How to Have a “No Spend November” (& Save for the Holidays)
Are you afraid of falling into debt after your holiday shopping this season?
While you may be familiar with “No Shave November,” to grow cancer awareness by saying “No” to shaving, “No Spend November” is another “No” campaign that can shine a positive light on your financial situation. This month-long challenge can help you give yourself a financial cleanse before the holiday season is in full-swing, helping you decipher your non-essential expenses from your essential and fully understand your income-to-expense ratio.
There are some expenses that you can’t avoid (essential expenses) such as rent/mortgage, utility bills, gas, and groceries, but you might be able to do away with your other expenses for a month. Here are 5 tips to help you say “No” to spending and “Yes” to saving!
1. Create a Working “No-Spend” Budget
Since you are practicing a 30-day “No Spend” month, you’ll have to make some temporary adjustments to your budget. First, consider sitting down and writing down how much you’ve been spending every month on essential and non-essential items. You can then create a list of all the expenses you plan to rule out. Ask yourself, what could you live without for 30 days? If it means cutting your cable bill for one month, then so be it. If you have a lot of debt sitting on your credit cards, then you might want to use this time to save and put more money towards your debt rather than non-essential spending. Take some time, make some phone calls, and make the necessary changes so you can ensure that you will have enough money for the upcoming holiday season.
2. Remove Yourself from the Social Scene (For Now)
A “No Spend November” means you might have to sit in on a couple of Saturdays. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to cut out the fun all together. There are certainly other fun, free activities you can partake in to keep yourself occupied. You might even want to take this time to focus on your health (since December often means many, many holiday cookies). Let’s face it, if you don’t go out to a restaurant or bar with friends, then you won’t spend any money!
3. Cut Back on Discretionary Expenses
Discretionary expenses could be the primary thing keeping you in debt; eliminating these non-essential expenses for 30 days might cause you to adopt some healthier long-term spending habits and have a positive effect on your budget. Consider cutting back on luxury items like the everyday coffee at work, eating out for lunch, and happy hour drinks to help you save a couple extra bucks and boost your cash flow for the upcoming holiday season.
4. Take a Walk
Even though you may not be able to cut gas expenses out of your budget, you could still limit it. If the grocery store is around the corner, consider taking a walk or bike ride to the store, instead of putting the extra miles on your car and in your gas tank. You might even want to consider avoiding using your car all together on the weekends. You will be surprised to see how much you unnecessarily spend on gas every month.
5. Avoid Temptations
The most important factor in having a “No Spend November” is fighting your cravings! What better way to do this then to avoid these temptations all together. Try not to take a stroll in the mall with friends to help them pick out a new outfit – this will only leave you wanting to spend. Try and avoid going to restaurants and bars at night, as these will end up tempting you to put a hole in your wallet! When you feel like you are having a temptation to spend on a “luxury item,” sit back and take a look at your budget and credit report. If you see your credit score could be higher or you could put more money towards your debt, then spending money at the store isn’t worth it.
A “No Spend November” could be a positive challenge to not only help you boost your holiday cash flow, but help you get your finances back on track in the long term. If you find yourself falling behind on your current debt obligations and need some extra money to put towards them, use the money you are saving towards your debt first, before splurging on holiday gifts for your loved ones. If you find you have trouble with saving and can’t stay on top of your payments, consider speaking with a financial-debt counselor to help you get started. Help can be a phone call away and you won’t even have to break your “No-spending” because it’s free! Contact Tayne Law Group at 631-470-8204 to schedule a free phone consultation.