If the new year doesn’t get you focused on getting your financial story back on track, then the looming prospect of tax season will. Those who are expecting refunds are filing with glee, while the rest of us are dreading how much more we owe Uncle Sam come April. If you’re pinching pennies to free up cash flow, or finally getting serious about paying off debt, then the No Spend Challenge is for you. Putting yourself and your family in a better position financially is always the right thing to do. I’m here to share some fun no-spend ideas in a printable guide that also includes a no-spend tracker to help you stay determined and gain motivation by seeing your own progress.
The No Spend Tracker
One of the important things about making a commitment to a new routine, or completing a challenge is accountability. A simple tracker helps you markdown when you follow through and it gives you something visual that shows how well you are doing. The tracker I provide is for a full month of recording how well you did. Just fill in the bubble when you stay on track. That’s it. No excuses. No explanations or long lists of things to do. The goal is to fill them all in, but what’s really important about the tracker is that it keeps you focused on progress and shows you where you are in relation to where you are going. That’s why I tell people not to get discouraged when they miss days. The tendency is to sweep it under the rug and that is when you for sure lose the challenge. Keep going!
Related: Teaching Kids to Save Money: How to Relate The Importance of Saving
No Spend Challenge Ideas
Print out this small No Spend Challenge Tracker with a list of ideas for things you and your family can do without spending money. If you get the temptation to pay for entertainment, look to this list instead and find a free alternative. I found that doing many of these things is more enriching and satisfying for the whole family.
Related: Top 5 Smart Things You Should do with Your Income Tax Refund
Success with the No Spend Challenge
When you start a No Spend Challenge like this one, you need to set boundaries early on. Make a distinction between the money you have to spend and the money you needlessly spend. Having clear lines of appropriate and inappropriate spending is essential to successfully complete this challenge because it removes ambiguity. The clearer you make it for yourself, the less wiggle room you have to cheat yourself out of reaching the finish line. After a while of following this guide to free activities, you will feel better and you will have more money left over at the end of the month. It’s a good idea to decide in advance what you plan to do with that money so that it doesn’t just disappear somewhere without warning. Money always does that if you don’t have a plan for it.