Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Things I've Learned from No Spend Days


I have had over 50 No Spend Days this year so far! I set myself the challenge of having 100 No Spend Days in 2012, so I am currently ahead of schedule. I am due to move to Uni in autumn though and I think it's better to get as many as possible out of the way before I go!

So what have I learned so far?

The good
The Boyfriend said that I would probably just roll lots of spending into one day, so no spend days would not save any money. This is not the case. I find that I don't spend more than normal on a “spend day”.

I find this challenge stops me spending little bits here and there. If I am having a No Spend Day, it's not worth losing it for an ice cream or a drink. It stops the drip drip drip of unconscious spending.

The bad
I have found that spending money is quite addictive. Even buying diesel can be quite exciting! I bet no-one else gets that excited about swiping their debit card! I think it's because it makes you feel rich. If you have a few spend days in a row, it's hard to break the pattern. You feel drawn back into consumerism.

I need to turn this feeling around. Spending money makes me feel rich, but NOT spending money makes you ACTUALLY rich(er)!

The breakdown of my No Spend Days is as follows:
  • January – 13
  • February – 14
  • March – 10
  • April – 11
  • May (so far) – 6 of a possible 14 ( target is 14 for the month)

As you can see, since I was approaching and achieved being debt free in March I seemed to spend more often. I have set myself a target for May to get back on track and have 14 No Spend Days.

Who would benefit from No Spend Days?
The value of No Spend Days is debated a lot online. Do they encourage people to spend less, or simply group a lot of spending into a few days?

I would say they are good for those who fall victim to the “latte factor”, a phase invented by David Bach to describe the little things you spend money on daily. The example he gives is a latte on the way to work in the morning, but it could be any unnecessary purchase from a newspaper to buying lunches. If you just bring your own coffee/lunch from home a few days a week you could save a bundle, racking up a No Spend Day in the process!

Then again, as Laura Vanderkam said, perhaps these Latte Factor Victims spend a lot less on rent so that they can afford little luxuries like this!

Do you keep track of No Spend Days? Do you think they are a useful tool in a frugal lifestyle?

7 comments:

Justine said...

I find it easier no to keep track of the days I do spend. Have had about 5 spend days this month.

SpanktheMagicMonkey said...

I think I really need to adopt this no spend day thing. I have a habit of buying odd bits and pieces that if I really stopped and thought about for a second, I would realise I just don’t need.

A good example is food when I’m out and about. If I just thought to eat before I left or take my own drink I think I’d be a lot better off. Added up all my ‘little’ spends out and about over the last month and it came to around £20.00. Money I could have used to buy odd books I want and keep saying I have no money for.

Good idea, and keep up the good work!

skipandscatter said...

So true! I agree with SpanktheMagicMonkey (!). Although I am not a big small item spender, I sometimes realise that I've been dismissing things I want (usually craft supplies) as "too expensive" and postponing buying them and then spending money on trifles. Must keep that in check.

Andy Poole said...

Having no spend days can help you control yourself into making yourself a one-day millionaire. Till the day you'll be making it as a normal habit, keep on doing no spend days. I know how you feel on getting a bit addicted to spending even on the most unnecessary things. Anyone can actually relate to that I guess.

Meanqueen said...

It's easier to have no spend days if you live in a village and only venture into town now and again. We have a village shop but I have weaned myself away from popping in there. At one time I was always buying a mag and chocolate, because it was handy, now I never go in.

gotthisfar said...

naah unfortunately i seem to look at it retrospectively more often that not :( i.e. "did i spend anything today?"

I think I can fix this by bringing my own biscuits to work, many a no-spend day has been foiled by buying something to go with my cup of tea or coffee (which is for free at least!)

gotthisfar said...

naah unfortunately i seem to look at it retrospectively more often that not :( i.e. "did i spend anything today?"

I think I can fix this by bringing my own biscuits to work, many a no-spend day has been foiled by buying something to go with my cup of tea or coffee (which is for free at least!)