The February No Spend Challenge


I've been so lazy in December and January. Call it business depression or a midwinter slump, whatever the reason, I'm in a funk. I was feeling so burnt out that I dropped everything and ran to the beach for a couple of days just to feel like I had a grip on my sanity. (You can keep up with me and all those adventures on my instagram.)

You know what else is great for shaking up a run-down rut? A 30 day challenge. My Favorite!

What's the challenge for February, you ask? Well it goes hand in hand with quickly building up your savings and tackling your goals for the new year.

29 Attempts at a No Spend Day

What's a no spend day, you ask? It's basically a day where you don't use your debit card, cash, go to the store, or buy anything online.

You're spending nothing.

And the challenge of February is to have as many of them as you possibly can.

You can have exclusions for groceries, bills, and gas, but that's it. Sure, spend if you want, but you won't win the challenge. We're already technically cheating because February is a shorter month than most, but you know what? That makes it the PERFECT time to attempt something like this.

I've been having a hard time getting back into the swing of things after the holiday season. January, in my opinion, has always been kind of a BS month. But February is good; you can see Spring around the corner, and the coldest month of the year is behind us.

It's a time for optimism! And for challenging ourselves.

But I Don't Want to Do It Alone

What's different about this challenge is I want to involve all of you. I had many of you interested in the 30 day no-eating out challenge and in the TV challenge, but this is something we can all easily do together.

Want to get in? Just sign up here in the Google Doc. [NOTE: This contest is now closed]

I'm not going to publicly shame you or anything. But I will get your email and when the challenge is over ask you to (honestly) reveal how many no spend days you had in the month of February. Remember- grocery runs, paying bills, and gas days still count as NSD's, but everything else doesn't. I mean, you have to live, keep the lights on, and drive to work so there isn't any way around those expenses (although if you have ideas about that, I'm all ears. Tell me in the comments.) We're getting down to the bare minimum here, folks.

The winner gets a $15 Starbucks gift card. And remember, you're playing against me, and mama needs her latte.  I think I can easy do 25 No Spend Days in February. (oh my god did I just commit to 25 f*cking no spend days?) So, aim for that. If you beat me, I'll happily hand it over.

Tips for a No Spend Challenge

I've attempted a few no spend challenges a handful of time in the four years I've been running this blog. I did one when I very first started out that was laughable because I was spending every day. A total fail. I also did three of them in a row when I was doing my $8k in 90 days challenge, which was a lot more successful.

Here are a few tips I've learned.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Sure, you can say on January 31st you're going to take the February No Spend Challenge and I'll admire you for it, but you'll likely be less successful than others who planned for the event ahead of time.

Take a look at your toiletries, your paper goods, your dog's medicine. You NEED all of those things and you'll have to sacrifice a no spend day to go get them since they're not groceries, gas, or bills. So pad your month a little bit by going out and preemptively buying anything you think you may run out of in the next month.

Clear your calendar.

Yeah, this isn't fun. And I'm not saying you can't go out. I'm just saying if you do, that's a spend day, not a no spend day. Even if you planned for it and put it on the calendar, it still counts. Use this time to ramp up your side hustle, purge items from your home to sell, and focus on your own health and well-being. How are those resolutions from January working out? Did you abandon them? Use this time to get back on the bandwagon.

Meal Plan

I'm just now starting to do this and it's harder than I thought. But I do like this tutorial.   As well as the meal planning archives on I am THAT Lady.  Sometimes when we have nothing at home we have to eat out, which is why meal planning is crucial to a successful no spend challenge. Make sure you're not caught with your pants down.

Settle on a Mantra

How about, “I can do anything for 30 days?”

Are you ready? What do you think about the no spend challenge?

Starting from scratch or simply in need of a financial re-boot? Click here to enroll in Financial Best Life's FREE 7-Day Money Cleanse!

The biggest lessons I learned from the month long no spend challenge me and my readers did in February, plus my tips for making a no spend challenge easier.

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  • Dianna Silver
    January 31, 2016 at 12:16 am

    I am not sure how I feel about doing this. I signed up earlier this evening and now i have just found out our car is dead and will be a costly repair! time to try to find it cheaply, hopefully before February starts! I normally don’t spend a ton of money to begin with other then bills. It will be interesting though to really keep track of it and become more mindful!

    • Lauren Bee
      January 31, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      I think it’s okay to pay for the car and still participate. You NEED a car. Just like other needs like food, bills, and groceries don’t count either.

  • Flyin Teacher
    January 30, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I am so ready for this! Let’s do it! 🙂

    • Lauren Bee
      January 31, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      Can’t wait! Yes!!!

  • slackerjo
    January 30, 2016 at 9:08 am

    It’s not that hard. Pretty much every day is no spending day for me. I make a very modest living in a job I like. According to the Canadian government, I am poor, but ha ha Canadian government, I have no debt and I have savings so the joke is on you.

