Tuesday, 7 July 2009

No Spending Days

By: Frugal Trenches

Lately I've had a few people suggest I share one of my frugal systems with you all! Heather did a great post on the envelope system here on the co-op last week, so I thought it might be relevant to show what else you can do to help you be frugal with your pennies!

No Spending Days.

I know it sounds simple, I bet a lot of us think we don't spend that often, but in reality with drive through, pharmacies and department stores on every corner, not to mention those coffee shops, I'm amazed at how often we actually spend money. When I was starting my no spending days (which a reader introduced me to), I remember really struggling to not spend money on any day, yes it was small things like a tomato here and there for a recipe, the odd newspaper, a Birthday card or coffee during my lunch break at work. When I started adding up those small spends, I couldn't believe how much it worked out to over the course of a week, month and year. When I mentioned it to some friends of mine they said they felt in modern society you do need to spend most days, well that was all the encouragement I needed to show people you don't.

So just how do no spending days work?

- You set yourself a target, for example to start no spending 2 days a week. Circle those days on the calendar, put it in your diary, wake up and remember today is a no spending day.

- On a no spending day you do not buy anything, not for yourself or your partner or your children.

- On a no spending day you will have to go without whatever it is you forget/want/need such as groceries, magazines, gum, bottle of wine, coffee, lunch out, bus tickets etc.

I am amazed (as were my readers who decided to accept the challenge) how much money I saved, mainly because by having to wait to purchase things it made me choose not to purchase them and save my money instead. I also found planning became more routine, so preparing lunch, snacks, drinks ahead of time really meant I wasn't tempted to buy. I was also resolute that I would succeed in my challenge and save even more money so that I could achieve my downshifting dreams.

When I first began 1 no spending day a week was hard, oh so hard, now I can quite easily manage 4-5 no spending days a week. Is it always easy? No. Do I always succeed? Not at all, but I now have another frugal tool up my sleeve that helps me save money, reduce my consumer tendencies and lead a more simple life. In fact I think I need to set myself a new no spending day challenge!

Have you ever tried no spending days? Would you be able to try to set aside 2-3 days a week where you don't spend?