Hit the financial reset button with this creative budgeting approach.
If you’ve been burning through your cash lately, give your budget a break — try out the no-spend weekend plan. It means getting creative and finding other ways to spend your time (beyond just spending money).
What does a no-spend weekend plan really look like?
Before you dismiss this exercise as impossible, understand that “no-spend” can be interpreted as “no discretionary spending.” A no-spend weekend means not buying things you want (but don’t necessarily need). You can be as strict as you want with this savings challenge, but going to extremes isn’t mandatory for you to enjoy the positive effects.
If you need to purchase gas for your car to get to work or grab a few groceries so you can prepare meals at home, do so. And of course, don’t skip paying your rent or utility bills. Handle the essentials and focus on cutting the costs that are optional and within your control.
How to enjoy your no-spend weekend
With no discretionary spending allowed, you’ll need to find free ways to enjoy your Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Consider these ideas to get you started, then brainstorm some ways to spend your time (without spending money!) that you would enjoy:
- Get outside: Depending on your location and the time of year, this may or may not be your best option. But if you can get outside and enjoy activities in the fresh air, this is a perfect way to spend your time over the weekend. Go for a walk or hike, try a new activity or team sport, or find an outdoor venue you can visit for free (like public gardens, for example).
- Invest in a relationship: Plan to catch up with old friends or put in some quality time with a current relationship. Play a game, cook a meal, or have a meaningful conversation together. Doing so will bring you far more happiness and fulfillment than purchasing more material stuff you don’t even need.
- Relax: If you’re always working on something — be it through your job, personal project, or other responsibility — a no-spend weekend is the perfect time to simply relax. Curl up with a book from the library, watch a movie, write, draw, make time to meditate, or catch up on something around your home that you’ve neglected.
If you make it through a no-spend weekend, congratulations! This great exercise can help you prioritize experiences and relationships over trying to find fulfillment through spending money on stuff while also opening you up to new opportunities.
And of course, there’s that main benefit: It can help you reduce spending and free up cash to save. But you need to make sure that after you finish a no-spend weekend, you follow through and actually transfer the money you didn’t spend to your savings!
Giving this exercise a try means giving your budget a break — and it also provides you with a unique way to give a savings fund for a particular goal a boost. Try a no-spend weekend once a month, or every other week.
Have you ever tried a savings challenge like this one? What mental tricks do you use to give your savings a boost?