A no spend day has a lot of advantages and is well worthwhile doing from time to time. A lot of people who are doing a no spend day for the first time have questions about how strict it has to be. Generally, most people consider a no spend day as a day where you don’t use any cash, credit card, or other form of payment to make a purchase during the day. You are free to use anything that you already have on hand, but you shouldn’t buy anything new during the day. While some people will make up elaborate rules, usually the simpler you can keep it, the better. While the goal of the day is to not spend any money, the greater goal is to get a better understanding of how you usually spend your money during the day, and to try to find acceptable alternatives to some of the spending habits you have formed over the years.
Set No Spend Days
For the first few times a person decides to try a no spend day, they usually set the day up in advance. This makes things much more convenient as a day where there are no known conflicts can be chosen, and you can mentally prepare for the challenge. Since the day is set in advance, it also gives people the opportunity to prepare for the no spend day so that they can more easily meet the challenge. For example, they may go to the gas station to fill up the car tank the day before set day. They may go to the store to stock up on food so that they have plenty for the meals during the day.
While many people would say that this defeats the purpose of the no spend day, it’s often a good first stepping stone into learning where money is being spent. By knowing that there are certain things that you need in order to make a no spend successful, you get a better idea of where some of the essential money you spend goes. For first time challengers, it’s often the thought process they go through the day before beginning a no spend day where they can benefit from learning where their money is going. Most will spend time analyzing exactly how they think their day will go, and try to anticipate any situations where they might usually spend money. By doing so, they look for alternative ways ahead of time to solve those possible issues. While there is nothing wrong with this (especially for those doing no spend days for the first few times), not knowing the day can be even more beneficial.
Random No Spend Day
Making a random no spend day usually makes the challenge more difficult, but it also comes with more benefits. The simple reason for this is that since you don’t know the exact day you won’t be able to spend money, you will not have the opportunity to prepare as much. It also means that you can’t choose a specific day that might be easier to succeed than another day. This will mean that you’ll need to use more creativity and look for alternative ways to get things done without spending money than you would normally do. These challenges which arise as obstacles during the no spend day are a great way to learn that spending is often just a convenient habit, but it’s not the only way to accomplish what you need to get done.
Random no spend days are a more advanced version of a regular no spend day and are usually adopted by people who have done several known no spend days and are looking for a bit more of a challenge. How you go about randomizing is up to you, but there are several simple ways that you can do this. Probably the easiest is to put a bunch of pieces of paper into a hat with one of them having “no spend day” written on it. Every morning when you get up, you pick out a piece of paper and if there’s nothing on it, it’s just a another regular day. When you pick the piece of paper that says “no spend day” on it, however, you now are faced with a day of not spending money. This adds little more element of surprise, and will probably make you use your creativity and challenge you a bit more than pre-picking when you are going to have your no spend day.
During The Day
One of the greatest benefits of the no spend day are the times during the day when you catch yourself right before you are ready to spend some money. This may be while you’re driving by a Starbucks and think that you should purchase a cup of coffee, or as you walk by a vending machine when you usually buy a snack for yourself and realize that you can’t do that on this day. By having those moments when you instinctively go to buy something, you will begin to see where many of those small money leaks occur on a daily basis. This is what can make no spend days so valuable for your finances as you get to see first hand where you would normally spend, and you can then decide if spending that money is worthwhile in the future.
End Of The Day
Many people believe that if they end up spending money during a no spend day, they have failed. While technically they haven’t succeeded in not spending any money during the day, the real question is did they learn something about their spending habits? Can they take what they learned to better benefit their finances in the future? In this respect, a no spend day shouldn’t simply be a challenge not to spend money, but instead a challenge to better understand where your money is going, how you spend on a daily basis, and how you can more effectively use it in the future. By going out of your comfort zone and using your creativity to solve problems that you would usually solved with money, most people find that they are much more resilient and can handle their budget in ways that they may have never considered in the past. This is the true benefit of doing a no spend day.