How to not spend money: The NO SPEND challenge

Yes, you read that right. This month, I am not going to spend any money on anything except essentials. I am going to be running a no- spend challenge for the whole month of August in the hope of saving some money and being more conscious of what I choose to spend money on. Keep reading to see how you can take part and for some free printables and potentially a free Starbucks gift voucher!

What is a no-spend challenge?

A no-spend challenge is where you only spend money on the things you absolutely need to survive and get by. This usually includes:

  • Pre-existing bills such as rent and utilities
  • Groceries
  • Essential toiletries like toothpaste and shower gel (not that fancy perfume you were looking at online)
  • Travel to and from work (petrol/public transport)

This means you cannot spend any money on the following:

  • Clothes and accessories
  • Takeaways or meals out for lunch or dinner (including buying lunch whilst out)
  • Takeaway coffees and hot drinks
  • Hobbies (except for things like a gym membership/fitness class as this is important for wellbeing) . This might be things you just like buying. For me, it is stationery, nail polish and makeup.

Basically, if you can live without it, don’t buy it. As much as I tell myself I can’t, I can definitely live without Starbucks and new nail polish. I can go without buying new clothes and I do not need to spend my money going out for meals and drinks.

Why take part in a No-Spend challenge?

A no spend challenge may sound really strict and it is not for everyone. For some people, the thought of not going out for a meal and drinks with friends at a restaurant is totally unbearable and not something they want to do, which is fair enough. However, I personally want to save a lot money and that is the main reason you should take part.

You should take part in a no-spend challenge if you want to save a larger amount of money over a shorter space of time. Maybe you are saving for a house or something you need for school such as a new laptop. I personally have A LOT to save for. I want to save for driving lessons, a car, a house deposit and medical school. As you can imagine, I need to save thousands of pounds and I am only giving myself 3 years to save as much as I can as I want to achieve my goals for when I graduate. My goal is to save at least £20,000.

That means putting aside just under £560 a month, which is quite a lot of money. For me, it is only possible if I seriously cut down my spending. I also want to be more conscious of what I spend money on. Over lock down, I have been spending way to much on things I do not need out of boredom, so I want to be more conscious about where my money is going so I can put it to better use.

How to be successful on a no-spend challenge

I have broken down how I would personally approach a no-spend challenge to help you get off to the best start possible:

  • Prepare. Make sure you have an idea what the month is going to look like and know exactly how much money is coming in to your account and how much will need to be spend on food, bills and other necessities.
  • Meal Prep your lunches instead of buying food whilst out of the house. Prepping should stop incidences of forgetting lunch or not having time to make lunch
  • Go public with your plans. Tell people that you are not spending money this month. This will hold you more accountable and prevent people from encouraging you to spend money on meals out and events; You may find that your friends want to join in!
  • Write down your goals. Make a visual representation of why you want to do this challenge and what your long term goals are so you feel more motivated. I have created a free printable for you to use below to help you with this, but you could also create a pretty vision board of what you hope to achieve!
  • Write a list of all of the free things you can do for fun and get creative. This could be having “come dine with me” parties instead of buying food at a restaurant, making your own coffee in a flask, going for walks and bike rides and getting crafty! Make a list as big as you can and turn to it if you’re bored and temped to spend. You could also study 😉

Here is how you can win a £10 Starbucks Voucher!


Takeaway coffee is by far my favourite unnecessary thing. A venti chai latte makes me far too happy, as basic as that makes me sound. However, this challenge means I will not be buying any Starbucks in August. At the end of the month, I am going to treat myself to a Starbucks and to help motivate you to stick to the challenge, I am going to giveaway a £10 Starbucks voucher to one person!

To enter to win a Starbucks voucher, all you need to do is:

  1. Download your free No-spend challenge tracker and tag me on Instagram with a photo of your tracker! (Your voucher will be sent by email if you win). If your account is private, I wont be able to see but you can DM me if you have a private account.
  2. At the end of the month (August 2020), tag me in another photo of your tracker coloured in! You don’t need to have stuck to the challenge every day to win, but I will need to see that you have tried!
  3. Those who submit their tracker will be put in to a draw to win the £10 voucher! It will be sent out via the email used to subscribe on the 1st of September!

I personally find Starbucks very motivating so I hope it helps you stick to the challenge as much as possible too!

Download your free No-Spend Challenge Tracker here

Best of luck! Thanks for reading xo

For more Money and Budgeting Tips, check out these posts:

How to create a budget and save money at university