Jump Start Jan: Debt Week Day 7

Jump Start January 2016 Debt Week Day 7 zero spend

If you’re trying to kickstart paying off your debts, you might like to try a zero-spend challenge of some sort to get things going. While these aren’t sustainable in the long term, they can be very useful for freeing up extra cash in the short term so that you can pay off a chunk of debt or make a few savings. If you aren’t in debt then it’s a great way to start off an emergency fund, for example.

One of the simplest things to do is have a general no-spend day, where you don’t spend anything at all. Many thrifty people have a regular no-spend day once or twice a week.

If you have enough stored groceries in your home you might also be able to manage a no-spend week. That’s a lot harder than doing a Tenner Week, but not impossible.

Another no-spend idea is to have a week or more of no unnecessary spending. That means that you can buy basic groceries and replace everyday items, but you don’t buy new things for the sake of it or pay for unnecessary services or subscriptions. Quite a few people manage to do this for a whole month or more, and it’s the basis for several ‘Frugal February’ budgeting challenges.

The final option is to go right to your weak spots. If you have an area of your budget where you regularly overspend, that’s where you need to start. Here are a few ideas:

  • No event tickets for a month
  • No restaurant trips for two months
  • No new clothes for three months
  • No holidays for a year

Have you ever tried a zero-spend challenge? Do you think you could manage one?

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  1. I am attempting Frugal February this month, for the first time. I am hoping to move house soon, so saving as much money as i can!

  2. Hi Claire, what rules are you following for Frugal February? Come back and let us know how you’re getting on.

  3. I am so in need of learning how to budget and save properly. After finding myself overdrawn a bit too often I’m now trying to take action.

    Apart from transport (Zone 1-3 weekly travelcard) I didn’t spend any money at all from Sunday last week until Friday this week. On Friday I went to an already planned dinner with friends but made a point of staying within 20 pounds in total. Today I treated myself to a coffee in a cafe and spent a few pounds on bread, water and lemons. I nearly bought some veggies, but remembered that I already have frozen broccoli. I also have pasta and some meatballs in tomatosauce (homemade from meat I bought a while ago and has been in the freezer). Will buy no new meat until that’s eaten and no new veggies until the broccoli is gone (even though I’ll get really tired of it). I will probably buy some berries or nuts for my porridge and will most likely buy some passata or tinned tomatoes for my pasta, but other than that I think I can manage to not spend any money for a few more days. After that, I plan to buy some groceries sensibly, and then try again to keep the ball rolling, not spending anything for a week, other than transport and bills. I would like to try this two weeks per month, going forward – but keeping room for some extra spending from time to time (cinema, a Sunday roast, or whatever) – but NO unneccessary food or items and no takeaways. And finish the food I already have before I buy new stuff. This especially, I’ve found this week, is REALLY useful. It really makes you think about the food you’re eating, how to prepare a nice meal from whatever you have left in your cupboard/fridge/freezer, what you’re buying and how much money you spend unneccessarily. I really hope I can get into this habit – this first week has worked really well at least, so that’s encouraging 🙂

  4. Hey Ida, so very glad to hear that this new budgeting is working out so well for you. It’s important to keep seeing your friends, but putting a price cap on nights out is an excellent idea. Avoiding food waste can save a massive amount of money – to prevent food getting monotonous is can help to invest in some dried herbs, chilli flakes and so on, so have something plain one night, with herbs and lemon the next time, and then chilli at the end to keep it interesting 🙂

    Good luck and keep up the good work. x

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