PF Confession: Thoughts on “No Spend Days”

I first heard of “No Spend Days” from reading various pf bloggers’ spending recaps.  The idea never occurred to me before, as I think I spend on an as-needed basis, and I analyze my monthly overall spending, anyway.  But I was curious, and decided to actually track how many days I didn’t spend money.

In March, I had a whopping 4 days of no spending.  And this April, I started to be even more mindful.  In April, I had 9 days of no spending.  Here are some of my thoughts about tracking my no spend days.

No spend day “high”

For some reason, now that I started tracking, having a day without any spending gives me a little “high”.  It makes me think twice about buying little things that could “ruin” my no spend day streak.  Silly?  Probably.

This one is probably sillier, but I get a little upset when I end up spending money on a day that I thought would be a “No spend day”.  For instance, last week when I didn’t make enough left overs, I grouchily forked over $4 for a Timmies sandwich for lunch.  (I get upset when I have to buy lunch anytime it’s not a social thing, but this felt like a double whammy.)

Spending promotes more spending

I’m not sure if I did this before my “No spend days” tracking, but whenever I spend money, I feel it’s almost okay to spend more.

For instance, last Wednesday, I picked up some coffee beans as a gift to our admin assistant for Administration day.  At the check out, I grabbed a spinach boreka for breakfast.  Sure, the boreka was only $1.50, but if I hadn’t gone in to buy the coffee beans, I would not have gone in just for the boreka.

The Big Picture is More Important

Sure, it’s kinda fun for me to play the “game” and challenging myself to see how many “No spend days” I can get in a month, but at the end of the day, it’s the big picture that matters for me.

I can spend $120 a day on a facial, and $0.80 the next day on some pastries – they both count as spending days.  But there is a world of difference.  Getting that sense of “high’ from a no spend day does not automatically mean less spending.  In fact, it can almost give me a false sense of accomplishment.  No spend days on their own is not enough, they must be combined with regularly checking and updating my budget.

Note: I’ve just updated my April spending and even though I have more “No spend days”, I have not decreased my overall spending…. le sigh.  

What are your thoughts on “No Spend Days”?  Do you track your days of no spending, or is it about the big picture for you, too?



Filed under Budget, PF Confession

18 responses to “PF Confession: Thoughts on “No Spend Days”

  1. I find no spend days work when its the mindless spending you’re trying to avoid (like a 3pm chocolate bar). That being said, if you’re putting off legitimate purchases just for the sake of having a no spend day, you risk pushing yourself into a feast or famine mentality. I’m already trying to break out of that mentality as it is, so I’ve stopped tracking my no spend days.

    You’re 100% bang on with the spending promotes more spending though. I’ve been guilty of that one on more than a couple occasions.

    • I think I’m going to stop tracking my “no spend days”. Although it’s a good exercise, I take it too much to heart, and feel like I “failed” if I spent money. Which isn’t healthy, or helpful. I’m so silly, sometimes.

  2. Kay

    I’ve been two minds about no spend days.

    It seems good at first. But then it sounds so much like dieting.. If I make it a way of life, I’m bound to get more success out of it. But if I’m going to count how many days I’ve follwoed my diet and not, then once I break it, I’m bound to binge on junk food..

    When I have specifi spend days – I might end up spending more considering I’ve been good on no-spending days..

    Not sure if I want to do that. I guess I don’t believe in setting myself up for failure. Will stick to allocating certain amount of fun money/ adult allowance / whatever you call it for a month, stretch it to span the month and when it’s gone, its gone. I find that works for ‘me’. It’s 100 bucks a month and that covers my clothes and DD’s or something of an impulse buy that I want to buy for the house. Not essential.. Then it comes out of fun money.

  3. Kay

    I also meant to say – lunch out with office colleagues / cafetaria lunch, snacks if at all i buy any.. all come out of that fun money as well.

  4. I do the no spend days thing just as a mental exercise. I know it doesn’t really decrease my overall spending BUT it does make me more mindful. 🙂

  5. I can absolute relate to everything that you have wrote. I also get a high from those no spend days and it just makes me want to see how much more days I can get out of the month without spending.

  6. I have been doing no spend days because I find that it cuts out the small spending like a coffee or candy bar. It doesn’t work for planned or big purchases.

  7. I figure if I don’t go into a place then I can’t be tempted to spend. I have more and more no spend days but usually it’s because I do the bulk of my shopping/running around on the weekends. I recently went into winners to get a full length mirror….I was completely drawn into all the clothes and displays. I hadn’t realized the pull of consumerism; it’s like a drug.

  8. I track my No Spend days as part of my Weekly Spending Reports. I also found that I spend more on days that I “allowed” myself to spend money.

    So, I gave myself a challenge in April to have 15 No Spend Days (50% of the month). I did pretty well with 13 No Spend Days but I still ended up overspending my budget by $225!

    In May I have no specific No Spend Days goal and I have noticed that I maybe only have 1-2 No Spends in the week now but the majority of the days have less than $10 worth of spending.

    So, I guess I’m of the 2 minds about No Spends as well. Let’s see how I do when I get my end of month May numbers and that may get me to rethink No Spend Days.

    • After tracking my “No spend days”, I realize that it’s not as helpful to me, and it does get me down when I spend money, even if it’s on legit and non-frivolous things. I think I’d rather not be so hard on myself and “punish” or feel guilty about my purchases – esspecially when it doesn’t really affect my overall spending

  9. I track no spending days weekly. I find it helps me resist the urge to wander around the shops when I’m bored at lunch or on the weekends. I have noticed a decrease in my discretionary spending since I started tracking because I’m not picking up a random stuff that just happens to catch my eye.

    • I think that’s a great reason to track “no spend days”. Fortunately, I don’t wander anywhere for lunch or weekends where I am tempted to buy.

      I haven’t noticed a decrease (in fact, an increase) in my overall spending because I tend to “over indulge” or spend more freely on non “no spend days”. Weird, huh?

  10. interesting approach. i was never aware that 20-somethings would track monthly spending so attentively. you must have a solid income. i track habits, which are inevitably connected to spending. but its not the money i concentrate on – instead, the act is the focus of my attention. seems much more real that money, at least to me, as i’m, therefore, inclined to be more conscious about my mind and how it works (and tries to trick me, sometimes).

    i think tracking whatever is a good practice as it tends to separate people from the crowd, and makes apparent the behavioral patterns that fill our day-to-day lives. as far as failure is concerned….that’s probably the hardest thing to comment on regarding the above post. failure should never come from within, but its brought upon citizens fro without…which is to say failure is a tool of the Man, so to speak, to keep us nice and anxious towards others. in every “failure” is a lesson, and the better we become at learning those lessons the better off we are functioning alongside the Man. sorry about the cliches, but i wanted to be brief, as you’ve touched on a very contemporary subject.

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