At least once a year I stretch myself to do a unique money saving challenge – zero spending for 30 days. The first time I mentioned a Zero Spending Challenge in 2012 I got a series of mixed reactions from loved ones and my online community. The thought of not spending money (outside of food and utilities) was quite daunting – especially for 30 days. My bonus daughter quickly reminded me that it was her birthday month and to make sure I planned accordingly the month before. (I promise, I did!)
Have you ever taken a Zero Spending Challenge?
My purpose was to truly focus on all the excess that I already had and reflect on my spending habits. Why did we buy the things we did? Was it out of need, want or boredom? The experience taught me quite a bit about my spending habits and just how much of my life centered around spending money on things that were not a necessity.
I encourage you to set a period of time and take a Zero Spending Challenge – even if it’s for a week or weekend.
Preparing yourself for a money saving challenge
Before taking a money saving challenge, ask yourself these questions and truly think about your answers. They will help you focus on your “why” and ultimately be more successful with the challenge:
What is a reasonable amount of time you can participate in the challenge? A weekend? A week? A month? You want it to be challenging but if it becomes a mental burden then you most likely will not be successful.
What do you consider necessities in your household? Review your list and ask yourself make sure the items are truly items that you must have and could not find substitutes already in your home.
Why are you participating? Do you want to curb your spending to help reach a financial goal? Do you just love a good challenge and want to prove to yourself you can do this? Whatever your reasons, make sure you keep them in mind throughout the challenge.
What are your back-up plans and alternate methods of getting items you need? Perhaps you can encourage a group of friends to join the challenge with you. You will have a larger support system and someone’s pantry to go “shopping” in if your tween uses the last bit of sugar you were saving for your coffee (true story!).
I would love to hear your thoughts on the Zero Spending Challenge – whether you have participated in one or are inspired to do one after this post! Feel free to comment below or join in the conversation on our Facebook page.
Today’s article is a part the series: Your Finances from A to Z in honor of Financial Literacy Month 2014. You can find articles centered on our personal finances – saving, making and managing our money.