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No Spending Challenge!

no spending challengeDo you have a jar of pasta sauce tucked way back on your pantry shelf? Is there a bag half full of dried beans that hasn’t been used in months? Are there items in your freezer or pantry that have been there forever and you just haven’t bothered to use? Everyone has to eat so grocery shopping is something we can all relate to. However, some of us hate to admit that we probably spend more on groceries than we need to. Let me propose a no spending challenge to you: For one week, do not spend any money on groceries.

No Spending Challenge

I don’t do this every month, but a few times each year I implement a no spending challenge for one week. This challenge helps me empty my pantry and freezer of items that have been in there for awhile. It also makes me get creative when planning what to have for dinner. For example, I’ll cook up the one or two fish fillets left in the freezer and make some sort of stir-fried rice with a small portion of broccoli from the bag we found in the back of the freezer, the last few carrots in the produce drawer, and a couple of scrambled eggs. Think about how much you can save from throwing together some forgotten items at meal time for one week instead of running to the store:

$150/week spent on groceries = $600 per month

No spending challenge for 1 week, four times per year (every 3 months):
$150 x 4 = $600

The amount saved doing a no spending challenge four times each year adds up to the equivalent of not spending any money on groceries for an entire month! While an entire month of no spending on groceries seems nearly impossible to do, breaking down a no spending challenge into smaller chunks of time throughout the year seems much more realistic. While saving money from not grocery shopping, you’re also saving money by using what you already have on hand instead of letting it continue to sit on the shelf unused AND you save gas money from not driving to the grocery store once or twice each week like you usually do.

Maybe one week of no spending seems a bit unrealistic to you; that’s okay- start with one less grocery trip than you normally do in a month. If you try this out with groceries and want an added challenge, check out other areas in your budget where you can implement a no spending challenge. For example, don’t spend money on clothing for one month if you often find yourself boredom shopping at your favorite store. Maybe you can skip the drive-through for a week and pack your lunch for work instead. Implementing occasional periods of no spending can help you save in the long run and open up your budget to put a little extra toward debt-payoff, retirement, or whatever savings goal you are pursuing.

Have you tried a no spending challenge? How did it go for you?

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. For great motivation check out for “Pantry Challenge” recipes. She does 2 per year (including a few years where she didn’t buy anything but vegetables and milk for a month).

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