Being able to save money creatively can come in very handy. Not only does it allow you to save for large purchases (like a down payment on a house or nice holiday) but it can also help you in times of financial struggles. Today, I’m going to share 3 no-spend tricks for helping you to save a lot of money – quickly.
One of the biggest budget busters for a monthly income is food expenses. We often like to eat out, order delivery, or indulge in impulsive grocery purchases. I’m going to show you two challenges that can help curb these costs and put more money in your pocket.
The No Spend Challenge
A no-spend challenge is when you resist temptations to buy anything outside of absolute necessity for an entire month.
It doesn’t have to be a month- you can choose a weekend, week, month or year. The duration of the challenge is entirely up to you! (Check out my no-buy year for loads of advice for how to do a no-spend challenge longer term.)
How a no-spend challenge works:
Make a monthly budget that includes all of your regular purchases and bills.
This helps you to see what you have to pay and what you can trim. It’s much easier to plan a challenge when you can visually see what is happening with your money every month.
Look at everything that you can cut out of your life for this period.
You need to pay your traditional bills like water, gas, insurance, etc. But you don’t need entertainment, take out, or your subscriptions. Pause and cut these things temporarily.
Make a savings goal.
Now that you know how much is possible to save, how much of it do you want to keep? Some, most or all of it?
Write down your goal somewhere to keep you motivated.
Now plan a bunch of activities or things that are free, to keep you busy.
There are a ton of free family-friendly activities or things that you can do by yourself at no cost. Enjoy going to the park, beach, or a short road trip with a picnic lunch. Planning these things before you start the Challenge can help you to stay motivated while the Challenge is happening.
Then begin the challenge.
Just keep track of how you’re doing and remember your savings goals. If at any point, you start feeling less than eager to continue, do a free activity to get you up and out of the house or invite friends over for a pot luck dinner.
Sometimes all you need is a little break from reality to regain the motivation and determination that you started with.
The next challenge requires a little more creativity in the kitchen.
A Food Shopping Challenge
A food shopping challenge is very similar to a no-spend challenge, however, it is only related to your food expenses. If you find yourself eating out, ordering food or spending too much at the grocery store while food at home is expiring and going untouched- this challenge is for you.
A food shopping challenge is a great way to reduce wasted food!
How it works:
Look at your past monthly expenses on food.
How much are you spending? Look at bank statements if necessary. Determine how much food is currently in your home, do you need to spend that much?
Make a meal plan only using the food found within your home.
How many creative meals can you piece together? Looking at the food you didn’t place into the meal plan, is there a frugal recipe you can put them into with only needing to buy minimal ingredients?
Set a very tight weekly grocery budget
Make sure that it only covers the cost of necessary products that won’t last long, or that can be used to stretch meals further for cheaper.
Examples– fresh produce, milk, eggs, butter, pasta, rice, flour, and sugar.
Now go the month, or as long as you possibly can only living off the meal plan and creativity, you possess. By the end of the month, you can easily have saved hundreds of pounds!
Don’t spend the £20’s
Only pay with cash, and never carry a bill smaller than £20. Every time you find yourself shopping, you will now have to ask yourself if it is worth the £20.
A £6 purchase will cost you £20 because the moment you break the £20 into smaller bills, you have to set them aside in your savings.
Doing this Challenge can make you more mindful of your purchases. Research has shown that there is an emotional connection between people and money. This Challenge tests those emotions, and with continued use can have you becoming much more frugal while building nice savings.
Three no-spend challenges that can put a lot of money back in your wallet and make you more mindful with your purchases are:
- The No-Spend Challenge
- The Food Shopping Challenge
- Don’t Spend the £20’s Challenge
With any luck, you can save hundreds or more per month and afford whatever financial goal you may have. Good Luck!
Guest post, author bio-
Nicole Durham is a personal finance blogger on her website Struggle Today Strength Tomorrow, where she teaches people to budget and save money. Her passion for saving money and stretching a dollar has her sharing a lot of great advice to help families overcome debt and financial hurdles. You can follow her on her Facebook page or on her Pinterest account.