They say it takes 30 days to create a new habit. If you want to spend less, test the waters with a no-spend month. Give it a go and vow to do it a few times a year.
Here’s how to get started:
Create a no-spend budget
While you will always have to spend money on groceries, housing, gas for your car or train fares, a no-spend month focuses on nonessential purchases. Remember, you can make temporary adjustments to your budget. Write down how much you’ve been spending monthly on essential and nonessential items. Create a list of what you plan to cut.
“Ask yourself, what could you live without for 30 days? If it means cutting your cable bill for one month, then so be it,” says Leslie Tayne, a debt resolution attorney with the Tayne Law Group in Melville.
If you have a lot of credit card debt, use this time to save and put more money toward those bills, instead of spending money on nonessentials.
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Select a month that gives you the best shot at success. “For example, December may not work out so well or a summer month that you have a vacation booked,” says Dan Geltrude, author of Positive Financial Karma.
You might want to let your inner circle know what you’re trying to achieve so you have moral support and so they won’t be asking you to go out for drinks or dinner that month. Says Sara Conklin, a financial coach with FrozenPennies.com, “Make sure that you take an inventory of what you have and what you need before your challenge starts.”
What were major temptations? What was easier than you thought? What can you do without permanently? Determine how much you saved, then rinse and repeat.