If you’ve been tuning into our blogs this month, you’ll know that we have been talking all about no-spend January (which you can take part in any month!). If you are planning a no-spend month, consider these five things first.
1. Why are you participating?
You will first need to figure out your ‘why’. Did you overspend at Christmas? Do you just want a challenge? Do you want to build some habits that will improve your financial health? Remembering why you are taking part in the challenge will be paramount when the days get harder and you feel as though you are missing out.
2. What is your goal?
The most popular goal in a no-spend month is a monetary one. Do you want to save up a certain amount of money for a trip, a purchase, or a renovation? Your goal might just be to make it to the end of the month without making unnecessary purchases. Whatever it is, write it down somewhere prominent so you can be constantly reminded of what it is and why you’re taking part.
3. What are your parameters?
What counts as a necessary and unnecessary purchase? This list will be tailored to you, but start off by listing things like groceries, bills, rent, fuel, and any work expenses. You may have a friend of family's birthday coming up - is this something you want to spend on? Be sure to make a plan that is as clear as possible to give yourself the best chance at success.
4. When will you begin?
Take into consideration what is happening in your chosen month. A month full of birthdays or a weekend away will not be the best month to take on the challenge. January is a popular month to take on a no-spend challenge, as most people are not too busy after the Christmas rush. Remember your no-spend does not have to be a calendar month, you may like to start in mid-January and go through to mid-February.
5. What happens when it’s over?
How you end the month will be just as important as how you began it. You will need to find a way to hold on to the habits that worked for you, and avoid a spending blowout as soon as the month ends. Refer back to your goals and why you took on the challenge in the first place, and be sure to finish as strong as you started!