    I cannot agree more about planning your meals! Spend a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon cooking like crazy. I even pre make my breakfasts for the week. I listen to podcasts or an audiobook when I do it. Don’t bring money to work, 90% of the time (I’m a cash only gal) my wallet is empty. A credit card is for emergencies. A brownie is not an emergency!

    • Lauren Bee
      January 31, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      I’m just now getting really excited about meal planning and eating more meals at home. The freezer really is your BFF in these situations.

  • Michelle
    January 29, 2016 at 9:47 am

    I absolutely love doing challenges like these! I’ve done several challenges in the past and it’s AMAZING to see: what my spending trigger is in that moment, the amount you save, and the time that is freed up. Count me in.

    • Lauren Bee
      January 31, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      Can’t wait to do this with you 🙂

  • Mr. SSC
    January 29, 2016 at 8:32 am

    I am going to do this with my “allowance” money as I need to start saving for a trip this fall. I’ve also gotten pretty lax and this would be a nice correction back to my usual spend habits of “needs” more than “wants.”

    • Lauren Bee
      January 31, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      I think we all could use a gentle reminder and time to reboot. I’m ready for a February full of mindful spending.

  • April Bamburg
    January 29, 2016 at 12:46 am

    I am in.

  • Emily Zylstra
    January 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    This challenge is exactly what I was planning for in February. Very keen to formalise it, although 25 NSDs is going to be tough to beat!

    • Lauren Bee
      January 31, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      I’m not even sure I can do it, but I’ll die trying 🙂

  • Sharon
    January 25, 2016 at 10:38 am

    So glad I found you. I’m doing one too! Misery loves company, right? Good luck with yours, and I will be following you closely! 🙂

    • Lauren Bee
      January 25, 2016 at 10:10 pm

      Thanks- let’s keep one another motivated.

  • Stefanie OConnell
    January 25, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Meals and metro cards (since I do pay per ride) would totally bust me.

  • Christina Scalera
    January 22, 2016 at 8:03 pm


  • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde
    January 22, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I’m not doing a no spend challenge, but I’m glad you’ve found a way to get out of your slump. I’ve been in one too. Ugh!

    • Lauren Bee
      January 25, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      I think it’s the winter, truly. At least you get to have fun in the snow.

  • Giulia Lombardo
    January 22, 2016 at 11:45 am

    It sounds a very good idea for someone is trying to save hard, well I am going to have something similar haveing only low cost espenses:P

    • Lauren Bee
      January 25, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      Let me know how you’re doing!

  • Money Beagle
    January 22, 2016 at 9:39 am

    I’ve never jumped in one of these challenges, and I probably won’t on this, though I’d really love to follow and track how others do. My hesitation has to do with the fact that I think a lot of no-spend challenges end up simply shifting spending around. I guess that’s dependent on the person or family, but if you minimize your discretionary spending to begin with, you may not cut much, but instead will just buy it at a later time.
    I’d love to be proven wrong so I’ll keep an eye out on follow up posts. If nothing else, it sounds like a good challenge, and those can be very fun and engaging.

    • Lauren Bee
      January 25, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      I see your point. For me the purpose of the “no spend challenge” is to significantly cut back on my discretionary spending so I can funnel that cash to other places. It’s also fun to see how much you can live without and if you feel it. Being mindful takes practice!

  • Vanessa
    January 22, 2016 at 8:44 am

    I like the idea of a no spend month, but I don’t like the idea of “stocking up” in January on things you might run out of, it seems to defeat the purpose. Planning, sure, but don’t go and blow a bunch of money so you can have more junk sitting around that you MIGHT need, try to plan it out.

    Why not make it a minimalist thing too and say: in February, I will need toothpaste, I will put 1 tube of toothpaste on my “allowed to buy list” when it runs out. Then for other toiletries, like shampoo or moisturizer, you might run out of it, but maybe you can think to yourself, “oh I’ll run out of shampoo, but maybe I can use those little bottles I’ve been collecting for 5 years from hotels instead thinking one day I’d use them, but never have. I’ll use the moisturizer sample I got at Sephora or one of the bottles I’ve got that is 3/4 used…”

    I tried to do one this month and it worked out well for not buying unnecessary things and using up stuff I have lying around because I also have been doing a decluttering challenge.

    • Lauren Bee
      January 25, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      That’s great. I’m not suggesting you spend on what you don’t need, but if you end up having an expense (for example, my puppy Roo’s medicine) and know it’s coming up in February and you have to have it; I suggest getting it in January so you can still claim the NSD. Great advice!

  • J. Money
    January 21, 2016 at 4:52 pm


    It’s one of the very first things I ever did when first paying attention to my money and I swear it’s helped me save $200/mo ever since… I never knew how much I shopped out of pure boredom! This is a MUST for all!

    • Lauren Bee
      January 25, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks. I agree- it can be great to go back to basics. <3