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?