Update your browser

and enjoy CredAbility at its best

It looks like you’re using an old version of your internet browser that we don’t support. Update your browser to get the best experience.

Skip to main content
close icon
white credability logo What are you looking for?
Group 22805@2X

Would You Take The No Spend Challenge?

How often have you found yourself running on financial fumes despite – you thought – being pretty savvy with your money? Yep, us too. All those little everyday spends can really add up over time and mean that even though you might not think you spend that much, you actually do!

That’s why we love a challenge like the no spend challenge. The idea of a challenge like this is to help you become much more conscious of the money you normally spend, and what you’re spending it on. This can give you ideas on how to cut back on certain habits or free up money in your budget to save towards a treat or reaching one of your goals.

What is a no spend challenge?

A no spend challenge is pretty much what it says on the tin. It’s a challenge where you aim to go for a set period of time without spending any money at all.

How long does a no spend challenge last?

As long as you want! It could be a day or a weekend, it could be a week, or it could be a whole month. The idea is to make the challenge last long enough that it helps you save money and gives you something to think about, but not so long that your car runs out of petrol, or you starve because you haven’t bought groceries in months!

When can you do a no spend challenge?

You can do a no spend challenge whenever you like! But, given that the rules of a no spend challenge mean spending as close to nothing as you can, it’s best to time your challenge so that it doesn’t clash with any pre-arranged social events that obligate you to spend money on a meal or drinks, new clothes, or gifts for a birthday girl or boy. “Sorry, I haven’t bought you a birthday present, I’m doing a no spend challenge” might be a bit hit and miss as an excuse!

Why do a no spend challenge?

A no spend challenge is a great way to put your money under the microscope. By not spending any, you’ll quickly realise just how much you spend normally that flies under the radar, but adds up over the course of a week or a month. It can also help you to curb some habits you’ve slipped into, like picking up a fancy coffee on the way into work vs. making a cup in the office kitchen, grabbing a sandwich rather than bringing your own packed lunch, or popping into the supermarket every day to pick up dinner (and a few extras) rather than doing a weekly shop.

You might find that some of the spending you previously couldn’t imagine not doing, you don’t even miss during your challenge. And if that’s the case, why bring it back? A no spend challenge can be a great way to break your own assumptions about your finances, reset them, and rebuild your budget based on your experience of what you know you do and don’t really need or want.

What are the rules of a no spend challenge?

The biggest and pretty much the only rule of a no spend challenge is not to spend any money! However, we know this is a bit simplistic, and might raise a few questions. What if you have a direct debit that goes out in the middle of your no spend challenge? So, these are the rules:

During your no spend challenge, you can spend money on:

  • Your rent, mortgage or bills
  • Other direct debits or automatic payments you have going out for subscriptions or services that you can’t freeze or cancel
  • Groceries – although no more than necessary
  • Essential transport costs, like fuel for your car, or train or bus tickets to get to and from work

But, you can’t spend money on:

  • Takeaways or meals out
  • Shopping for anything but groceries (so no new clothes or house bits and pieces!)
  • Entertainment like video games, books, cinema or concert tickets, even extra boosters on Candy Crush
  • Grooming and beauty services like hairdressers, barbers or nail salons
  • Gifts like birthday or Christmas presents, or cards

And, you also can’t allow other people to pay for things for you, on the promise that you’ll pay them back when your challenge ends, or that you’ll pay for them next time to balance it out. That defeats the point of the challenge!

How to prepare for a no spend challenge

Depending on how long you’re challenging yourself to spend nothing, you might want to do some preparation before you hunker down and hide your cash and cards from yourself.

  • Do a big food shop – particularly if you’re the type of person who shops as they need to eat, you probably don’t have a whole lot of stuff in your cupboards to fall back on. Doing a big weekly shop instead of shopping as you go is a budget savvy idea anyway, so before you start a no spend challenge, plan out your meals for the duration and make sure you have enough food to cover you for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and snacks throughout. You’ll be amazed what a difference this makes!
  • Fill up your car – Fuel to get to and from work and make necessary journeys is an essential you may well decide is an exception to your no spend challenge. But, popping into the petrol station for fuel comes with the additional temptation to grab a snack, a drink, or even a bottle of antifreeze you forgot you needed while you’re there. By making sure you’ve filled your tank before the start of your no spend challenge, you’re reducing how many more times you’ll need to top up during your challenge, and so also the temptation to buy other bits and pieces while you’re there!
  • Go through your subscriptions – While direct debits and payments that automatically come out of your account on a fixed day every month can be an exception to your no spend challenge, reviewing all your subscriptions ahead of your no spend challenge can help you see where you might have some crossover and be able to cancel or freeze a few of them, or downgrade from ad-free options during your challenge. If you don’t miss them, you just found yourself another saving, but if you do, you can resubscribe!

Not spending money doesn’t equal no fun!

Nowhere in the no spend challenge rules does it say that not spending any money means not leaving the house or having any fun. We think one of the best parts of a challenge like this is how it encourages you to think outside the box and get creative about what you do with your time to have fun without spending money. There are all sorts of free activities out there, from fitness classes to museums, and some activities you’d usually have to pay for often offer free taster classes for first-timers. Is now the time to take advantage of those deals and try something new?

Frequently Asked Questions About Secured Loans

Your Money

Frequently Asked Questions About Secured Loans

When it comes to borrowing money, there are tons of options out there. But, finding ...

Credit Score Mythbuster: Is There Any Such Thing As A Credit Blacklist?

Credit Score

Credit Score Mythbuster: Is There Any Such Thing As A Credit Blacklist?

Ah, the credit blacklist. Lots of us think it’s gotten in the way of us ...