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No Spend inspiration: From a 'spending fast' to the 'naked truth'

Four books to read if you're doing the

Four books to read if you're doing the No Spend Challenge. Credit: Illustration by Gregory Stevens

When you set off to do something as extreme as the No Spend Challenge and suddenly stop spending money on all of the "fun" things you used to, on all those things you didn't even realize were luxuries — a cinnamon latte here, a new pair of earrings there — you can start to go a little crazy.

The good thing is that the challenge also presents you with the perfect opportunity to dive deep into the fascinating world of personal finance, saving and living that No Spend life to the fullest.

One easy way to do that is to sink your teeth into the following books. Some of these reads were reader suggestions, while others I found by perusing Instagram and Facebook.

P.S. I'm not suggesting that you buy any of thesetry the good ol' library!  

1. "The Year of Less" by Cait Flanders 

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If you read my last post, you will know I had trouble sleeping last night... and I still can't find the words to describe how I felt when I woke up this morning. I have been dreaming of this day for months... and now it's here! January 16, 2018 is here! It's a real date! And THE YEAR OF LESS is out! The early response to the book has been incredible. Aside from the pictures you've shared using #theyearofless, I've also seen some amazing reviews published on @goodreads. And the most exciting news I can share right now is that @voguemagazine has listed The Year of Less as one of the nonfiction books that will help you change your life in 2018! I can honestly say I am totally overwhelmed in the best way possible. And I am continually learning that a book isn't only made by the author. It is brought into this world by an entire village—and you are all part of mine. If you'd like to support the book, you can order a copy now, or ask your local bookstore or library to carry it! It's currently available in hardcover, e-book and audiobook (which I narrated!). 🙏🏼 If you've read it, I would be forever grateful if you wrote a review on Amazon. This helps authors more than I realized! 🙏🏼 And if you want to share your thoughts here, I would love to see the book out in the wild! Post a picture and tell us your story, including #theyearofless. All the links + information about buying + reviewing the book are in my profile. There is so much good work to do today, friends... but for just a few minutes, I'm going to enjoy my coffee and simply be. xoxo

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"Have you read 'The Year of Less'?" one reader asked me via email. In the book, which is a Wall Street Journal bestselling self-help memoir, author Cait Flanders goes on a No Spend Challenge herself and documents it.

"At every stage, I learned that the less I consumed, the more fulfilled I felt," writes Flanders on her website. "The Year of Less will leave you questioning what you’re holding on to in your own life — and, quite possibly, lead you to your own path of less." 

Her book sold more 100,000 copies in 2018 — its first year in publication — and ranked on the top 10 most borrowed lists at libraries in cities in Canada and Australia. The book has been translated in eight languages. 

2. "The No-Spend Challenge Guide: How to Stop Spending Money Impulsively, Pay Off Debt Fast and Make Your Finances Fit Your Dreams" by Jen Smith

It seemed only fitting to suggest a book with "No-Spend" in the title as you attempt your very own No Spend Challenge. Author Jen Smith, creator of debt freedom blog ModernFrugality.com, went from not being able to stick to a budget for more than two weeks to paying off $78,000 of debt in less than two years. 

The slim (89 pages) 2017 book has been described by hordes of Amazon reviewers as a "quick," "relatable" and "fun" read, and has a 4.5-star rating on the site. Among the things you'll learn in this book is how to pay off debt fast (while still having fun) and ways to do for free what you’ve probably been wasting money on.  

3. "The Spender's Guide to Debt-Free Living: How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get From Broke to Badass in Record Time" by Anna Newell Jones 

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Thanks for posting, @readingwithchampagne, and for sharing your amazingness with us. You are taking control of your life and we can’t wait to cheer you on as you get out of debt!⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ …⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @readingwithchampagne "@annanewelljones is my IDOL! #andthenwesaved #spendingfast" ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ …⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you’d like to be chosen as #SpendingFasteroftheWeek and have your awesome self-broadcast far and wide over the #DebtFreeCommunity socialsphere, please post a pic of yourself with my book to your public Instagram account (extra posts for creative/fun shots), tag me (@annanewelljones) and include the hashtag #SpendingFasteroftheWeek! Thank youuuuuu!!⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ...⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living: How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get From Broke to Badass in Record Time⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ •⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Available on Amazon (paperback, Kindle, and audio book) & everywhere books are sold! Link in bio⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #spendingfast #andthenwesaved #spendersguide #debtfreecommunity #debtfreejourney #getoutofdebt #spendersguidetodebtfreeliving #getoutofdebt #atws #debtfreeliving #wealth #budgeting #savingmoney #debt #debtavalanche #financialfreedom #personalfinance #goals #saving #debtfree #budget #savings #budgettip #debtfreedom #debtfreegoals

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In 2010, Denver-based blogger Anna Newell Jones, of And Then We Saved, first did what she calls a "spending fast." Newell Jones said although the challenge may seem extreme to some, it was her way of regaining control after hitting a “financial bottom.”

With a fiance who cited her “shopping problem” as the reason he refused to share a bank account with her, and $23,605 in debt, she decided not to spend any money on nonessentials — for a year. “Not spending money on things I didn’t need allowed me to tackle my debt,” she told me in an interview. “It took a lot of discipline and sacrifice, but 15 months later I was so proud of myself. I was debt free.” 

The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living takes readers through a detailed step-by-step plan on how to do a spending fast and get out of debt, including creating a custom "debt-free life pledge," finding additional income sources and generating side gigs and re-integrating spending into your life once you're out of debt, so you can stay debt-free.

4. "The Naked Truth About Your Money: Straight Talk About You and Your Finances" by Bill DeShurko, C.F.P

This 2007 book was ahead of its time as far as No Spend Challenges are concerned. But many personal finance experts and bloggers swear by it. I found out about it while scrolling through @thebudgetbees, a debt-free community Instagram run by husband-and-wife bloggers Nia and Morgan.

Nia said she loved the book so much that after checking it out from the library, she *gasp* bought her own copy on eBay. "It's practical, informative and straight to the point," she says in a September 2018 Instagram post. In "The Naked Truth" financial expert DeShurko doesn't  pull any punches on buying a house, how to invest in your 401(k) and smart money principals to live by. It's best for people in their 20s and 30s who want the 411 on dealing with college loans, building good credit, buying a car or financing their first home.

And while these are just some suggestions, there are plenty more page-turners where these came from. Stay tuned to @newsday and @presspassdaysi on Instagram, where I just might share more #NoSpendChallenge-friendly reads. 

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