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No Spend Days – have you heard that phrase before? If you’ve just made the decision to start become ‘better with money’ then perhaps you haven’t, but if you’re on a debt free journey or trying to build your savings then it’s probably a phrase you’ll have heard often.
No Spend Days are a bit of a ‘thing’ in the #debtfreecommunity – how do you save money? Easy, stop spending it.
So what are No Spend Days? Just that. Days where you don’t spend any money.
And people tend to track their ‘No Spend Days’ and set goals on how many they want to achieve in a month. The idea being that the less days you spend your money, the more money you’ll have left over at the end of the month.
Different people create their own rules on no spend days – should you exclude bills? Do essential spends like food and fuel count? I personally think anything that isn’t budgeted for should be classed as a spend – but then again, if you’ve budgeted properly surely all spends are allowed?
And that’s why personally, I don’t track no spend days. I’m not a big spender by nature and never have been. When we’re out and about I don’t feel the urge to buy something just because we’re out. I’ve never enjoyed shopping as a hobby and I actually hate browsing shops. I prefer to get in, find what I’m looking forward and get out.
I don’t take money to work with me and I take my own lunch everyday. We don’t have a canteen on site, so not taking money means I’m never tempted to jump in the car on my lunch break and spend a fiver on a meal deal. And I’m not tempted to chuck all my change into the vending machine either. It’s those little innocent spends that all add up.
Likewise with groceries – I prefer to do all my spending online. Not only does it save time and effort (which I’m all about), you shop and stick to a list.
The times we do go to the supermarket (ie when Elise is running low on nappies) you can guarantee that we will come away with things that weren’t on the list. So just remove the temptation.
If you go out with money in your purse or pocket, you’re going to want to spend it. It’s human nature. It sits there and burns a hole in your pocket until you do something with it. That £3 coffee on the way to work in the morning (can’t relate, never done it, but it’s a thing right?). You probably think, “It’s only £3” but what if that’s £3 every working day? 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year? Suddenly that’s £780 on coffee (and I’m probably being generous with the price… but you see what I’m saying).
And that’s what No Spend Days attempts to curb. Those little ‘nothing’ spends that all add up into somethings. But that’s where I have another issue with it – sure you might’ve achieved 20 no spend days this month. Fabulous. But what if on the other 10/11 spend days you went wild and rewarded yourself for all your hard work with a shopping spree? What if you spend £0 on those 20 days, and the spends on the rest added up to £100.
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If you had a budget and you stuck to it, that would be an extra £100 in savings. Because you know it’s not in the budget, so you don’t spend it – right?
That said, I do think there’s definitely a place for no spend days. Like all aspects of life, it’s important to have goals. And if hitting a certain number of no spend days in a month keeps you motivated and ploughing on towards your financial goals – then hell yeah, do it.
I think they’re especially useful to somebody who is usually quite a frivolous spender and can easily fritter money away. You might not think you’re bad with money until you keep a spending diary and see just how little and often you do spend and how quickly those little and often spends add up into a sizeable amount. Tracking your no spend days makes you conscious of how and where you spend your money and the more self aware you become with your spending, the more financially savvy you will become – and I’m all for that.
It’s all about creating better habits, making better choices and ultimately changing your life for the better. The more we teach ourselves about the way we treat our finances, the better at handling them we’ll be.
So that’s why even though I don’t do no spend days, I am a great advocator of them to someone who is just starting out on their money journey and trying to make better, smarter money decisions. I just think that when you’ve reined your spending in and started setting and sticking to a budget, then they lose their place.
What are your thoughts, do you track your no spend days?
I started Katie Saves while on Maternity Leave to document our adjustment to living on less. Now back in work - I blog about all things money with a little life organisation thrown in for good measure. Join me!