Thank you to The Financial Diet and Wealthsimple for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
I started doing a 21-day no spend challenge at the beginning of this month.
With everything going on right now, it’s even more important to save as much as possible.
Not only do you want savings for your investments, but you need savings for your rainy day fund.
We don’t know what the future holds, and it might be difficult to put away savings at the moment, but there are a lot of non-essential things you can cut out of your spending.
Here’s everything you need to know about doing a no spend challenge, as well as tips on starting one!
What is a no spend challenge?
A no spend challenge is a timeframe of your choosing where you only spend money on essentials.
You can do it for a week, a month, or even a year if you’d like.
The ultimate goal for many people who do the no spend challenge is to use the money saved towards investments.
The earlier you save and the more money you save, the more return you’ll get on your investment in the future!
Below are the essentials that are necessary to spend on, as well as non-essentials to avoid spending on during your no spend challenge.
- Phone and internet bills
- Household goods
- Business expenses
- Movie and concert tickets
- Ridesharing or taxis
- Lottery tickets
- And any expenses that are for pleasure!
Tips for starting your no spend challenge
Evaluate your lifestyle and spending habits
A lot of us don’t realize how much we spend on little luxuries until we actually sit down and think about it.
On a regular basis, I frequent coffee shops with my friends probably several times a week.
I’m often late to social functions, so I ride $10 Ubers or Lyfts instead of paying $3 for a TTC fare.
Every so often I get a poké bowl craving, so we’ll order food delivery instead of cooking at home.
I’m someone who considers myself pretty good when it comes to saving money, yet I still spend on non-essentials.
Sit down and write down a list of all your weekly or monthly expenses, then mark down the ones that are considered non-essentials.
Unsubscribe and unfollow brands
When brands are constantly sending you “sale” emails and posting their cute new clothing all over Instagram, it can be tempting to click through to their websites.
At least for the duration of the challenge, unsubscribe to email newsletters and unfollow accounts of brands you frequently shop from.
It’s a lot easier to stay away from the temptation of shopping if you’re not constantly getting reminded of it!
Look up recipes for your favourite dishes
Try making your favourite delivery or takeout dishes yourself at home so you won’t miss ordering food as much.
If you look up recipes of your favourite dishes, you’ll realize how easy a lot of dishes are to make yourself.
Plus, it’s a lot more cost effective to buy the ingredients and cook at home than it is to order food at a restaurant!
My favourite place to search for and save recipes is Pinterest – there’s an endless supply of recipes on there.
Even if you’re not a “good cook”, you can definitely follow instructions.
Cooking is also just an essential skill everyone should have, regardless of how good you are at it.
My experience with the no spend challenge
I’m currently doing a 21-day no spend challenge, and I’ve been doing pretty well so far.
Although I’m already pretty decent at saving money, this challenge is making me realize that I can do even better.
As someone who’s self-employed, my income has lowered significantly due to the current situation, and saving is extremely important to me at the moment.
I personally like to put any extra savings into investments rather than just sitting in the bank.
This way, my money can grow passively, and I’ll be able to take it out in the future when I need it.
If you want to hear more about how my no-spend challenge went, I did an interview with The Financial Diet.
With a lot of my favourite clothing stores having 20 to 30% off sales, it’s been difficult resisting browsing their websites.
I’m someone who typically only buys clothes when they go on sale, so if I weren’t doing the no spend challenge, I’d probably be buying clothes I don’t need right now.
Also, every April, I make a Sephora purchase to get the free birthday reward.
Funnily enough, I’ve always thought of it as “I need to get this because it’s free”, but it’s really just something I want.
I don’t need the birthday reward, I just want it because it’s free.
Resisting the temptation to shop hasn’t been easy, but I know the money I save will have better use in my investment funds.
Adam and I made the choice to not eat out for the next little while due to the circumstances, and we’ve been cooking all our meals at home.
As much as I would like to support small businesses and restaurants during this time, it’s just not something we’re willing to risk.
However, it’s definitely been difficult resisting the 30% off discounts and free delivery offers from our favourite restaurants!
Not eating out or ordering food has forced me to be more creative and make dishes I never would’ve made otherwise, like Chinese pineapple buns and Japanese chicken katsu.
If I were to do the no spend challenge during a normal time, I’d probably be doing the same – being able to make your favourite dishes at home makes it a little less sad that you can’t just order it at a restaurant or bakery.
If you’re struggling to save extra money, doing a no spend challenge can help you to realize your spending habits and make better ones.
Put those savings towards your TFSAs and RRSPs, y’all!
For more information on Wealthsimple, please visit their website.
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