When you are looking to save money, one term that is popular on blogs and forums is “no spend days”, or a NSD. It might surprise you to find that no spend days aren't something I aspire to, despite many people doing no spend days or months successfully.
The idea of a no spend day is simple – you just don't spend any money that day! At the beginning of a week or a new month, you might set yourself a challenge to have a set number of no spend days – for example, Nicola from The Frugal Cottage aimed to have 18 NSDs in April. The idea behind having no spend days is that you save money – instead of going out and buying something, you make do with what you have. You might also consider whether December can be a No Spend Month and these 5 ways to save money.
No spend days just do not work for me, and here's why:
Tell me I can't do something and I'll fixate on it
When you start a new diet, do you end up thinking about all the food you can't have, over and over again? Perhaps you even give in to temptation! Someone I follow on Instagram started a diet and honestly documented her food for that day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all super healthy meals, and then around 6pm came the photograph of fish and chips. Not only had they given in, they had eaten a whole extra meal! I am like that with no spend days (and first days of the diet!) – if I tell myself I can't do something, or that I am restricting something, it will be all I can think about. I find it incredibly distracting and I usually give in and go and buy something just to stop being distracted by it.
I can't make use of great savings
This might seem like a pathetic excuse, but if I am planning on having a no spend day and there's a really great deal to be had, perhaps at a supermarket reduced shelf, I could save myself more money in the long run by making that great saving than by trying to have a no spend day. You have to be careful though, because this could easily be an excuse to buy more stuff and spend more money because it is a bargain. I try to only buy items that we have space to store, that I have a clear purpose for and that we can afford.
I overcompensate the day before
The day before I decide to have a no spend day, I find myself overcompensating by thinking of anything and everything I could possibly want to buy the next day – from bread to new clothes…and I panic buy them the day before! You would think I would be more disciplined by now, but I am not. Telling myself that I am having a no spend day just doesn't work for me.
This isn't to say that I don't have no spend days – I probably have between 15 – 20 no spend days every month, but I don't set them as a goal because I would only be setting myself up to fail and actually spending more money in the long run.
What about you? Do you set yourself no spend day goals?