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What to Know About the No Spend Challenge

With high inflation and fears of a recession looming, many people are trying to manage their budgets wisely and reduce spending. Some are taking small steps, such as cooking at home or cutting their morning trips to Starbucks. Others are taking more drastic measures — such as participating in the No Spend Challenge

What is the No Spend Challenge?

#NoSpendChallenge has spread on Instagram as a creative way to save money. Participants commit to eliminating discretionary spending — or spending on non-essential items. That means spending on nothing but essentials, such as groceries, housing expenses, bills, and gas. Depending on the individual, the challenge can go on for a week, a month, or even longer. 

Courtesy of @BreakingTheDebtCycle

On social media, personal finance influencers like @BreakingTheDebtCycle are spreading the word. Followers of the #NoSpendChallenge share tips for finding free activities, graphics to help track your #nospend days, and motivational posts. However, while the No Spend Challenge can be helpful for anyone trying to recalibrate their money mindset, some people warn that it’s more like a crash diet than a healthy eating habit

“I noticed many parallels to my own experience with diet culture: the use of the color green for ‘good’ days and red for ‘bad’ days; self-critical posts from people who dared to buy a new toothbrush; judgmental and ‘well-intentioned,’ harsh comments,” wrote one reporter

How to do a No Spend Challenge

Fortunately, the No Spend Challenge can be tailored to your unique goals. For some, that might mean picking a specific category of spending to cut back on. If you notice that an outsized portion of your budget goes toward dining out, you might try a #NoSpendChallenge on restaurants and cafes — and commit to only cooking at home for a week.

Ultimately, the No Spend Challenge can be a good opportunity to shift your money mindset and hold yourself accountable to a budget. The infographics and templates available on Instagram can be helpful tools to build motivation and keep yourself on track. However, like a detox or juice cleanse, this challenge isn’t a silver bullet for saving money. It should feel like the first step in an ongoing process rather than a punishment. 

For more information on designing your own #NoSpendChallenge, check out this guide from Experian.

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