How To Have A “No Spend November” How To Have A “No Spend November” Photo Courtesy of Money Wise It may be hard to think about saving money just before the holiday season starts. However, a good financial cleanse may be just the thing you need to put your fiscal affairs in perspective. If you’ve been a little bit lackadaisical with your spending budget lately or you suffer from financial procrastination, joining the “No Spend November” campaign may be the cure! While it’s understandable that there are essential expenses that must be paid, such as your rent/mortgage, utilities, gas and groceries, there are other expenses that most certainly aren’t vital to everyday survival. Put your spending habits and financial savvy to the test! Just by following these five simple rules for 30 days, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and have extra money in the bank as your reward for the sacrifices you have made all month long. Photo Courtesy of The Balance Plan Out a “No Spend” Budget If you already have a budget in place, you’ll need to take some time to go through your expenses and make a few temporary adjustments. The first thing you should do is write down how much you spend every month. There are two categories to list your expenses under: essential and non-essential. Carefully consider what actually is essential. For example, how much do you really watch cable TV? How much would you be able to put into your savings with temporarily downgrading your cable service? If watching TV isn’t that important to you, maybe try taking the option of only internet service for 30 days. After listing all of your non-essential items, put your new “No Spend” Budget into action! Don’t Fall Victim to “FOMO” While you may have a vibrant social life, don’t let “FOMO” (fear of missing out) get the best of you. If your friends are going to lavish restaurants and swanky lounges, why not get creative and find other ways to stay social in November. There’s a plethora of free things you can do on the weekends. Do your research and look for local venues that are hosting free concerts and other fun free activities. If your friends want to have a night out, maybe ask them to join you and challenge them to participate in your “No Spend November” challenge. Host a pot-luck themed night where your friends can each bring a homemade dish as well as their favorite libations to share. Cutting down on eating out and drinking expensive cocktails doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun! Resist the Pumpkin Spice Latte and Other Discretionary Expenses! Photo Courtesy of Geo Marketing If your daily routine consists of stopping at your favorite coffee shop every morning, you must resist the temptation! Instead, try brewing your own coffee at home and tote it to work. If you like flavored coffee, you’ll be surprised that your local supermarket may have a flavored creamer to your liking at a fraction of the cost. Other discretionary expenses such as take-out lunch, fast food dinners as well as happy hour appetizers and drinks, can all add up to hundreds of dollars each month. Eliminating these expenses aren’t only good for your wallet, it’s good for your health too! Also, beware of those enticing coupons offering you “deals” if you holiday shop early. Delete them immediately and stick to your holiday shopping list and budget after you’ve completed your “No Spend November” challenge. Exercise and Save! Photo Courtesy of Bike Radar You may not realize how much you actually spend on gas just by making local trips and running errands around town. Consider walking or biking to your local stores if they are close enough. Not only will you be getting exercise and feel invigorated, you’ll be saving money too! While you may need to fill up your car with gas for your commute to work, why not ask someone in your office who lives close to you to share a commute. Fight off Temptation If you want to have a successful “No Spend November,” fighting off your temptations and cravings will be key. Your family and friends may ask you to join them in shopping and lunch dates on the weekend, but this will only put “stuff” in front of you with lurking temptations everywhere. If you are invited for a night out, you may have to temporarily sacrifice a few weekend nights, but going out will only tempt you to spend money and before you know it, you could be buying a round of drinks! Sometimes alone time can be good for the soul. Catch up on reading that juicy book you’ve been trying to get to or watch a movie on Netflix with a hot fresh-popped bag of popcorn! If you feel a spending temptation come on, take a step back and look at your budget and how much you have saved so far. Think of all the hard work you’ve already put into your “No Spend November!” If you haven’t taken a look at your credit score in a while, this may be a good time to start planning your budget for the upcoming New Year and to continue some of the good habits you have adopted during your “No Spend November” challenge! Leslie Tayne Leslie H. Tayne has more than 15 years' experience in the practice area of consumer and business financial debt-related services. Speaker, Author of Life & Debt, Attorney and Founder of the Tayne Law Group, P.C., Leslie is working towards reshaping the debt industry by offering real, proven solutions to help her clients get back on the road to financial freedom.