No-Spend Money Challenge

Welcome to The Penny Hoarder’s monthly Money Challenge, helping you find simple ways to save money every month.

In this challenge, we’re going to help you spend less by putting a hold on unnecessary expenses. This doesn’t mean falling behind on bills or skipping out on groceries and the like. Rather, the real purpose here is to limit your cash outflow so you can watch your savings build up. And, who knows, maybe you’ll pick up some healthy budgeting habits along the way.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Pick a time to start your no-spend challenge

Do you want to start the no-spend challenge at the beginning of the month, or the end? It doesn’t really matter, just make sure you’re in a good place financially. For example, pick a week where you don’t anticipate needing to do a lot of shopping.

  1. Decide what your no-spend challenge will look like

Figure out what approach works best for your no-spend challenge. A few examples from The Penny Hoarder include:

  • Ban spending for a set amount of time.
  • Track no-spend days.
  • Target your weaknesses (e.g. dining out).
  • Freeze spending during special occasions.

3. Set a savings goal

Do you need to start putting some money aside for a large purchase? Maybe you’re paying down debt. Having a worthy, concrete goal in mind helps to keep your no-spend challenge on track.

4. Look for places to save

This challenge works best if you have an idea what you normally spend in a week, so take a look at your budget or bank statements from the past few months. Look for things you can easily cut out of your budget, like eating out, online shopping or entertainment. Remember: A no-spend challenge doesn’t mean you can’t buy groceries — but it does mean you should buy only what you need and skip the Uber Eats delivery.

5. Get others involved

Let your family and friends know about your money-saving goal before you begin the no-spend challenge, especially those you live with. Changing up your spending habits will likely affect them, so sharing what you’re doing will help them understand any changes in your behavior. Encourage them to take the challenge, too.

Resources from The Penny Hoarder

How to complete the challenge

  • Pick a time and duration to start your no-spend challenge.
  • Decide what your no-spend challenge will look like (e.g. no unnecessary spending for one week).
  • Set a savings goal.
  • Go over your current budget and look for places to save.
  • Get others involved.

Let us know if you complete the challenge and share how much you saved with the community!


My wife and I actually did something along the lines of this challenge in January of this year.

Our #1 goal was to not eat out the entire month of January which we accomplished.

But we also started making a meal plan for the entire calendar month which helped us not eat out but also kept us on track with our grocery budget.

Because we planned everything out in advance, we only went to the grocery store twice that month which not only saved money but a lot of time.

That month really helped us reset our finances and now we have gone through February with a much better mindset. (We did eat out in February, but only 3 times and 2 of those times were specifically planned to socialize with friends)

Because we started the year this way, we are still in that focus mode of only spending on what we absolutely need so besides spending a little extra on gas to drive to Minneapolis to visit my family, we really have been trying to keep our spending in check.


Great job. Thanks for sharing!


i have started to save money by not spending unless i needed it, i paid off the small loan on my car so i now put it away like i was still making payments


As a single person, I have not eaten fast food in close to 17 years now, lots of money saved. I don’t buy a new cell phone when they come out, yikes $1100 for a new cell. I drive my vehicles until they are dead. I stopped drinking Booze 18 years ago, big savings. I invested all the money that I have saved.


I do no spend challenges when I find myself nickel and dime-ing my bank account. I have done it for a pay-period at a time (2 weeks) or I break it down to weekdays/weekends. I find it to be a nice way to ‘reset’.


I’m going to try this with my S.O. at the end of March. If successful, hoping we can put an extra couple hundred dollars towards a loan!


What “no spend”…that just went out of the window. I just had to buy a new cell phone, and you know I like to keep them as long as possible. $600 I paid, and that’s actually cheap for a Samsung Galaxy!


I really appreciate this insight. Thanks for sharing!

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