If 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!
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.
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.
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?
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.