How No-Spend Weeks Could Save You Over $2,000 in 2023

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  • Giving up unnecessary spending for a week is a great way to save money and achieve your financial goals in 2023.
  • In addition to the money you save, a no-spend week can also reset your financial habits.
  • If you're going to adopt a regular no-spend week, look for ways to make it manageable.

No-spend weeks can be powerful money-saving tools -- as long as you keep them achievable.

I did my first no-spend week a few months ago and saved over $200. If you've never heard of this budgeting concept, the idea is to set aside a period of time -- often a weekend, a week, or even a month -- where you only spend money on essentials. It's OK to pay the rent, utility bills, and other unavoidable expenses, but the challenge is to cut out everything else. I'm not a big fan of crash diets or extreme budgeting ideas, and I was surprised to find that it not only worked but is something I want to repeat.

Here are a few ways no-spend weeks can save you money in 2023.

1. You will spend less money

Let's start with the obvious. Even if you splash out and spend more in the days before and after your no-spend week, cutting out all non-essential spending will save you money.

Let's say you usually go for a few drinks with friends at the end of the week, grab a take-away coffee on your way to work, or order takeout when you're too tired to cook. Those little luxuries can take their toll on your budget. The decision to not spend anything can be an effective way of boosting your bank account, particularly if you repeat the exercise throughout the year.

It doesn't mean you have to live like a hermit for seven days and skip everything you enjoy. Instead, you'll need to get creative. Rather than spending $5 in a coffee shop, meet friends in the park and take your own. Check local news websites and tourism information for free activities in your area -- you'd be surprised at how much is out there.

2. You will reset your spending habits

One of the things that surprised me most about my no-spend week was what happened afterwards. During the height of the pandemic, my online shopping habits had crept into unhelpful territory and the no-spend week was like doing a hard reset on my spending.

I browse online shopping sites when I am stressed and wind up buying things I don't need. The commitment to not spending meant that I found better ways to manage that stress. I walked away from my computer. I went out for walks, did yoga, and even cleaned the house rather than spending money. It was better for my body, my home, and my bank balance.

You may be reading this and thinking that online shopping is not one of your vices. Everybody is different. But you may find that taking the decision to change your habits for one week can influence what happens afterwards. Perhaps you'll learn more about your spending triggers and find better ways to handle them.

3. It teaches you what you value

I want to be more intentional about my sending in 2023. That means not wasting money on things that don't matter to me so I have more cash for things that do. My no-spend week helped me to break one unhelpful habit. On the other hand, it made me more relaxed about another type of spending. Specifically, the money I spend socializing.

Socializing is an important part of my life. I don't want my budgeting adventures to mean I let down my friends by missing their birthday parties or not showing up for important events. If I'm to do a no-spend week every month in 2023, I'll need to find some compromises. I plan to make an exception for major social events like birthday parties and other celebrations.

There's no point in doing a monthly no-spend week if it makes you miserable and you don't stick to it. Being able to save $200 every month is pretty powerful, but it has to be achievable too. For me, that means no grocery shopping, which forces my partner and I to use what's in the cupboard. It means no online shopping, no spur-of-the moment takeaways, and no impulse buys. But it doesn't have to mean skipping events that matter to me. Giving up the majority of discretionary spending for 12 weeks of the year is already enough of a challenge.

Bottom line

Depending on your spending habits, no-spend weeks could save you a decent chunk of money next year. If you're trying to build up an emergency fund, you might be able to sock that extra cash into your savings account. You could find you have more money available for debt repayments. Or perhaps you'll have an extra $200 to put into your retirement or brokerage account each month.

Whatever your financial goals, a regular no-spend week can help you achieve them in 2023. Moreover, it can also mean you break unhealthy habits and become more intentional about what you do with your money.

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