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8 Tips on How to Implement A Successful No Spend Year

by Olivia Marlene 7 months ago in how to

Say no to spending even if it's on sale

8 Tips on How to Implement A Successful No Spend Year
Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash

I did successful “no spends” 3 years in a row and saved $2300.00. No one noticed. I still ate and went on with my normal life without feelings of deprivation. I just did some tricks that I will share right now.

First, let me be clear on what is a “No Spend Year.” It means not spending on “wants,” so you can still spend on food, housing, utilities, gas, and your other needs. The “other” needs may vary from one person to another. An artist needs paints and brushes, while an accountant treats them as a hobby-related expense.

If you save while tracking what you spend, how much more when you don’t spend at all?

How was I able to do it?


Here are the tips and tricks:

1. Write your rules

Only you know your needs and wants. So get a notebook and write your RULES. It must contain the items that you will not be buying for a year. It’s a challenge. Your rules will act as your contract. Put it on the first page of your journal or any visible place for a constant reminder.

2. Focus on 1–3 no spend items at a time

When I started no-spend in 2018, I only vowed not to spend on the following items:

Clothing, footwear, and bags

Parlor visits

Doing this has been easy for me as I had a closet full of clothing, enough shoes, and only alternating use of 2 favorite luxury bags. I’m sure you can also do this. I bet you have way more clothing, shoes, and bags than me.

I’m not that vain; hence, I survived the “no parlor visits.” I cleaned my nails, scrubbed my face, and tried to be natural to my mane.

In 2020, I added the following to my list:

Dining outs


After 3 months of doing the no-spend in 2020, the lockdowns started, and it supported my challenge. I cooked and baked with my kids.

As to the toiletries, I promised to use first all of my stocks, including the unopened Christmas gifts from past years. Hey, it’s 2021, and we are still using our big bottles of shampoos and liquid soaps.

2. Break the time to ease the mental pain of deprivation

Doing a "no-spend" for a year is a gargantuan task that makes you want to give up. Trick your mind and break it up into monthly goals.

Say, “this month, I can’t buy clothing and make-ups,” and you will suppress your urge to buy because of the self-talk, “only this month.” Then come to the end of the month, your desires have subsided. You realize that you never needed the make-ups after all.

3. Have a visual representation of your daily success

Get a calendar and color or check those days that you followed your no-spend plan. Put the calendar in front of your desk for motivation.

4. Join No-spend Facebook groups

Several “no-spend year” Facebook groups will encourage you not to spend. I joined a US group, and I can’t believe how frugal they can be. Every day someone will post a success story of how the no spend enabled them to clear enormous debts or save a down payment for a house. Many of them are also willing to be your accountability partners when you request.

5. Unfollow Facebook pages and unsubscribe to emails that sell the items in your no-buy list

We need no explanation for this one. Doing a no-spend means saying no to temptations. Out of sight, out of mind.

6. Tell your family and friends

Your family should be on board to be able to fully implement your no-spend plan. In my case, I promised my kids that I will put into their investment account a part of what we saved if they cooperate with me and remind me to do self-control when faced with spending on things on my “no-buy list.”

Your loyal friends will also respect that you are in a “challenge.” They won’t let you lose. Simply tell them.

7. Track your savings and put them in a special place

What’s the point of not spending when you can’t appreciate the savings? When you do your monthly budget, put your regular budget on your “no-buy” list. But instead of spending it, put it in a dedicated account. It can be a jar or a wallet that you can see every day so you can appreciate the savings while it grows. Or you can open a special savings account and electronically transfer the money.

8. Have your WHY

This is the most important of all. Have a reason for doing the no-spend. Are you saving for a house down payment? Or a kid’s college education? Write your “why” in your journal.

For me, my “why” is saving a certain amount in the shortest possible time. For someone who is poverty-stricken while growing up. Having liquid accounts gives peace of mind.

Bonus tip:

While doing no-spend, read or watch shows on minimalism. You realize that you have more than you need, and you would never want to buy again things that will just clutter your home.

This year, we maintain a “no-spend year” for dining outs, parlor visits, footwear, and bags. Sorry, I started spending $100 on pre-loved clothing because I needed some spark. I got bored with the clothing that I’ve frequently used in the last 3 years. But that’s it. I promised to curb my spending on that $100 for this year. :)


This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Not all information will be accurate. Consult a financial professional before making any significant financial decisions.


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Olivia Marlene

Member of the Legal Profession * Saving and Investing Enthusiast *Blogger * Mom * Wife

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