January No Spend Challenge

Brand new here and am wondering if there’s a group that’s doing this? I’ve read about it in the past but never gotten through a whole month…


Me neither. I do a week at a time. I need to break it down to shorter increments. It’s actually very empowering and I do enjoy doing it!


That’s a great idea, Kelly. A month seems pretty daunting!


I have heard of people who do this in November as well.

I don’t know how practical it is or how it exactly works.

I can see that it would be possible but would take a lot of careful planning and a whole lot of motivation to complete this type of challenge.


I’m in. So much money was spent during the last couple of months.

I think this is very practical. Of course, you have to pay your bills and buy food, but you don’t eat out and you don’t buy anything that is not a true necessity of life.

I’m doing it and I will check in and let everyone know how I’m doing. What I had to give up and try to keep a tab of what I’ve saved. I hope others join and together we will see how this will give our finances a boost.

Starting today, I was planning to go out to dinner for New Years Day, but now not only are we eating at home, we are going to eat what is already in the freezer and NOT go out to the grocery store and buy something special. (Savings $40)

Ok fellow Penny Hoarders, let’s GO!!!


Hello. I just joined a few minutes ago. I am happy to be included. I hope to learn money saving tips and raising my credit score. I am willing to listen to ideas. I thank you all for being here and for letting me join


Yay Dboothe! That’s great! I’ll do it and will report how much $$ I’m NOT spending. We got hit with a big tax bill and medical insurance costs so I’m motivated. And having the support of this group will help too.


A whole month!? I’m in! While November might be a difficult month to do this due to all the holiday shopping, January seems like a pretty perfect month! We’re done with out holiday spending, it’s a time to start new goals, and, unless there’s a birthday coming up, there aren’t a lot of expenses I can think of for this month personally.

Would this entail no spending at all or just minimal spending?

I was already thinking of doing something similar with minimal spending.

See my plan below:

  1. Plan for my regular monthly bills

  2. Set a budget of $25 - $50 per week on anything else. This would include groceries and any transportation costs I might incur. The first week is $50. After the first week, I want to review that spending, see how bad or well I did, and hopefully reduce it a lot for the remaining month.

  3. Budget the remaining income into savings and maying increasing a debt payment.

This plan is not set in stone, I plan to adjust where needed. Since I still have quite a bit of debt, I am conflicted on paying off more or saving more so that I can save and maybe pay off in larger chunks in the long run. Any suggestions or criticism is welcome as well.

Happy New Year to everyone!


Eber, I think you have a pretty good plan. #1 and 2 are on point. #3…if you have NO savings, definitely split the monies between savings and bills until you get a some money saved. If you already have some savings for emergencies, then apply the extra money to your highest interest rate debt, pay the minimum on the other bills. Then as the highest interest rate debt gets paid off, go to the next one. No more charge cards. Good luck and have a wonderful 2020.

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Frugalwoods does this twice a year in January and July. I participated both times last year and found the daily emails very encouraging/motivating.


Thanks Shannon for the tip. I think daily emails are motivating also. Sharing ways we save will help others too. I allow $600 per month for groceries/otc meds/personal care products/household needs.

Today I needed some items. I made a list. I looked over my list to make sure they were all necessities and double checked to make sure that I needed the items since I am saving by using everything I can in my refrigerator, pantry and freezer. I spent $52 and I will keep a running tab of my budgeted amount with updates as I go along this month. I plan to put the remainder of all savings into my savings account, with 10% going to my church along with my tithe. I’m not decreasing my charitable giving during this challenge.

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I did the No Spend challenge in November so I could get ready for Christmas. It lasted 2 weeks, I fell off, but then I got back on the horse and finished the challenge that month. Will definitely try it again.


STHOM, Did you keep track of how much you saved in November? Do you have any tips for the novices in this challenge? Thanks for joining. I look forward to your input.



what a great plan! You’ve really thought this through.

I’ve never done a whole month so no expert, but have read other people’s stories on the Penny Hoarder and elsewhere. A no-spend challenge can be whatever you want it to be—trying not to spend ANY money or cutting back on extras, like Starbucks, fast food, or whatever you find yourself spending too much on. For me, it will be separating what I WANT to buy from what I really need and breaking the cycle of mindless consumerism.

