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Tip #7: Create a “No Spending” day once a week

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This is tip #7 of the Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge.

Today’s tip is to set at least one day per week on your calendar when you don’t spend one dollar.

empty-wallet.jpg

Do you think you could do it? Technically, even if you don’t open your wallet, you’re still spending money on things like rent/mortgage, car insurance, subscriptions, and Christmas gifts — you just didn’t count them. But that’s even more of a reason to create a “No spending” day on the money in your wallet: because you can actively control it.

Today’s tip was submitted by Alexandra, from Wilmington, NC, who writes:

We do a week with NO spending. We fill the car with gas and hit the grocery store on Sunday. Starting Monday, we cannot spend a CENT. Sort of a fun little challenge. And it is only for a week. So, if I see something I need or want, I can get it next week. No cheating. AMAZING results. The first time I did it, I was flabbergasted to have the same $20 bill in my wallet. I got very used to it and so it is a nice little “shot in the arm” technique. Kind of like a fast to begin a diet regime.

Total Savings: $50-200

Alexandra’s tip is excellent because she uses the idea of time constraints to make the “no spending” idea more palatable. If you force yourself to do this only one day per week, you’ll look back the next week and realize it wasn’t so bad. (Notice she does it for a week, which you can work your way up to.) I remember a friend of mine once decided he wasn’t going to go out all weekend, and he donated the money to charity.

You can do the same thing — but the key is adding to your calendar so you make it a consistent system, not an ad hoc whim.

Total saved: $5 – $75

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Additional reading:
Trent wrote about this at The Simple Dollar (check out the comments)

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Last thing to do
Leave a comment on this post describing how much you’re saving with this tip and any unusual techniques you use to make this tip work.

If you liked this tip, check out my Premium tips — one long, tactical tip per week. Save money or get a 100% refund.

scrooge

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72 Comments

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  1. I like this tip and do it often. I think putting off instant gratification is a great exercise in discipline and helps sort out “needs” from “wants”.

    A corollary is to implement a specific ban on buying certain things. For example, I’m going to try to make it through this winter without buying any new clothes.

    Judith Levine wrote a book called “Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping”. Although her politics are quite evident in the book and may annoy some, it was an interesting chronicle of someone choosing to opt out of the consuming whirlwind that is so much a part of our culture. If your going to seriously implement this tip for a month, it’s a nice tie in.

  2. I think this is a good tip, and as your readers get more comfortable with not spending money, they can extend the no spending day to a no spending weekend or no spending workweek.

  3. When I was single this was a strategy I stumbled upon after a break up. Just staying in on the weekends saved me about $75 a week. Once I saw that I did it more intentionally with great results. It’s a great way to add to wedding savings when you are engaged.

  4. We already do this, but it’s more like five days a week. In an effort to reduce gas consumption, we only leave the house once or twice a week and plan it the day in advance so lunches can be packed, thermoses can be filled with water, etc. The days we do go out we strive for as few stops as possible, planned with the most efficient route. We don’t eat out, but bring lunch and snacks. I’ll have dinner cooking in the crockpot all day so even though I’m too tired to cook, we aren’t tempted to grab dinner on the way home.

    Today’s tip: $0
    Cumulative savings: $7.75

  5. As a follow-up to Merry’s post about “Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping” – check out Freecycle.org. I’ve obtained the following free items: a shop-vac, a 27″ Sony TV and plants for my gardens. Green frugality!

  6. I’ve been doing this quite often. In fact today was one of those days. It’s rainy and cold out so I decided to stay put, clean the house and make a cake with the ingredients in my cupboards. It was difficult at first as I was in the routine of visiting flea markets and thrift stores Saturday mornings. Now it’s not so bad.

  7. I think that this is an incredible tip. About two months ago I set a goal to not eat out. At the age of 24, I was eating out more often than not, nearly every meal. I didn’t know how much this affected my wallet until I stopped. I figured that it evened out to eating in, minus the cooking. It’s amazing the difference it has made in my finances. Now that I’m not eating out, I honestly don’t spend money 5 days a week. If it weren’t for the weekend, most of the time I would keep my wallet closed.

    Caleb
    http://www.mefinanciallyfree.blogspot.com

  8. I do this indirectly because I have a weekly ‘no driving day’. It’s usually Sunday or a weekday when I work from home. I drive alot throughout the week and it leaves me tired and it’s expensive. By not driving one day a week I get to relax and since I’m not driving anywhere I’m not tempted to spend money either. I like this one!

  9. You are assuming everyone spends money everyday. I spend money one weekend every other week with getting groceries and paying bills due. I will also get anything else needed like a repair or replacing clothing that has worn out. I will go out usually once or twice in the next 2 weeks to pick up milk or anything we’ve run out of. We don’t go out to eat but twice a year. We don’t do entertainment that cost money except for about 2-3 times a year.

    So, your tip saves me $0.

    You promised no “latte factor” type tips – these are ALL like that. If you don’t do that in the first place, you can’t save money on not doing them!

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