No Spending Days

When I first started getting budget conscious and really looked at where my money was going, I was amazed to find how the little things added up – the bottle of water from the store, the gum & newspaper on the way home, the quick bite to eat with friends, it all = spending.

So, I began with 1 day a week that I didn’t spend. That means I don’t buy anything at all – no food, no stamps, no papers, no mints or music – nada! It was exceptionally difficult at first to even manage 1 day a week, within a fortnight I built it up to 2 days a week, then 3 and I’m now at 5 days a week of no spending. What this means is I have to plan my spending, I have to know what I need and wait until a spending day to purchase it. I’ve found this no only stops silly spending on stuff, but actually once you have to wait for something you usually forget about it.  No spending days have transformed my spending habits and I urge anyone trying to cut down on consumerism to consider having no spending days each week! The monthly goal for me now is to have 20 no spending days a month as a minimum. Why not see if you can do it to?

36 Responses to No Spending Days

  1. Frugaller says:

    I’m going to give this one a shot – it might help me with my own get out of debt quest. Great site!

  2. Renee says:

    Thanks for the inspiration. Have had the desire to downsize and simplify, ect…. for a long while. Sometimes confirmation is all we need to put a thlought into action. Thanks for the advice.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I like how you did this, starting with one day a week and gradually increasing. To go a whole week without spending right off overwhelms me, but I am going to try it your way. :)

  4. Eileen says:

    I have committed to downshifting this year and am using several of your ideas. Thanks for being a pioneer in this new life style in the western world.
    I love the fact that you are a witness that it is a very doable lifestyle even in the city.

  5. Brant says:

    Fabulous idea……………I am the queen of the “must
    have” purchase…………I can justify anything, however self indulgent. I was drooling over a $1200.00 necklace ( re-issued after 12 years) that
    “I have always wanted” . Crazy.

    Time to think of how something gets to us, who really profits and who suffers, and what is the true cost ( interest, labour, enviroment etc.)

    Debt comes from small purchases & wants…not needs……………..thanks for the project!!!

  6. Roz says:

    What an excellent idea! I like the fact that you built up gradually – that must have made it easier to do. I have just increased our monthly savings amount and am looking for ways to save more money, so I was pleased to find this idea – I will definitely put it into practice.


  7. rubyeliot says:

    Such a good idea!

  8. Cicily says:

    I love this idea. I try to do it myself, but any ideas on how to get a resistant hubby on-board with it as well?

  9. Frugal Trenches says:

    Cicily, the best way to get a husband on board is to show him how much you’ll save and make it as easy as possible. Ask him what he struggles with, what days of the week would be the best no spending day for him etc. Show him the sums, spending $3 a day means you are more than $1000 worse off a year etc.

    Ask him to pick one day a week, the same day each week and for you both, for your relationship and finances and family stick to it. No one I know who has done it has wanted to give it up, in fact they want to do it more!

    Good Luck

  10. Modbird says:

    Great idea! When I was really hard-up when my kids were younger it was hard working full-time in a big city office and avoiding spending so I just used to take a set amount out with me every day (say 2 pounds for example) and no cards or anything which would enable me to withdraw or spend more. Because I had a very limited and small amount I thought twice about spending it and didn’t make light-hearted purchases and ended up coming home with all or most of the money intact more often than not.

  11. Kalaharikind says:

    I battle to stop smoking, so this year’s clever plan is to put money for too-lazy-to-cook-meals, wine, ciggies in separate envelopes, based on average costs over a month – and the amounts are scary!!!. All money left over goes into a holiday account. So, the less I use those envelopes, the sooner the holiday.
    There are simple rules: our book club meets once a month, for instance, so no “withdrawal” from the envelope – that’s part of the main budget. Really just an attempt to curb “want to, want to, want” spending.

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  13. RML says:

    I just blogged about you- thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Carol Hardie says:

    How great to achieve 20 no spend day’s,this morning i set myself a challenge to not spend untill next Tuesday, when i do my fortnightly grocery shopping, you have inspired me to try harder, if i get thru till next tuesday i would have done 12 no spend day,s this month, don’t you just love those no spend day’s? money in the bank isn’t, makes me feel good, love your site, Regard’s from Carol in australia.

  15. Roz says:

    As we’re preparing for lean times ahead, I’ve extended your excellent idea into absolute zero non-spending weeks – I buy everything we need at the weekend, and, during the week, I try to spend nothing at all. Last week, I spent $5 during the week, this week, I’ve spent $7 – not too bad!!

    Thanks again for the inspiration,


  16. Vicky says:

    Your blog is wonderful! I am so glad I discovered it. What a nice voice you have.

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  19. Frugal Years says:

    I find logging into these frugal living websites to be encouraging. I have been good with money in the past, but not to the extent talked about here. I find it hard to break the habit of spending, although I spend much less than the average person I still find it hard to go all week without spending anything except for necessities. Any suggestions about what to do if you are feeling deprived?

  20. Graham says:

    I have finally amanged my first week with a single no spending day in it! I have tried for 2 weeks and found it really difficult. Found that I really need to plan my spending, as suggested. Just need to make sure that I do not spend twice as much on a spending day to compensate for a no spending day! Going to try for 2 days this week.

