• Tosh Patterson

Declutter Your Home + Money: How to Begin Your No Spend Challenge

Do you want to declutter your home, save money, or be a more mindful consumer? Then a No-Spend Challenge is a great option!


Since 2015 I’ve been on a journey to live a more simple life. Along the way, I bumped into Cait Flanders, author of The Year of Less. In her book, Cait shared how she completed a two-year shopping ban, decluttered 70% of her belongings, and paid $30k debt.


Back then I attempted to follow her lead, but I wasn’t focused enough and lasted a few weeks.


So THIS YEAR I’m returning to the concept and attempting to do a 90-Day No Spend Challenge (aka shopping ban!) with my hubby.


Intrigued?


Great, because here I’ll outline what a No-Spend Challenge is, why you’d want to do one, and outline how to personalize your own No-Spend Challenge.




WHAT IS A NO-SPEND CHALLENGE?


First, Cait called it a shopping ban, but for me, No Spend Challenge makes more sense.

With the No Spend Challenge, you decide not to spend money for a certain amount of time. The great thing about a challenge like this is you can really make it your own. It can be a short period of time, like a weekend, one month, one year, or longer like Cait. I love this concept because you set your own rules. You can choose what items you’re allowed to spend money on or you could opt and not spend. Below I’ll share the rules I set for myself.

It’s important to note that a No Spend Challenge isn’t a renouncement of worldly possessions or a declaration that buying stuff is bad; it’s a pause or timeout from bringing new things into your life. Essentially the pause helps you figure out what belongs both physically and financially.


WHY WOULD YOU DO A NO SPEND CHALLENGE?


There are several reasons to do a No Spend Challenge because, again, you set your own rules.

Personally, I plan to do a 90-Day No Spend Challenge with my husband. Our shared reasons WHY are:

  1. Pay off debt. I want to pay off one bill of $1,141

  2. Declutter. I want to be a more mindful consumer and be aware of what I already have. For example, using toiletries I already have...eating up all freezer food I already have...reading books I already have.

  3. Save money. Aiming to save $15K for a yearlong adventure abroad in 2022.

WHAT ARE THE CATEGORIES FOR A NO SPEND CHALLENGE?

  • Duration. Determine your start date and end date.

  • No Buy List. Create list of things you’re NOT ALLOWED to purchase during your challenge.

  • Approved Buy List. Create list of things you’re ALLOWED to purchase during your challenge.


WHAT I AM ALLOWED TO BUY:

  • Pay mortgage, utilities

  • Groceries and basic kitchen items (dish soap, foil, etc)

  • Any planned items for house renovation (basement stairs)

WHAT I AM NOT ALLOWED TO BUY:

  • Iced Coffee Drinks

  • Ecourses or books

  • Eating out (unless using gift cards)

  • Toiletries (only allowed if run out)

  • Gifts for others (no birthdays or Valentine’s day)

Honestly all of these will be tough for me!! Ya’ll pray for me. LOL

HOW TO BEGIN YOUR NO SPEND CHALLENGE:


STEP 1 | Track your spending


Before you can change your habits, you must first identify them. Understand how often you’re spending money and on what.

I decided to closely track my spending habits for one month. This helped me shed some light on necessary and impulsive spending for me and hubby.

STEP 2 | Take inventory


Walk around your home, determining what you have the most of — and, therefore, what you’ve spent the most on. Maybe it’s books. Maybe it’s shoes.

Then ask yourself: Do you really need more? If the answer is no (which it probably is), put it on the No-Buy list.

STEP 3 | Create your rules

Unless you’re moving to the woods, you probably can’t forgo all commercial transactions. So the answer’s not to buy absolutely nothing; it’s to create rules that are reasonable yet challenging.

Use these prompts to complete your own No Spend Challenge:

  • Duration. Determine your start date and end date.

  • No Buy List. Create list of things you’re NOT allowed to purchase during your challenge.

  • Approved Buy List. Create list of things you’re NOT allowed to purchase during your challenge.

  • Insert a “Perfectly Imperfect” cause in your rules. Why? Because if you do spend, it’s okay. Who can you tell without judgement? Then move forward.

  • Declutter Your Digital Space email alerts of pages that entice you to spend. Keep the blinders on! Also, these EXTRA tips will help

--> Unsubscribe from retailers on social media

--> Unfollower influencers

--> Unsubscribe from retailer emails newsletters

--> Turn off social media notifications from your phone


I really do believe completing a No Spend Challenge could be a pathway to declutter your home and save money. I do hope you’ll begin!



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