How to Do a No-Spend January Challenge & Save Money in the New Year

Cassandra Smet
by Cassandra Smet

No Spend January is something that I participate in, or I have participated in every year for the last couple of years. No Spend January is pretty much what it sounds like. It's making an effort to spend no money in January or as little money as possible.

What No Spend January is

When I've talked about No Spend January in the past, people are always like, I can't do that. I still have to pay bills. Yes, of course, you'll still be paying your bills.

You'll still be buying food if that's how you want to head into No Spend January. I know many people who will just eat from their pantry shelves and what they have in their freezers and do a pantry-freezer challenge to clean things out at the beginning of the year.

What I like about No Spend January the most is that you make the rules. You can be as strict with yourself or as lenient with yourself as you want. So really, it's kind of exactly however you want to do it.

Have a goal

I like to head into No Spend January with a goal in mind. What am I saving this money for? This is the first year I don't have a definitive answer on what I want to do with any money we can save.

I think for this January, we're just going to take whatever money we can save and tuck it into savings for later in the year or a family vacation or putting an orchard in on the property here.

So, for now, we're just going to take that money, stick it in our savings, and save it for something we come up with.

No Spend January

Why I love No Spend January

I love No Spend January personally because towards the end of the year, like the last five months of the year, I feel like we spend money

a lot more quickly than we do the first half of the year.

Starting with back-to-school shopping in August and September, our kids have birthdays in September, October, and December, and we have a January baby.

So we're buying Christmas presents, and we're buying birthday presents. I feel like we just spend a lot more money toward the end of the year. We get into that habit of spending more than we typically would.

So heading into January, just for the new year, it's a great mental reset, and asking myself before every purchase, is this something I actually need? Is this a good deal? Or whatever you need to correct your thinking after coming out of the Christmas season.

My rules for No Spend January

It's that mental reset and getting back into the habit of saving or just thinking about purchases a little bit more thoroughly before making them.

Personally, for me, my rules for No Spend January are to think before every purchase. I will not tell myself that I can't buy anything. I've done that in the past where I've been like, okay, we're not doing fast food.

Have to save money

I'm not going to get coffee through drive-throughs or anything like that throughout the month. Not that we do that a lot anyways, but just cutting it out entirely, and I'm not going to be buying absolutely anything.

I've been super strict with myself in the past, and while it's worked, it's made it kind of miserable and not that great of an experience for me. So this year, I'm still going to allow myself one drive-through, coffee, or whatever happens to be some sort of fast food option.

Just once throughout the month, especially with a newborn, that little iced coffee might be something I need to get myself through the day mentally.

I also allow myself to buy things if I'm walking through Walmart and seeing those after Christmas sales. Something that's just a stellar deal, but it also has to be something I actually need.

I don't want to buy just anything that I want. It needs to be something I've been needing or know I'm going to need soon. It's a purchase that I thought about, a purchase that I thought through from beginning to end, and I know it's something that I'm actually going to be using heading into 2023.

So those are my rules personally for me heading into January. As I said, you can make your rules however you want.

Spending money online

Eating from your freezer and pantry

I always try to eat out of my freezer and my pantries first. That's not something that will change for me, but that's also something I will be thinking about while making my meal plan for January.

Many people on YouTube and Instagram do a No Spend January, and they are inspiring as you're trying to do it yourself. I love to hear that people are paying off their debts with money they've saved by not spending in January.

So we'll see what happens with our No Spend January journey. In the past, we have used our No Spend January money to pay off some debt or make an extra car payment, make an extra payment on the mortgage, or things like that. So we'll see what happens this year.

No Spend January

Start the year by getting your finances in great shape! If you are participating in No Spend in January, comment below. I wish you luck on your no-spending journey through January.

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