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  22. Cait says:

    You inspired me to have a no spending week AND to halve our grocery bill. I just put a post on it up on my blog. With lots of links to your lovely blog.

    Many thanks for a great blog :)

  23. gleavem says:

    Managed my first intentional no spend day yesterday! It was tricky as my workplace is full of vending machines, shops and cafes with tempting treats, but I remained focussed. Would like to do it again today, but we need milk. Hopefully this will be the start of many NSDs.

  24. Happy to hear that you have taken on this approach!

    It really does help when living more simply, and it brings a person down to earth and to the reality of the matter.

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  26. David Pope says:

    Thanks for your inspiring guidance. I have wanted to start this downshifting journey for some time but have only recently taken positive steps towards it. We now are much more observant of what we are spending, have put our names down for an allotment, have bought a couple of chickens and I am about to start back at work on a 4 day week.

    Can we do it? Yes we can!

  27. roza says:

    Hello, just stumbled onto your blog, and absolutely loved it, I am also from England and trying to live more frugally and happily in the last or so due to necessities, and also because I want to.

    I want to engage in this journey of life fully, and not be defined by the so-called consumerism that surrounds us, your writing inspires that side of me!
    wish you well always

  28. Lilac Fair says:

    I’m on a money saving quest at the moment (admittedly not how I found your blog, but when I did, the name made me linger) – I love your style! And I think that your really practical start of just one day a week sounds managable even to me…

  29. Francesca T says:

    I copied this idea off you, hope you don’t mind !

  30. jackiemcclean says:

    Inspirational and very inspiring. Basically at the moment I carry no cash or cards with me at all. Just the exact amount I need for my train fare. (I have a topped up pay as you go mobile phone with me for emergencies). The amount I have saved is amazing (just not picking up that odd bar of chocolate, coffee, newspaper, face cream!, etc.)
    I love your recipes but have a problem in that my hubby won’t eat anything that is white (!) (honestly), or with any sort of creamy texture – – so yoghurts, butter, dips, are all out – so any more recipes footing that bill would be much appreciated.

  31. NW says:

    NSD’s are excellent! I have got so bad that I dont even carry cash at all now! My partner and I share the groceries. We make a menu plan (roughly) checking the store cupboard, when I get paid I buy £100 worth of shopping for the main shop. Tins, coffee and tea, meat, baking stuff, store cupboard stuff any thing for the freezer… he will then top up this shop once a week spending £25is on milk, cheese eggs, and anything we run out off (we grow our own veg so have a freezer full!) I then fill my car up with petrol, one tank just about sees me through the month… I have to say then I dont need to spend anything else, all bills go out DD. I earn £15990 a year, I drive a brand new car, paid in cash, I go abroad on holiday each year. I buy clothes at car boot sales (not undies, shoes etc). I was made redundant 2 years ago from a £30k job, I am wealthier now than I ever was before.I used to WASTE money every day buying lunch for work, spending £30 in Next once a week on my lunch break, spending money in the canteen on crisps etc… I was always running short at the end of the month. NOW I can even afford to SAVE, not much but it all adds up!

  32. Maria Orloff says:

    I, too, have started “no spend” days – at first I just took little sticky stars and randomly marked days on my calendar. I find that I can be very resourceful when a need arises that I would normally just resolve by spending money. The other thing I notice is that since the urge to shop and spend are off the plate, my day seems to just flow better – way fewer distractions. Keep up the good work!

  33. I know this is an old post, but I wanted to comment anyway. I just finished reading the book “An Embarrassment of Mangoes” by Ann Vanderhoof and she mentions something called “Gold Star” days. Gold star days are when you get a gold star sticker for everyday you don’t spend anything; similar to your idea. I’ve talked to my hubby and he’s going to watch all three kids and let me go get a pedicure every time I get 30 no star days. I’ve only managed a few days so far, and I can’t believe how hard it is. I take for granted how many times I just spend a few dollars! I think I’m going to save hundreds and hundreds of dollars this way!

  34. Rose says:

    I stumbled across your blog while researching ways to minimise our spend at the grocery store as we are, by necessity unfortunately, now restrained by a very strict budget in order to firstly eliminate $35,000 worth of credit card debt amassed in 2.5 short years, save for our self-funded wedding in two years time and build additional equity in our home by reducing our mortgage as much as we possibly can. After looking over our monthly expenses we realised we had a “black hole” of $2000+ per month which was being wasted on dining out, massively overspending at the supermarket, buying lunch and various odds and ends while out at work and pure “I want that” (but really don’t need it) purchases. Every new dress, $4 coffee and dinner out because we couldn’t be bothered cooking after a long day of work and collecting the baby from daycare all adds up and we were flushing our financial future down the drain (and any hope of sending our daughter to a high quality private school). I love your practical approach to budgeting for shopping and managing day-to-day expenses through no spend days. I thought we had been tough on ourselves but you’ve inspired me to do more and really take control of our spending. Thank you so much from Australia.

    • Frugal Trenches says:

      You are very very welcome. I wish you every success in your very amazing and wonderful plan! Well done you!!

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