Don’t Be Fooled By “No Spend Days”

no spend daysAre 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”?



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About Jen Perkins

Likes: saving money, being debt free (aside from our house), zombies, travel, getting money, blogging and dogs. Dislikes: debt, being broke, bunnies, wasting money, not having enough money to travel the world and paying interest. Facebook  ♥  Twitter  ♥  Google+  ♥  RSS


Don’t Be Fooled By “No Spend Days” — 30 Comments

  1. I’m 100% with you. I don’t put much faith in them because in most cases you’re just delaying the spending you would be doing regardless. Look at food: Yes, you can avoid spending money for a week or two on food, eating up all the food in your pantry and freezer, but eventually you’ll need food…and you’ll want to re-stock your freezer and pantry again as well.
    Money Beagle recently posted..Why Aren’t People Talking About These Early Mortgage Payoff Considerations?My Profile

  2. As Stephanie mentioned, I think it depends on the type of shopper you are. If your problem is stuff like clothes shopping, you likely won’t benefit much from no spend days since you’ll probably balance it out on other days. I think it helps more with the people who end up buying $5 lattes and fast food everyday unless they have something like no spend days to keep them accountable.
    Modest Money recently posted..Guilt Induced FrugalityMy Profile

  3. Great, great point! I’ve never practiced them myself, but I feel like the whole idea of depriving yourself for one day may just lead to going on a shopping spree the next. We have accidental no-spend days, but that’s about as far as we go.
    femmefrugality recently posted..Is Your Money in the Stars?My Profile

  4. I don’t actually try for no spend days-if they happen, it’s great and I’ll report them. This last few weeks I’ve been spending more money but I notice that for the most part it was budgeted for or planned. That’s what I really care about-if I’m spending money is out of a fund that was set aside for that? (Like Christmas or date night)
    bogofdebt recently posted..Spending Recap 9/2-9/9My Profile

  5. I don’t get documenting no spend days either, at this point in my life, but when I worked downtown it may have benefited me because back then I would spend money on breakfast, lunch and parking every day. And if I had implemented no spend days, I would have been forced to have breakfast at home and bring my lunch to work, which would have saved money over the course of the month.
    Tackling Our Debt recently posted..9 Ways to Deal with Financial StressMy Profile

  6. When I first did a spending fast and even recently when I’ve had a few NSD’s I was just pooling all of the spending on certain days. But then last month when I challenged myself to have TEN in a month there were a few invitations I had to turn down in order to have the no spend days. So I did end up saving that way. I definitely think they have their benefit, but it’s a process. Thanks for the RT today!
    L Bee and the Money Tree recently posted..Five Most Common Money NightmaresMy Profile

  7. Ah, I totally know this. I’m guilty of spending more on the days I spend if I have no spend days. It’s so much more noticeable, though, when someone else tells you to take a look at yourself and make sure this isn’t what you’re doing. Though, I think the one thing that the no spend day’s do help with is conserving gas. Rather than going multiple places over many different days, going to all the places in a well organized manner can help some.
    Daphne @ Making Home Your Business recently posted..Makeup Brush Giveaway!My Profile

  8. No spend days can be great if you are truly not spending on things you don’t need. You’re right about tracking everything. That’s really how you know if you are improving your finances or not. If you spend your whole paycheck on the day you get it, you might have quite a few no spend days because you’re broke!
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..The Low Income Clinic ExperimentMy Profile

  9. “No spend” days/weeks always seem like gimmicks to me. We feel good because we didn’t actually stop at the gas station, go to the grocery store, etc. But we probably still consumed the same amount of food and burned the same amount of gasoline. If your consumption level didn’t decrease, then it’s a mirage. Spending $10 on groceries every day is the same as spending $20 every other day.
    S. B. recently posted..Investment ChecklistsMy Profile

  10. I’ve got to agree that I’m not a big fan of no spend days because whenever I put that limitation on myself, I want to spend ever more! I want what I can’t have! So I just budget and make good financial choices instead.