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No spend challenge

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for general information purposes only and do not constitute as first direct offering financial advice. Specialist advice should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

Ever wonder how much you really spend on non-essentials after payday? Our no-spend challenge could show you just how much you’re spending on the items you want, rather than on the items you need, so you can get a better picture of your outgoings. Here’s how it works:

1. Say goodbye to non-essentials

The challenge is simple - don’t buy anything that’s not absolutely essential. You could try it for one week to start with, and if it goes well, why not extend it to a full month? Here are some ideas for possible do and don’t buys for the no-spend challenge to help you get the ball rolling:

Do buy…

  • Food and ingredients for meals
  • Medicine and Toiletries 
  • Fuel or travel tickets for commuting and other essential trips 
  • Household bills and utilities
  • Cleaning products and essential home items

Don’t buy…

  • Treats, snacks or more food than required to last until your next shop
  • Perfumes or new cosmetics
  • Clothes and homeware
  • Meals out and takeaways
  • Entertainment or hobby related purchases

2. Create your wishlist

You can add anything else that you fancy buying, but isn’t an essential purchase, to your ‘wishlist’. We’ve created an editable spreadsheet, available here to download as a free PDF. 

Simply click the field you’d like to edit, type in the name of the item and how much it would have cost, and let our spreadsheet do the work. It’ll add up the total cost of your wishlist items, and reveal “what you would have spent…”

3. To buy, or not to buy?

You can then revisit your wishlist at the end of the week (or month), and decide whether you’d like to keep the money you’ve saved, or go ahead and buy any of the non-essential items on your list.

4. Keep it going

If the one week challenge goes well, why not test yourself and extend the timeframe to two weeks – then eventually to one month? You might be surprised about the cost of the extras that you’d usually buy, and how much you can save by adding them to your wishlist for a while.

Even if you decide not to continue with the no-spend challenge, by doing the activity before, it may just be enough to remind you to take a little longer to assess whether or not the purchase is really worth it, and help you make a more conscious choice between spending and saving.