Back in Oct. I made an Excel spreadsheet and tracked spending for the whole month. I’ll use it in Jan. to see how much money I save.

I’m so impressed by everyone’s efforts already, and it’s only Jan. 2!


ANNMARIE L, I am so impressed that you made a spreadsheet in October. That was great planning ahead. I am a senior citizen and struggle doing anything but minor computer emails, posting on groups, paying bills.

My main problem, that REALLY worsened in December was eating out. I am tired of planning and cooking and the clean up. There are only two of us and occasionally my grandson to feed. I already slipped up slightly. I had a $10 credit at Pizza Johns and yesterday 1/3, I used it to get a free pizza. I had to pay for tax and delivery. My husband paid the tip, so I would stop whining once I ordered it. (He’s not doing the challenge. I take care of the family finances.) I had a couple of gift cards from Christmas, but no restaurants, so I have to cook the rest of the month…breakfast, lunch, dinner, but none for restaurants. Darn! I know once I get back into the swing of it, I’ll adapt.


$600 mo. food/misc budget/spent so far $76…also NEEDED a few things at the store.

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A progress report on non-spending:

Today I returned some things to Kohl’s and got back nearly $60. More importantly, I didn’t buy anything new there!

Drove right past Starbucks and didn’t stop. Approx. $4.50 saved.

Didn’t stop by the supermarket to pick up a bottle of wine. I like to have a glass with dinner, but it’s not a necessity. Saved approx. $10 or more.

Grand total = Approx. $75 saved/not spent. Yay!

How is everyone else doing?


@DBOOTHE, no I didn’t necessarily keep track of what I saved. Instead, I kept track of what I didn’t spend on. For example, on excess personal toiletries (a weakness), excessive fast food trips, zero coffee trips, etc. The money I would have spent I approximated and put in one of my savings accounts. In addition, any money I made on side hustles (mystery shopping, eBay sales, tenant late fees, search evaluator work, InBox Dollars) was put into a savings account that I use to anticipate expenses for the new year (for example, software upgrades, auto and home insurance, property taxes…you get the idea…things that I know are coming down the pipe). And, if I couldn’t save the entire check amount, then I saved at least a percentage of each and every check. I am semi-retired so normally I work about 20 hours a week at home but haven’t been able to do much since March 2019 due to illness, surgeries, etc., thus, the side hustles. But, I expect to start working again this month and will use that and the continuation of little hustles to laser-focus, as Dave Ramsey would say, on slaying the debt…at least until my next surgery this year…urghhh.

What I liked about the challenge was that it forced me to look intently at what was necessary. It’s a challenge but I just keep plugging away. In fact, after reading ANNMARIE L’s post above, I’m returning an unopened Boots No. 7 kit that was on sale for a fantastic price, but do I need it along with all the other beauty creams I have? Nope.

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DBOOTHE, my hubby has to fend for himself for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner! If I cooked 3 meals a day, we could probably save more money. I’m disabled, so he understands if I’m too tired or feeling sick. When I buy groceries, I make sure that he has some things he can easily make and eat, like sandwiches, eggs, maybe a frozen burrito or Lean Cuisine. You have to do what works for your budget & your lifestyle.

when I do cook, I try to make stuff that lasts for several meals. Like a big pot of chicken soup, chili, lasagna, etc. That way I manage to limit cooking dinner to maybe 2x week.

STHOM, I also have a weakness for beauty products and personal toiletries. ? But I try to exercise self-control. Have heard a lot about Dave Ramsey’s books on budgeting but I haven’t read any of his writing yet. That would probably help me!

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ANNEMARIE L, I did by chance make a BIG pot of bean soup with the left over ham from New Years Eve. This will last us a couple of days anyway. That’s a great idea. Save time, money and clean up. Thanks!


STHOM, I have to take my regular budgeted amount for groceries/misc and keep track if I have any left because if I tried to do it your way, I can see myself getting carried away…I didn’t go to the movies today (save $10), I didn’t go out for dinner (save $40), I didn’t go on vacation today (save $3000). LOL

Anyway, as of 1/5, I’ve used $26 more of my grocery/misc funds for a total of $78 out of the $600 per month allowed). I have not purchased anything on Amazon. Yay!

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