No Spend Week

No Spend Week | brokeGIRLrich

No Spend Week | brokeGIRLrich

Hang out in the PF blogosphere for a little bit and you’ll see there are several money saving “tricks” that are pretty prevalent. If you read my February update, you’re aware I finished up the month a little cash strapped. Fortunately the whole Roomba fraud business seems to be taken care of, but my credit card still took a beating.

I started looking at other upcoming events – 2 best friends’ birthdays, one I have to travel for and some summer travel plans of my own I’d like to make – and I thought I need to nip this past month in the bud in one fell swoop.

I realized that a No Spend week would probably even me back out.

If you’re unfamiliar, No Spend days – or weeks – are where you spend $0. Seriously. Nada. I’ve come across the idea on several people’s blogs and it’s often listed as a way to pocket a little extra cash. Last Sunday night, I realized that this would be a great week to spend nothing.

I spent it on things!!

Conveniently, I’d hit the grocery store that afternoon – not anticipating this money light bulb I had later in the evening and was pretty sure that between what I’d bought and what was just languishing in my cupboards, I could make it through the week on that.

I figured what more do I need than food and a Metrocard? I’ve already got both. And so, No Spend week began.

I thought it would help that I had a sort of ridiculous work week coming up – 7 days straight, often long hours. And in some ways it did, but it also made my biggest money sucker immediately clear to me.

Mother of pearl, I like eating out. Not like, sit down for a $20 meal with a pal out, like, I’m starving, tired and don’t want to cook and that $1 pizza slice looks like the best thing in the world to me eating out.

I realize there are lots of food options in NYC, but I never REALIZED it until I walked past them all this week and wanted to eat EVERYTHING. Evidently there are 4 sushi places between my job and the gym. I had no idea. I love sushi. And it’s kind of healthy, as long as you don’t eat the deep fried or cream cheese kinds. Sigh.

Honestly, if it weren’t for wanting to eat EVERYTHING all the time, this wouldn’t’ve been so hard. I swear, I could even be actively not hungry, walk past Dunkin Donuts and just want a Boston Cream donut so bad I could nearly cry. It’s only $.99!!

Dunkin Donuts Love

Mmmm… donut. I love you a little too much.

So, my No Spend week taught me I definitely have some really weird food issues. And a solid addiction to sugar.

I also learned to better appreciate thinking over a purchase before buying it. I saw easily half a dozen things that I wanted to pick up over the course of the week, but at the end of the week, there was only one thing that mattered enough that I still remembered it (coconut oil – has anyone else noticed a bunch of articles about the benefits of oil pulling lately? I’m kind of fascinated and totally going to give it a try).

A definite benefit to the week, beyond saving a good chunk of change that, apparently, would’ve gone to a ton of unnecessary fast food, was that I utilized another thing that’s already paid for way more than usual – I went to the gym 6 out of 7 days. So yeah, take that circus weight.

The one thing I borderline cheated on was paying for postage to mail out a bunch of eBay packages, but I feel like if you’re spending money directly to make some money, it’s still in the spirit of No Spend week.

All around, I think it was a pretty successful week. And if I wind up with another month like February, I’d probably do it again in a heartbeat. I think it would even be interesting to load it with a few more challenges, like hanging out with a few friends and finding a way to still keep it free.

 Have you ever done a No Spend day or week? What did you struggle with the most?

34 thoughts on “No Spend Week

  1. Great job! We did this a couple of months back and it was a fun exercise. Because we of course also were not allowed to spend any money on lunch at work, we planned ahead and had something to bring with us. Since that no spend week, we haven’t spend any money on lunch yet. So in a way, we’re still benefiting from that week.
    Mrs. Southbound Savers recently posted…DIY Guide to Building a Free ComputerMy Profile

  2. Well you certainly like your food and donuts :) I have not done a no spend week except in the grocery department which was very difficult at times. You really have to focus on doing other things and not the norm like shopping on Mondays or going out on Wednesday night with the friends. It is possible but patience and determination is key.
    canadianbudgetbinder recently posted…How my co-op program shaped my work ethicsMy Profile

  3. I’ve never intentionally had a no spend week, but back when I lived with my parents I had plenty of them. I’m not really an impulsive spender; I try to spend only on necessary things. It’s great that it proved to be a learning experience! Also, coconut oil is worth picking up. I love cooking with it and there are lots of ways to use it.
    E.M. recently posted…Financial Lessons from The Big Bang TheoryMy Profile

    • That’s probably a much better approach. I don’t think I’m a huge overspender or anything though, so I was surprised that it was a little bit of a struggle. I think once you say something is forbidden, it just looks that much better. Like buying a flipping donut. Sigh.

  4. Way to go!!! It amazing how much we want what we can’t have. :-) And I love coconut oil and have a stock of it in my pantry. I’ve been wanting to try oil pulling but it hasn’t happened yet.

    • I know, I really can’t decide about the oil pulling thing yet either. I’ve had this sort of cold/cough thing in my chest for like 2 months – I figure I’ll give the oil pulling about 2 weeks and see if it finally gets better. If it does, I guess I’ll be a convert. I’ve read several more websites though and there’s definitely a 50/50 fact or myth perception of it.

  5. I don’t like “no spend” days/weeks/etc. The problem is that you have to spend money at some point. So not spending it today just means you spent more yesterday or will spend more tomorrow.

    I used to try for no spend days and would often have this thought process: “I’m tired, I’ll skip the store and go home after work. Oh crap, I wanted tomorrow to be a no spend day. Fine, I’ll go buy that stuff today instead.”

    You’re just spending money on different days that’s all, it’s still spending money! I would focus more so on reducing certain categories.

    FWIW, no spend days/weeks do help you become more conscious of your spending, which all in all is a good thing!
    Leslie Beslie recently posted…Pinata Cake Instructions With Surprise M&M’s InsideMy Profile

    • Honestly, I found your last comment to be the most true. It not only made me aware of how susceptible I am to just wanting to pick up something to eat, it made me more conscious of the times I really want to do it. Which makes them a little easier to combat. For instance, the absolute worst time was right after leaving the gym. But if I just eat a snack bar or something before I even leave, that temptation reduced by like 80%.

    • Nah, it wasn’t really scary at all. More a quick battle of willpower. I agree with Leslie who mentioned that you’ll still HAVE to buy necessities in preparation – unless you’ve got a well stocked cupboard with foods you just haven’t been eating, so mostly it just keeps you from buying little things to snack on or entertain yourself.

      I really think the magnifying glass that it holds up to your spending habits makes it totally worth doing though.

  6. Just a week. We go months and months without spending. We just don’t have it a lot of times. Most money has to go to bills and food, gas for hubby to get to work…that sort of thing. When you are put in a situation to do something, you either swim or drown. I know if you had to do this longer even you could. :) Thanks for sharing this one with us at Countdown in Style! :)
    Brittnei recently posted…Shop Hopeful Kiss and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics ReviewMy Profile

  7. I have never had any luck with no spend periods. Mostly because I have broken the habit of impulse spending. I know that a lot of people have profited from no spend days/weeks. My general feelings are if it helps you to save money than you should do it.

    Congratulations on saving some money nice job.
    Douglas Antrim recently posted…What to look for in a used carMy Profile

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