A no shopping challenge is often also called a no spending challenge or a no buying challenge. It is precisely what it sounds like. It is where you take a specific period of time and decide that you will not spend any money during that time period. Now there are an infinite amount of variations that the no spending challenge can take on.
- Why Would You Want To Do a No Shopping Challenge?
- What are the Rules for a No Spending Challenge?
- STEP 1. Set The Time Period for Your No Spend Challenge
- STEP 2. Define Your Exclusions and Necessities
- STEP 3. Get Your Entire Family On Board With The No Shopping Challenge
- STEP 4. Track Your Progress
- Consider Variations of the No Shopping Challenge
- Some Tips to Help You Through Your Challenge
Why Would You Want To Do a No Shopping Challenge?
So exactly why would you want to do a no shopping challenge, you ask? There can be numerous reasons; some of the ones that come immediately to mind are as follows:
- You will save money
- If you have debt, you can pay towards it, or pay if off.
- If you wish to declutter your home, you can decrease the amount of stuff you have. The first rule to decluttering is to stop the inflow of stuff.
- You will make better use of the items you do have.
- If you are handy, you can repair things rather than discarding them.
- You will better understand when you are spending frivolously and when you are spending wisely.
- You will have more time to do other things you enjoy (excluding shopping).
I’m sure there are many more. After I have finished with the challenge, I will come back and add the unknown to me now benefits that I received from the no shopping challenge.
What are the Rules for a No Spending Challenge?
You make your own rules, so the key is to create rules that you will follow. For example, saying you will spend absolutely zero dollars for an entire year would be extremely difficult unless you can grow your food or have a stockpile large enough to last you a full year.
I suggest you start with something more realistic and doable. Some things you may want to consider when setting the rules for your no spending challenge are:
STEP 1. Set The Time Period for Your No Spend Challenge
What time period are you going to set for your no shopping challenge?
This can be whatever you would like. Just keep in mind that you will want to make it something that you feel is doable. It can be a weekend, a week, two weeks, a month, 90 days, or even a year.
I am going to use one month for my no shopping challenge. I chose one month because it is long enough to make an impact and to notice a difference. However, it is not long enough that I don’t think I will stick with it.
STEP 2. Define Your Exclusions and Necessities
Do you have any gifts for birthdays or holidays that you need to buy coming up? Will you exclude these from the challenge?
What do you define as necessities that you will exclude from the challenge?
You can download the free worksheet below to set the parameters for your challenge.
Here are some suggestions and the rules I have created for my own no shopping challenge.
My definition of necessities:
Food (bought in a grocery store). This does not include take-out or restaurant dining. I am not considering those necessities. This will most likely be the most challenging part of the challenge for me, and maybe you too. We all like to dine out once in a while, so if you find this too stringent for an entire month, perhaps limit it to once per week.
Remember, you set your own rules, so this is acceptable, and if you usually eat out or get take-out three times per week, this can still make a significant difference to the money you save.
Paper products and toiletries. You need to use things every day, such as toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, soap, etc. You can create your list of things that you consider necessary, or you can make sure you have these all on hand before you start the challenge. That way, you will not need to purchase them during the challenge. I am going with this option and making sure I have all of these things on hand so that I will not need to buy them during my challenge.
Gas, car maintenance, tolls, home maintenance. You will still need to provide for your transportation needs, whether this is your car or public transportation. Additionally, for any maintenance items that may come up, I also exclude from the challenge and consider them necessary because delaying them could cost even more.
You may have additional items that you consider a necessity. Make sure you write them down on your list and not just leave it up to chance when you are already a week into your challenge. Otherwise, you may cave and tell yourself it is a necessity when it really is not.
STEP 3. Get Your Entire Family On Board With The No Shopping Challenge
Of course, you can do this individually, but getting your whole family on board with the challenge will be more beneficial. It will be hard to save any money if your spouse is buying things that are not considered your defined necessities for you. Make it a family affair and make it fun. You can even decide to reward your family with a vacation or getaway with the money that you saved during the challenge.
STEP 4. Track Your Progress
An excellent way to keep track of your progress and stay motivated is by using a daily habit tracker to document your progress. You will want to be able to check off each day, and doing so will also help keep you mindful of your challenge.
Download the No Shopping Challenge Workbook:
Here is a no shopping challenge workbook that you can download for setting the parameters of your challenge. You do not have to start your challenge on the first of the month, but you certainly can if that is easier for you. It also includes space for you to list your necessities or things that you will exclude from your no shopping challenge. Make sure you read to the end of this article though so that you understand what you are filling in on the workbook.
The workbook contains a tracker for 30 days. You can adjust this tracker for your own needs, such as printing out multiple copies if you are extending your challenge beyond 30 days or only using it for one or two weeks if you have decided on a shorter period of time period for your challenge.
Who knows, once you complete the no shopping challenge for a month, you might want to continue it on for 90 days, 100 days, or even an entire year. That is a bit too stringent for me, but I plan on completing my 30-day challenge in January. I can’t start it now because it is in the midst of the holiday season, which would never work for me. I will come back and post the results and how it went (and if I was even able to complete it).
Consider Variations of the No Shopping Challenge
No Clothing Challenge
Another variation of the no spend challenge you can do is limit it to one category you feel you spend too much money on. For example, you could restrict your no shopping challenge to only clothes where you make it a no clothing challenge for a month. Your only rules might be that you cannot buy any new clothes.
No Dining Out Challenge
Another variation could be a no dining out challenge for a month where your only rule is that you cannot go out to dinner or get take out during the 30 days. These can be easier versions of the no spend challenge where you tackle just one area at a time.
Consider your spending habits and determine where you are overspending. You may want to start with just a single category like the above for your no shopping challenge.
Some Tips to Help You Through Your Challenge
- Don’t open sale emails that you receive from retailers. These will only tempt you to buy.
- Stay off of sites you usually shop on, such as Amazon.
- Don’t go to the mall or any other shop to “window shop.” This is just too tempting.
- Compare the amount of money you save each week with the amount of money you spent in a week before the challenge. This can keep you motivated to keep going.
- Set a reward for yourself at the end of the challenge, so you have something to work toward. This can be something like a family vacation/getaway, as stated above, or something like a new pair of shoes you have been wanting, or even a spa day to pamper yourself. Pick something that you will enjoy that is important to you.
That is it! Make sure you download the no shopping challenge workbook to help define and track your challenge. Let me know how it goes! If you want to try more things to improve your life, read about 12 realistic New Year’s resolutions to set for your best year yet.
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