Rethink Your Budget With a No-Spend Day Challenge
For many Americans, a spending-free day during the pandemic is not a budgetary exercise - it is a daily reality. But others rave about what is called "spend-free" retail therapy, as evidenced by the recent increase in discretionary item loans, according to the credit comparison site Credible. If your spending feels too therapeutic, a day without spending might be appropriate.
The benefits of a spending free day
A day without spending is a day when you don't deal with "desires", i.e. things you would like to have but don't need (e.g. a roof over your head or utilities) - including expensive takeaway food, store-bought coffee or pay-per-view movies. A day without spending could be an integral part of your weekly schedule or a short-term challenge.
The idea is that by freezing your spending for a day, you can keep a better eye on your spending habits and discriminate against your purchases. And of course, the money you save can really open your eyes.
Just look at the food alone: According to ValuePenguin, restaurant meals cost on average about three times more than a home-cooked meal. If you didn't spend $30 on a restaurant meal on a given day, you would save about $20 that day. If you don't spend anything on one day a week, that's an $80 savings per month, not counting the savings you make by not having to make other discreet purchases such as apps, clothing, or carpooling.
Knowing what you're not spending also has the advantage of making you feel obnoxiously virtuous and motivating you to save more and play the sober task of spending less effectively.
Tips for planning your non spending day
- Before you start, define your spending wishes and needs and cut back on spending for everything you don't need at all (be it daily or monthly).
- Dedicate your savings to a financial goal, such as repaying a loan.
- Tracking what you save can be tedious, but it can help you stay motivated.
- Plan activities that are free in advance (museums, hikes or a good book you already own or have borrowed from the library).
- Pick a day that best suits your spending habits. Monday is easy, since most people shop on the weekend, so you can plan home-cooked meals in advance.
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