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A no-spend weekend challenge is a great way to save money and reset your spending habits. It took my family over two and a half years to pay off $72,000 of consumer debt. Weekends were tough. We eliminated mindless shopping trips and learned how to save money by staying at home.

Living a debt-free life requires positive changes. First of all, you need to learn how to budget, stop overspending, and learn self-control. Unfortunately, resisting the urge to overspend is one of the most challenging lessons to learn in the beginning. It took time, perseverance, and self-restraint to stop overspending and pay more towards debt.

It took us a long time to figure out our finances. We took small baby steps to learn how to save and budget. According to this Yahoo Finance article, Americans spend $5,000 annually on non-essentials. Our family was no different. When we learned that weekend shopping mall trips were part of the problem, we saved hundreds of dollars instantly.

To be honest, my family didn’t even know that no-spend weekend challenges existed when we were paying off debt. Without even knowing it, we survived several weekends without spending a single cent. If we had known about these challenges, our weekends would have been more fun and challenging. If you’re ready to save money, a no-spend weekend challenge is just what you need.

For more information about living debt-free, please read Debt-Free Living: A Beginner’s Guide. If you need more information on budgeting, please read How to Create a Zero-Based Monthly Budget.

 What is a No-Spend Weekend Challenge?

A no-spend weekend challenge is simply a choice to stop spending on non-essential items for just two short days. You’ll learn how to assess your needs, plan your spending, and spend only on essentials like regular monthly bills and utilities.

Reasons to try a No-Spend Weekend Challenge

Whatever your reason may be, make sure that you find a compelling reason. Without one, it’s easy to stray from your plan. Here are a few reasons to help you get started.

  1. Save money. Make sure that you know what you’re saving money for. Paint the most vivid picture in your mind. Are you saving for a vacation? Maybe, you’re saving to buy a house, a car, or beef up your emergency or retirement fund.
  2. Reset your spending habits. Maybe your spending is out of control and you’re not paying attention to your finances. Use this challenge to get back on track.
  3. Learn how to plan your spending around your financial goals. If you want to become debt-free, then you have to cut spending in order to pay more towards debt. If you’re saving for a big purchase like a vacation, car, or a house, cutting out non-essential items on the weekends is a great way to reach your goals faster.
  4. Get on the same page financially with your spouse or significant other. Use this challenge to share your goals and dreams. Your spouse might not know how serious you are about getting your finances in order. Lead by example and show them just how committed you are.
  5. Get rid of your sense of entitlement, especially if you can’t afford it. Our society encourages living on the edge and worrying about the consequences later. Individuals and families have gotten into deep financial trouble by following a “YOLO! You only live once!” lifestyle. If you find yourself in this situation, break this destructive mentality now with a no-spend weekend challenge. Only you can make this change.

Steps to ensure a successful Challenge

Even though a weekend seems like a piece of cake, you’ll be surprised at how challenging it can be. Set yourself up for success by following these steps:

  • First and foremost, find your reason and motivation. It’s hard to swear off spending if you don’t know why you’re doing it in the first place. Typically, weekends wreak havoc on most budgets when we tend to overspend on dining out and shopping trips.
  • Share your reason and why you’re doing it with your family and friends. The more people you tell the more accountable you will be. Make sure to include your spouse or significant other too. You’ll be able to keep each other on track.
  • Most importantly, pick a weekend that has the least amount of temptations. Steer clear of holidays, birthdays, or special event weekends when you’ll be more tempted to shop or dine out.
  • Besides the first three steps, making a plan is crucial. Download this free No-Spend Weekend Challenge planner by filling out the info box below. Plan your weekend down to the very last detail including meals and what your plans are for each day. Being unprepared and bored can lead to spending splurges.

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  • Set your own rules. Despite the no-spend intention of this challenge, I strongly suggest that you exclude budgeted monthly utilities or payments. Instead, avoid spending on non-essential items like eating out and leisure shopping.
  • Have the right attitude. Look forward to your no-spend weekend. Plan special meals and fun things to do. If you plan something new and exciting, your family won’t even notice that it’s a no-spend weekend.
  • Avoid social media and emails. There are too many hidden marketing campaigns that you can get sucked into.

Fun Ideas to Try

Your no-spend weekend will fly by if you have something fun planned. If this is your first challenge, stick to at-home activities. You’ll be less tempted to spend money.

  1. Create a theme weekend centered around binge-watching a favorite movie or TV series. Make meals and plan activities centered around your favorite movies or TV shows.
  2. Plan a backyard or living room camp-out. Roast smores, get out your grill, tell ghost stories, and play board or card games. 
  3. Challenge yourself with a sports-filled weekend. Binge-watch sports events or get active and plan a sports challenge with friends or family. 
  4. Get out and enjoy nature. Plan picnics or hike at a new park. 
  5. Plan an arts and craft weekend. Get creative and use what you have on hand. 
  6. If you love to cook, plan a meal prep weekend. Save money and fill your fridge and freezer with healthy and ready-made meals and snacks. 
  7. Plan a romantic date night that doesn’t cost a dime. Read this blog, Free and Fun Date Ideas for some great ideas.

Final Thoughts

Challenge yourself to a no-spend weekend. Reset your spending habits and save money at the same time. In the end, you’ll be the ultimate winner! Follow these easy steps: find your reason, plan it out, and find an accountability partner. Most importantly, make it fun! Not only will you be ready to crush this challenge, but you’ll learn that you have the power to make positive financial changes too.

Don’t forget to share on Facebook and pin to Pinterest to view later or to share with friends and family. Please comment below if you’re ready to try a no-spend weekend challenge! Share your experiences if you’ve tried a no-spend weekend challenge.

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