5 Ways to Break Spending Habits For a No-Buy Challenge

Shireen Fitzgerald
by Shireen Fitzgerald

What’s a no-buy challenge, you ask?

Well, the goal of this challenge is simple, you refrain from spending money on non-essential items for a period of time. Besides being a personal growth challenge, it will also positively impact your financial situation and help control your spending habits.

Now as simple as this sounds, people often fail. Things come up that they never accounted for, and they slowly find themselves borrowing back the money they saved. But don’t give up, learn from those mistakes and plan better for next time.

I'm here today to share five tips that will help you break any bad habits you may pick up during this challenge.

1. Think differently

My first suggestion would be to think outside the box! Rather than setting yourself the most obvious rule, such as not buying take-out or eating out at restaurants, think differently.

What do I mean by this? A simple example is to downgrade anything that you need to buy like cleaning products or toiletries. You might have an expensive face cream that you love and believe you cannot live without, but the truth is just because the item is expensive, doesn’t make it the best. There are plenty of options available that are just as good at a much better price.

A second example is when you buy cleaning products. Instead of automatically reaching for your usual detergents, take the time to browse the aisle to find less expensive items that do the same job, or start a fun new hobby and make your own natural cleaning products.

You might think this idea is crazy, but you may end up liking something a lot more than you thought you would.

Stop bad spending habits

2. Hard-wired habits

Every person has a habit that is hard-wired to enjoyment and if you give it up, it makes you feel like you are missing out. I have the habit of buying coffee every day. I love it and it would be extremely difficult to let it go.

To avoid feeling like you are being punished, it is best to eliminate something else rather than the thing you most enjoy. This way, you do not feel penalized and are more likely to complete the challenge.

When I used to go for coffee, I would always get a piece of cake on the side, however, when doing a no-buy challenge I had to choose between the coffee or cake, and I knew my coffee was the thing I had to have. Now, I know I can go for a coffee and enjoy my time at the café while still saving by not buying that piece of cake.

Think carefully when setting rules for the challenge and make sure it fits in with your lifestyle so that you can start building good spending habits.

3. Choose an easier option

If you would like to know how to control your spending habits when starting your no-buy challenge, my suggestion would be to set goals that are easier.

When you begin, stick to the rules that are not going to make life difficult. Perhaps you could save petrol by not using the car on the weekend or instead of getting a home delivery go out and pick up the item yourself.

At first, it might be overwhelming, and you may think it will be impossible but again, you might be surprised to see how easy it was and with that feel better about continuing the challenge.

Good spending habits

4. Transfer Later

It’s quite exciting to see that extra cash in your account, all you want to do is put it into your savings and feel accomplished. We unfortunately never know what the next day holds, and you may need to spend a little extra on something you didn’t plan for.

So, what ends up happening is that you draw that money back out of your savings which leaves you feeling defeated. Instead of consistently adding money into your savings rather set yourself a time frame of when you are going to deposit money into that account. I think every fortnight works well.

Allow yourself to spend on the essentials and then at the end of the two weeks move the money you have accumulated into your savings account. This way you won’t be borrowing back from the money you previously saved.

Be conscious of how you are spending so that you can ensure that after your 2 weeks, you will have money to move over to savings.

How to control spending habits

5. Stop and review the habit

I think what often happens with this challenge is that people start sabotaging themselves and believing the no-buy challenge can’t fit in with their lifestyle.

There is always a way to save money that will suit your situation, you just need to take the time to think about it and plan properly. An extremely social person will not be able to stick to the rule of not eating out in restaurants as a big part of their life is taken away.

These rules need to be reassessed to determine if they are right for your way of life. The challenge isn’t about punishing yourself, it is about growing, being mindful, and saving as much as you can.

Don’t make things harder than they need to be. If you need a new shirt because the ones in your closet are old and worn out, go out and get one but be mindful of what you are purchasing.

A designer shirt might be your go-to choice for quality and trendiness but when you are trying to complete this challenge the better option is to buy a no-name brand that still meets your requirements and fits within your budget.

The idea is to stop and think about what you are going to spend and decide if there are better more affordable options, or if there is a real need to buy the item in the first place. This will make you more aware of what you do and what the consequences of those actions are.

Spending habits to break for a no-buy challenge

I really hope these tips help you control your spending habits when you are on your no-buy challenge. Comment down below if you have any other tips to share. See you next time!

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 1 comment
  • Sha58546319 Sha58546319 on Nov 23, 2022

    I like to write in my journal when I've resisted the urge to splurge...giving myself a pat on the back, and telling myself I'm proud of my restraint