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Frugal Tip

How to Successfully Have a No-Spend Month

January No-Spend Challenge

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to spend ZERO this month.

Challenge accepted!

Doing a no-spend challenge for a month is a great way to recover from higher spending months like December when our bank accounts take a hit due to Christmas.

I’ll share how we are managing our challenge to spend NOTHING in the month of January.

What we are still paying for:

• Regular Bills
• Home Business Expenses
• Gas
• That’s it!

What we’re NOT paying for:

• Groceries
• Household Items
• Clothing
• Meals Out
• Entertainment

How we’ll manage:

Eat from the Pantry/Freezer

We have a very well-stocked freezer and pantry, of which we’ll be taking advantage. Even though I love stockpiling, sometimes I just want to empty my cupboards and start over, so this is my chance!

We took an inventory of the food we have on hand and it is SHOCKING how much we truly have when we dig all the way to the back! Realistically, we could eat from our pantry/freezer for well OVER a month.

Eat Leftovers

Leftovers will become our close friends. We always *intend* to use our leftovers but they usually end up in the back of the fridge, to be discovered only when it’s too late. While it gets repetitive to eat the same thing over, and over, and OVER, I am reminded that I should be thankful to not only have food on our table each night, but to have an abundance of food at that!

Repurpose Leftovers

My husband is very skilled at repurposing leftovers. We had Chicken Tortilla Soup one night (one of the above mentioned freezer meals) then they were turned into chicken tacos for lunch the next day (after straining off the broth), and then combined with cheese, rice (cook the rice in the broth!), and homemade enchilada sauce for a Mexican casserole the next night! This way the food doesn’t “feel” like leftovers!

We won’t be eating out AT ALL but I do have a couple of free drink rewards from Starbucks that I plan to use strategically. 😉

Gift Cards

I have a few gift cards that we can use to buy a few groceries, if necessary. These are gift cards earned through writing online reviews, shopping online through Honey, or gifts from friends and colleagues.

Free Entertainment

We don’t spend a lot on entertainment to begin with, so I don’t think this will be a big deal. We have an Arboretum membership if we get *really* bored (though, with it being January, I doubt we’ll want to venture out into the cold for fun…). We can also take advantage of free local activities or host a movie night. We also will continue our weekly library visits for free reading material, audiobooks, and even movies/TV shows on DVD to borrow.

Fuel Discounts

While gas is considered a necessary expense, we are still trying to limit how much we use (certainly easier when we aren’t running all over the place spending money!). We’re also very thankful for the lower gas prices we’re seeing this month!


I’m also taking the opportunity to declutter our home this month. By decluttering and organizing, we’re finding many things we’d forgotten! For example, the kids and I cleaned out our game cabinet one day and now that all the games have all their pieces and they can really see what we have, they are playing games almost every day! So, not only did we get organized, we also discovered some “free” entertainment.

Sell Stuff

I have a bin in our closet where I collect items we no longer need and when the bin is full, I either sell the items or deliver them to the thrift store. I pulled a few of the items out to sell on my favorite thrifting apps and made some quick cash! I then used that cash to buy coffee, milk, and eggs. It was a win-win.

I really think this challenge is good for us because we really evaluate all the things that we regularly buy that we do NOT need!

Have you ever participated in a no-spend challenge? Share how it went in the comments below!


  1. We are in the middle of our fourth Spend Free month (done over the span of about 18 months). The first time was the hardest but we saved – and sold stuff so earned more money to save – over $1700!
    Since buying our house the ability to save has been drastically reduced with the increased cost of the mortgage so we’re more motivated than ever to have a successful Spend Free month. We use the same rules outlined in this article although, variations and rule changes for other households are fine too.
    It’s a great time to clear out your stash of groceries and freezer items for consumption and to clear clutter from your house by selling things which turns into milk and veggie money toward the end of the month.


  2. If any shopping..

    i use certain apps to make money( I don’t stick to their list, a few apps are like that) I wasnt close as i thought too make the bonus of $20 , though i made about $10. i made money on one app cashed out and put in a account for later use (maybe..)

    i played starbuck for life won a drink and pile of stars…

    Most game play was FREE….

    i did spend a little as well , I was in middle of a Teavana Star Dash…

    also, I LOVE peppermint mocha, Not as many in past ive had to cut back.’..

    on my Birthday (Month: December) I took advantage, of my birthday drink (starbucks)

    Also.. many Birthday Rewards or gifts from many places….

    I still have a few i can use up to the day before nxt birthday in 2020

    Trying , No wanting to act on saving for New year and beyond….

    been on 2 year Medical sabbatical and trying too bounce back…

    return to life….


  3. I call some days zero days and that means I will not spend any money. I enjoy a day walking, making a picnic supper and going outside to watch the sunset.


  4. I have never done no spending, but I have given up “retail therapy” multiple times. What this means to me is that I only shop with a list and only for things we actually need. I plan to give it up for Lent this year and hope it becomes my norm eventually.


  5. Erin Chase via Facebook

    Good one!!!! We had a “low-spend” on groceries in February! It was challenging, but rewarding!!!


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