Skip to content

How to Complete a No-Spend Challenge When You Have a Family

no-spend challenge with a familyIf you’ve ever heard of a no-spend challenge, you may have run across blog posts that say “Just cut everything out!” or “It’s super easy with the right mindset!”. While these sayings aren’t necessarily false, many of the people who talk about a no-spend challenge are single and don’t have children. So what do you do if you have a family but want to complete a no-spend challenge?

How to Complete a No-Spend Challenge When You Have a Family

This post has been written by our amazing staff writer, Kimberly Studdard.

You’ve got a spouse…and kids. Sure, life can seem expensive at times, but saving money is definitely still a possibility. And, a no-spend challenge can still be done as well. Follow the steps below and you’ll almost certainly find more money in your pocket at the end of the month!

Related: 10 No-Spend Challenges Everyone Should Try

Get Your Family On The Same Page

First things first, if you’re wanting to complete a no-spend challenge with your family, you all need to be on the same page. Yes, even the little kids (if you have them)! Take an hour or two one day to sit everyone down, and talk to them about a fun challenge that you want to do together as a family. No age is too early to start your kids on a great financial path, and including them in this challenge can be fun and teach them a thing or two about saving their money.

You don’t have to go into details with your children, but if you have a significant other, it is important to give them the logistics of the whole challenge. When the both of you are on the same page, you can go into the challenge as a team, vs. one against the other.

Choose Your Time Frame

Will you be completing a week long no-spend challenge? Could your family do this for a whole month? How about a whole year? Each challenge could save you money, but the longer challenges can help you save the most. However, if you’re first starting out as a family, it may be better to start with a week or a month, that way you can ease into the process.

Make Sure To Include All Necessities

Besides healthcare, household bills, and groceries, what will your family consider a necessity? Do you have to pay for sports or school activities? Is daycare a part of the equation? Will the children still get an allowance? These are all line items that need to be included in your budget if you plan on being successful on the no-spend challenge. Your priorities will be different than those of someone who doesn’t have a family to support, so there’s no need to feel guilty if you have to pay more for groceries or daycare.

So what aren’t necessities?

  • Going out to eat,
  • clothes shopping, and
  • parties are typically on the no list.

Of course, if you have a family, you may include one family day or date night with your spouse. However, anything outside of that should be put on the no-spend list.

Related: Are You Eating Your Lunch? Or Is Your Lunch Eating You?

Offer An Incentive

Want to know the quickest way to get everyone on board with a no-spend challenge? Offer an incentive! It could be anything, from a day to an amusement park to a few extra bucks for an allowance. An incentive will entice everyone to stay on track and complete the no-spend challenge as a family, and will also take the stress away from you to keep everyone in check.

Keep Track  

Keeping track of your no-spend challenge doesn’t have to be difficult. Some people use a journal or planner, some people use a whiteboard, and some use printouts that were created specifically for the no-spend challenge. Whatever you choose, it is important to have a visual so you can track how well your family is doing, and it also helps as a reminder to not spend money. It works just like a vision board would – the more you visualize something, the more likely you are to stick with it and try to achieve it. While that may seem a little woo-woo, it does work, and there are even scientific studies behind it!

Don’t Be Discouraged

At the end of the day, it is a bit hard to complete a no-spend challenge with a family. Things happen, kids are unpredictable, and life is never going to be absolutely perfect. If you spend $10 on a movie for the kids to finally give you peace and quiet, don’t beat yourself up about it. If your significant other buys lunch while out with co-workers, don’t fret! The main purpose of a no-spend challenge is to look at your budget and expenses, and find ways to save more money and not spend money unnecessarily.

A no-spend challenge can be a fun and wild experience that can save your family money and bring you closer together, even if it’s not perfect. Besides, who doesn’t like finding fun and free things to do, adding extra money in their pocket, and having the support of family?

Battle of the Mind Money Save Money

AUTHOR Derek Sall

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.


  1. It’s tough to get on the same page with the family! It’s especially hard if your spouse isn’t as enthusiastic as you are about the new spendthrift ways.

    For us, I found we weren’t perfect with it, but just by planning it out and going through the budget, we cut a lot of monthly expenses automatically. SO, even if it isn’t perfect it helps a lot

    • Good call. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective!!

  2. […] this is two short term financial goals in one, because the money you save from a no-spend day, week, or month can also be thrown into a savings account. Or, you can take the money you’ve saved and invest […]

Comments are closed for this article!

Related posts