The No-Spend Challenge: How to Succeed in 30 Days


The no-spend challenge has become a thing in recent years. It’s a popular way to consciously focus on your spending so you can save money or reduce debt. So what exactly is it?

What is the no-spend challenge?

It’s a time-based challenge where you commit to spending money on only the very essential items for a specific period of time – say a month, a week or even a weekend. Some people have even done it for an entire year!

The goal is to help you become more conscious of your spending habits and to save money for something big, or even to reduce debt. That can mean stopping impulse spending or only eating food at home that you prepare yourself. It’s not about depriving yourself, but being more mindful about how you spend the money that you work so hard to earn.

Benefits of the no-spend challenge

As mentioned above, it can help you become more mindful of how you spend your hard-earned money. It can help you make important changes, both personally and financially.

Personal gains

  • break spending habits

  • notice when you use buying stuff as a way to manage stress in your life.

  • become more creative in finding other ways to find the things you think you need

  • become more aware of your consumption habits

  • reduce your overall consumption

  • use up what you've previously bought instead of wasting anything

  • declutter your fridge, kitchen, bathroom – your home!

  • and declutter your mind as you clear space in your home.

Financial gains

  • save money

  • reduce debt

  • become more aware of your spending habits

  • set yourself up with an emergency fund

  • feel more relaxed as financial pressures ease

  • focus on, and achieve, big goals – like a house, that big holiday, an important occasion or a family.

How to succeed at the no-spend challenge

Know why you’re doing it

What’s motivated you to do the challenge now? It’s like keeping your eye on the bigger picture while you focus on the individual goals.

1. Set goals

Knowing what you want to get out of your no-spend challenge is how you’ll know if you’ve succeeded. Otherwise, you’ll be very busy tracking and journalling all month, but when you get to the end, you’ll have nice pages full of how busy you’ve been, but you won’t necessarily be any closer to taking that overseas holiday or buying your own place.

2. Plan ahead

Thirty days can be a long time when you’re juggling many things, as most of us are. Add in something like having to make new choices about what you’ll do for the mid-morning coffee break, and next thing you know, you’ve just paid for the cappuccino you said you weren’t going to have this month. Planning ahead can put you one step ahead when the usual daily routine kicks in.

And, you’ll give yourself time to do things like plan how you’re going to pay for accommodation at that interstate wedding during your challenge month and decide how you can recycle an outfit and shoes you already own (or which bestie will loan you a dress).

3. Stay organised

Keep track of your progress. Set up and stick to your no-spend rules. Tracking can help you keep your eyes on the prize!

4. Buddy up!

Having a buddy is proven to help us get through any challenge. Who will support you, and how?

5. Save more

Just because you can spend money on food, doesn’t mean you can’t save more by using coupons or taking advantage of specials, or taking a right-turn to try out Aldi. Track that too!

Be flexible

No matter how much you plan ahead, chances are something is going to come up that you didn’t forsee. Don’t beat yourself up – just make the best decision you can and add it to your learning.


Review each week if you like, but definitely review at the end of the month. What worked? What didn’t? What came up that you didn’t plan for? What did you learn?


As we’ve said before, 30 days can be a long time with no coffee. Plan how you’ll celebrate when you’ve completed your 30 days. And then do it!

And then, plan when you’ll do a no-spend challenge again.

Make it Easier

That’s a lot isn’t it? Following those steps will help you succeed. You can make it easier with our No-Spend Challenge Planner. It contains all the steps above, and more, and is fully editable and customisable in the free version of Canva. It has commercial rights so you can sell the edited version as a PDF in your online shop, or use with your clients.

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