If you’re wanting to try No Spend November, but you’re not sure exactly how or where to start, this post is for you! I’m going to walk you through the 7 Steps for a Successful No Spend November. If you follow each of these steps, you’ll be able to save some serious money for the holidays, or whatever you choose to save your money for.
7 Steps for a Successful No Spend November
What is No Spend November?
For me, No Spend November is a 2 week long spending freeze at the beginning of November. I use the money that I save during those 2 weeks to jump start my holiday savings.
Last year, I was able to save over $250 during No Spend November!
It’s really a great way to save a good amount of money quickly. And while it’s not easy at first, with practice it gets much easier. I first tried to do No Spend November 4 years ago. It was tough! I really struggled to hold back from buying things. But, each year it got a little easier.
Last year was so much easier than it had been in the past. I think it’s really something that comes with practice. So, if it’s hard for you this year, just remember that you’re setting yourself up for an easier No Spend November next year.
Plus, by reading this post you are already off to a great start!
Ok, let’s get to the good stuff! Here are the 7 Steps for a Successful No Spend November.
1. Set goals
Before you actually start doing anything, I recommend that you set some goals. What do you want to save this money for? Do you want to save it for the holidays? Do you want to put it towards debt? Is there something special that you’re saving for?
I always use my No Spend November savings to jump start my holiday savings, but that certainly doesn’t mean that’s what you have to use it for. It’s a decision that is entirely up to you.
Just make sure that you know what you’re saving for before you begin. This is important. It will help keep you motivated along the way and ensure that you put your savings toward something meaningful at the end of your spending freeze.
2. Set some rules
Instead of broadly saying that you’re not going to spend any money whatsoever during your No Spend November, I recommend that you really consider your specific situation and decide what you will and will not spend money on.
This is helpful because if something comes up that you have to spend money on, if you’ve already built that into your rules, it won’t derail your progress.
Here’s an example of my No Spend November rules:
We will do our NSN spending freeze for 2 weeks. YOU decide how long you’ll be doing your spending freeze for. If you’ve never done a freeze before, you might want to start with just one week. If you’re experienced and feeling ambitious, perhaps you’ll try 3 weeks, or even a whole month!
What we are allowed to pay for:
- Bills – Obviously, we will pay our regularly scheduled bills as usual. We always pay extra to the debt we’re focused on paying off, and we will continue to do that in November.
- Gas – We make an effort to get the best price we can on gas (cough, Costco) and we don’t drive out of our way but when our cars run out of gas, we’re going to get more. This might depend on where you live though. If you can walk to the places you need to get to, maybe you don’t need to buy gas during your spending freeze.
- Common Sense Expenses – For example, co-pays for medical visits (I am super pregnant after all) or refills on medication or anything else that you can’t reasonably not pay for.
- [Sometimes] the most basic groceries – like diapers, milk, eggs… I try to think ahead before I start, but if I’m desperate for one thing that will make all the difference I know it’s not the end of the world. I will avoid this by all means if possible though, because it’s really best not to enter a store at all.
What we are NOT allowed to pay for:
Pretty much anything else.
No Shopping, no regular grocery trips, no restaurant or take-out food, no going out with friends to anything that isn’t free.
Again, my rules are just there to be an example. Decide for yourself what you will and will not be allowed to pay for during your spending freeze. A lot of it will really depend on your personal situation.
3. Get your family on board
My friends, this is perhaps the most important part. You need the buy in from your family.
If the rest of your family members keep spending money like normal, you’ll just be spinning your wheels and not really making any progress.
It has to be a team effort.
Make it a fun challenge. Check in on each other’s progress. Get excited about your end goal.
The moral support is super helpful.
4. Inventory what you have
Of course, you’re still going to need to eat during No Spend November. But chances are, you have a ton of food in your house that you don’t even know about.
Go through your pantry, your cabinets, your freezer and your fridge (and anywhere else you might keep food in your house).
Make a list of every single thing that you have.
You can make it fun and have your kids crawl around through the pantry or cabinets and help you. Just make sure that you get everything.
Bonus: Since you’re going through everything anyway, maybe it’s a good time to clean it all out. 🙂
5. Brainstorm ways to use what you have
Once you’ve created a detailed list of every food you have in your home, start thinking of ways that you can use what you have.
Do you have a ton of chicken in your freezer? Maybe you can make chicken soup in your crockpot. Or defrost it and bake it, or grill it, or make a casserole.
Got a ton of eggs? Maybe scrambled for breakfast and quiche for dinner.
Be creative. Think of ways you can use what you have together.
Need some help? There are a bunch of websites that let you put in the ingredients you have and they give you a recipe, like Supercook, Allrecipes, or MyFridgeFood.
6. Put your blinders on
Now it’s actually time to get started with your spending freeze!
As you start, and throughout your whole NSN it is super important that you put your blinders on!
Don’t get distracted by the bright shiny things.
If your friend tells you about her about the amazing purchase she just made, and you want whatever-it-is too, just write it down and think about it later.
If the other moms at school pick-up all decide to get together, suggest coffee at someone’s house instead of going out.
Be prepared when these situations arise. And keep reminding yourself what you’re saving for. Put a note in your wallet, on your fridge, in your car — wherever you need it.
It will be worth it when you’re done!
7. Make sure your money goes toward your goal
When your spending freeze is over, first, dance party. You did it! Celebrate!
Then, figure out how much you saved, and MAKE SURE every dime goes toward the goal you set in the beginning.
You did not work so hard to save those dollars just to spend extra the following week! You saved them for your goal, make sure your goal gets them.
If this is your first spending freeze, it probably will be tough at times. Just keep going. If you do No Spend November again next year, you’ll have this experience under your belt and you’ll be able to follow these steps for a successful No Spend November much easier.
I really think this is the easiest way to save money quickly for the holidays. It’s a lot easier (in my opinion, at least) than saving money all year long. And it will be worth it when you have so much less stress about how you’re going to afford all the things you need. You can do it!