having to set up costly monthly payments or dip into my emergency savings account.

Other people chose to invest their no-spend month savings in a top-rated stocks and shares ISA to ensure that what they’ve saved continues to grow.

Keep track of how much money you save each week and put this towards your final goal. You will be surprised at how much money you save by cutting out unnecessary spending!

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