Checking out online and in-stores is easier than ever with contactless payments, but is your spending outnumbering your budget? If you're getting packages at your doorstep every other day or driving to your local store often for online order pick-ups, this may be the perfect opportunity to explore a no-spend challenge.
A no-spend challenge is a commitment to non-essential spending for a set period of time. While we all need to pay for essentials like groceries, rent, and utilities, non-essential spending can be a budget-killer. Non-essential spending is different for everyone, but by reassessing your budget and prioritizing your needs vs. wants, you can get closer to achieving financial freedom.
Think you're up to the challenge? Before you dive into a spending freeze, here are six pro tips to help you meet - and beat - your goal!
1. Commit to a set of rules.
Create a list of where you're adjusting your spending and when it's appropriate to take a break during the challenge. A visualization in common spaces like your fridge, desktop wallpaper, or car can be placed as reminders and curb decisions you'd make spontaneously.
2. Set a reasonable time frame.
Determine the length of time you'd like to freeze spending. Start small with a day at a time, transition to a week, then a month if possible. You can even designate the challenge for weekends only first, then gradually add in the weekdays. By beginning the process with daily increments, you'll feel accomplished with quick wins and even move to a longer time frame.
3. Create an intentional plan for the money you save.
Every dollar you save from the no-spend challenge is one dollar more you can contribute to your financial goals. Consider using the money you're saving to build your emergency savings, pay down your debt, add to your retirement funds, or donate to your favorite organization. When you make this plan and stick to it, the money you save and the challenge itself will have a greater purpose.
Is building an emergency fund part of your plan?
Park your savings with FAIRWINDS Emergency Savings, an account specifically designed for emergencies. Start by saving $1,000, and continue until you have at least three to six months of expenses saved.
4. Build a support system.
Similar to taking a group workout, completing the no-spend challenge with family or friends can keep everyone accountable of the progress and stay committed to the challenge. Even if you're unable to recruit a family member or friend, sharing your experience can inspire others to rethink their spending and research how the challenge can benefit their own financial well-being.
5. Keep pushing forward and overcome roadblocks.
During your no-spend challenge, unexpected events may occur. You may also be tempted to ease the rules you set for yourself. Keep pushing forward and talk with your support system if you hit a roadblock to remind you of your goals and cheer you on. We'll also be rooting for you every step of the way!
6. Reflect and celebrate for completing your goals.
You did it! Once you've completed the challenge, assess your results by defining your successes and improvements. Don't forget to celebrate for accomplishing the goals you've set for yourself, and inspire others to spend less and save more on their financial freedom journey using the no-spend challenge.
A no-spend challenge is a budget-saver and an opportunity to begin – or continue – your financial freedom journey. Preparing to freeze your non-essential spending may be a hard obstacle to conquer, but once you've started, your inner financial freedom beast will unleash and crush your no-spend challenge!
Know someone who could benefit from the challenge? Share these six tips and the Financial Freedom Education Center by FAIRWINDS for more educational tools and resources.