The No Buy Challenge: How to Buy Nothing to Rest & Fix Your Finances

By Sara


Last Updated: October 18, 2022



There are many different ways that you can save money.

Most people write a budget and set a certain amount toward their savings. Then, there is the more extreme way to save with a spending freeze like a “No Buy” or “Buy Nothing” challenge.

If you are a spender, these challenges can help you reset and fix your finances by making you think about your financial habits and reasons for shopping. 



What is a No Buy Challenge? 

A No Buy or Buy Nothing challenge is exactly what it sounds like.

It’s a challenge that you set yourself to not buy anything on an off-limit list. The goal of this challenge is to help people save money for a certain goal or to reset and fix their spending habits. 



What are the rules of a No Buy challenge? 

Every person will have their own rules for their No Buy challenge.

It’s good to set rules on what you consider to be permitted purchases versus off-limit purchases.

Most people allow their basic needs to be allowed during this challenge.

For example, these are okay to buy: 

  • rent
  • gas
  • groceries (within a list)
  • emergencies

However, anything that is not a basic need in your life (AKA a want) is off-limits.

This can include:

  • clothes
  • decorations
  • takeout
  • restaurants
  • movies
  • entertainment events 



Why do people do this? 

Everyone’s motivations for doing a No Buy month are unique. But most people do this challenge to save money or reset their money mindset.

Some people will do this to save for a specific goal, like a computer.

They may calculate and see if they cut out all unnecessary spending and can save up enough money in one or two months. 

For others, this challenge can help them financially and mentally.

You may not realize how much you spend on unnecessary things, but this challenge can give you insights into this.

For example, you may realize that when you’re bored, you want to go shopping to fill the time. You could also realize that when you’re very happy or sad, you shop to match your emotions.

This challenge can also help you financially challenge yourself where you live as frugally as possible. You may realize that you are happier when you spend less because you’re able to save more, which can give someone a great sense of security. 



What do you do if you buy something on your Off Limit list? 

Things happen, and the point of this challenge is to see your spending habits and how you react to not buying anything.

For example, you may have forgotten about a birthday party you were invited to, and you may need to buy a bottle of wine as a gift. This is okay to do. Make a note of any day you buy something, and keep going on with the challenge.

When you are starting with your first No Buy challenge, you probably won’t hit your goal of no spending during that time period. But the more you do this, the easier it will be. 


How do you get started on a No Buy 1 month challenge? 

You can get started on a one month No Buy challenge as soon as today or tomorrow.

To have the most success during this challenge, it’s good to write your goals and rules and how to keep track of it. 

Figure out why you want to do a No Buy month.

  • Do you have something you are saving for?
  • Do you want to reset your money mindset?

Write down your goal and if there is a certain amount you want to save, write that down too. 

Write down your rules for the month-long challenge.

  • What is on your allowed-to-buy list?
  • Is it only true necessities, or do you allow any wants?
  • What is on your prohibited-to-buy list?
  • Do you limit all unnecessary spending?
  • How do you handle an emergency cost during this month, and what is considered an emergency?

There may be rules that you didn’t account for that will come up as you do your challenge. When these come up, try to decide how this will fit into your rules.

Once you have figured out what you can and cannot buy during this month, find a way to track your No Buy month.

This will be important for you to see how many days of the month you didn’t spend and what days you did. This will give you an insight into your habits.

For example, you may notice that you spend on rainy days or that on the weekend, you go out and end up spending money. You can then draw insights into your spending.

  • Do you spend when you are bored?
  • Do you get pressured by friends to go outside of your spending limit? 



Are You Ready to Try a No Buy Challenge? 

If you have a financial goal or want to reset your finances, try out a No Buy challenge!

It will help you to flex your financial mind and cause you to be more creative during your free time and meals. If you’re always going over your budget, this could be a good time to reset and find ways to reduce your overall spending. Good luck, and let us know how it went! 

Photo by RODNAE Productions


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