Are you fooling yourself into thinking that your “no spend days” are actually improving your finances? You might be.
All over the internet, people are posting their “no spend days” and challenges. But is it really doing them any good in the long run?
What is a “no spend day”?
A “no spend day” is a day when you don’t spend ANY money.
Simple and easy to determine, right?
If you don’t go out and buy stuff, but save money or invest money that day, are you still spending money? Yep.
The allure of “no spend days”
In theory, if you’re trying to reduce your spending, then “no spend days” will help you get there. I myself was fooled by the idea of “no spend days” a while back, I figured if I had a lot of “no spend days”, then I was doing better financially. I wasn’t.
Sure your weekly spending looks much better with lots of no spend days in it, but it might not really make a difference to your finances.
Why “no spend days” can fool people
If you assume you’re doing great just because you have some “no spend days”, then you just might be fooling yourself. It doesn’t really matter if you have 5 “no spend days” each week, if you’re not actually spending less money overall.
It’s not difficult to shove a week’s worth of spending into a couple of days, I do it all the time since we only have one car. The only way to actually benefit from “no spend days” is to not spend that money at all, not even on a different day.
How to know you’re not being fooled
The easiest way to know for sure that you’re not being fooled by “no spend days”, is to track your spending. If you normally spend $600 a week for everything, then you can tell if that amount is changing in relation to your “no spend days”.
If you’re still spending the same amount as usual, but have 4 “no spend days” every week, then you’re just fooling yourself if you believe you’re spending less.
Another way to know if you’re being fooled, is to check out your savings and investment (including retirement) accounts. Are they growing as your “no spend days” are increasing? If they are, then you must be contributing more to them because you are spending less money.
How to benefit from deliberate “no spend days”
You could immediately put that money into your savings account or into an investment account. Dollar for dollar what you would have spent. That way, you can watch your savings grow.
You could also create a sub account for ”no spend days” to really see how much you’re benefiting from not spending on those days.
Don’t spend the money on another day, meaning don’t shove all your spending into a few days to fool yourself.
Pay attention to what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. It’s your money, it’s not going to manage itself.
Note: I mention “no spend days” in my weekly spending posts, but not because I’m proud of myself and actually think I’m improving our finances. I only do it because I didn’t buy anything that day (I don’t count investing and saving though) and don’t want to have missing information in my posts or confuse anybody.
What do you think about “no spend days”?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/daviddmuir/2125697998/