7 Day No Spend Challenge (Printable) — Minimize My Mess (2024)

Written By Ema Hidlebaugh

Do you ever feel like you’re never going to turn your money problems around?

Maybe part of you really wants to be responsible, but the other part doesn’t want to deprive yourself of enjoying life.

Why not compromise!

A no spend week (aka zero spend week) is my favourite type of no spend challenge because it’s so easy but has huge returns for your bank account, money mindset, and self esteem.

7 Day No Spend Challenge (Printable) — Minimize My Mess (1)

First things first, I am NOT a financial professional and this is not financial advice - I’m just a sharing what works well for our family.

We had been trying to sort out our finances for ages, but everything came together when we added a monthly no spend week in to the mix.

We are now debt free (years earlier than we budgeted for), have our 6 month emergency fund saved, and are learning how to invest.

You know, like actual adults - lol!

And trust me, we never thought we’d get to this point.

It doesn’t need to feel overwhelming or unobtainable, I’ll explain the three easy rules of a zero spend week, and give you some ideas on how you can tweak it for your family.

What is a no spend week?

A monthly no spend week is one of my top tips for saving money!

Huge benefits for minimum effort.

As a lazy minimalist, I am obsessed with cutting corners and finding the simplest ways to do things.

…And it doesn’t get much easier than this!

During a no spend week, you make sure your basic essentials are covered, and don’t spend any extra money.

We put any money that we would normally have spent during zero spend week towards debt payment/savings.

What are the benefits of a no spend week?

  • Easy to remember - we always do 1st to 7th of every month

  • A week is long enough to see tangible results

  • …but short enough to be sustainable

  • It resets our spending mindset for the rest of the month

  • It teaches us how to say no to spending

  • Reduces impulse buys

  • It adds up quickly tough it out for a few days a month and then all of a sudden you’ve gone without spending money for 23% of the year!!

  • Flexible you’re the boss of you, take our “rules” and tweak them however you need for you and your family

  • Get out of debt quicker

  • Save money faster

  • Boost your financial self esteem

Why a no spend week …why not a no spend month?

For us, a zero spend week is long enough to have positive effects, but short enough to be doable.

We tried a no spend month but it had the complete opposite effect for us!

We white knuckled it through 23 days of no spending, but were miserable and cranky the whole time (okay… Sean was chill, I was cranky).

The scarcity mindset kicked in and one small slip turned into a spending frenzy.

We ended up spending $941 MORE during our zero spend month than we usually do.

How much will I save by doing a no spend week?

That depends on your rules and how much you usually spend in a week.

Sean & I withdraw $80 each, every week for discretionary spending (his usually goes to lunches and mine usually goes to the thrift store and snackies)

$80 x 2 of us = $160

$160 x 12 no spend weeks = $1920 saved a year

…Let’s just round that baby up for dramatic effect

We save $2000 a year from doing a no spend week every month!

I’d say that’s actually a conservative estimate, because no spend week has SUCH a positive knock on effect on our spending for the rest of the month too.

How to have a no spend week: Our 3 simple rules

We keep it simple!

It’s actually just one rule, with three exceptions:

No spending other than:

  1. Groceries

  2. Gas

  3. Bills

All of our bills are automated so we don’t even have to think about that one.

We do one grocery shop a week, with a budget of $200 $280 (thanks inflation), so nothing changes there.

We share a car and try to walk wherever possible, but if it needs to be filled during no spend week, we don’t sweat it.

Other than that, we don’t spend unless we really have to.

We sometimes have to make an exception for diapers, or other essentials for baby girl, but that’s ok - we aim for progress rather than perfection.

Full transparency …there was also a mini egg “emergency” during easter no spend week, and that’s ok too :)

@minimizemymess Monthly no spend week from 1st-7th of every month. Blog post 11 for more #savinghacks #nospendweek #nospendchallenge #moneyhack ♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) - Danilo Stankovic

Tips for your no spend week

These rules make sense for us, but do whatever works best for you and your family

7 Day No Spend Challenge (Printable) — Minimize My Mess (4)

  • It was weird at first but now we are very open about it. If a friend wants to meet for brunch in the first week of the month, I’ll either postpone or suggest a walk instead.

  • If a week feels too much, try just one day for the first month. Then eventually build it up to a week by an extra day or two each month.

  • I find the weekends the hardest so now we make sure that we have fun, free things planned. I keep a list of free activities on my phone for inspiration.

  • On the flip side, we take advantage of not having plans to be productive. We plan a deep clean on the first weekend of every month (…keep in mind that I class a deep clean as anything over and above a quick baby wipe wipe down)

  • Be intentionalWhat was harder than you thought? What was easier than you thought? No spend weeks are a great learning opportunity about our spending habits. There are lots of easy little things you can do to be more intentional with your spending.

  • Be kind to yourself. I believe that money is much more entwined with our emotions than we realize. Chatting with a professional will be a really positive step if this brings up any difficult emotions.

  • If you slip up, that’s ok. Try to stick with it and not let it snowball in to more and more spending. We’re going for progress, not perfection.

  • Celebrate your wins! Money is a tricky trickster to tackle, even small wins should make you feel like a million bucks. You got this!

7 Day No Spend Challenge (Printable) — Minimize My Mess (5)

How to level up your no spend week

If you’re an eager beaver and want to make your no spend week even more profitable, here are some suggestions:

  • Skip the groceries! We are little piggies so there’s not a crumb to be seen by the time we do our grocery shop. But if your pantry and freezer are jam-packed, you could challenge yourself to create meals from what you already have.

  • Go green! If it’s realistic for you, you could skip the car or public transport for the week and car share, walk or bike instead.

  • Make a point to make extra money that week! Sell on facebook marketplace (tips on selling here), take clothes to a consignment store, get a side job (sign up for a food delivery service, freelance, do data entry, etc.), design a digital product you can sell, pet/house/baby sit, etc.

I’m too lazy to do any of these and have still seen huge benefits, so don’t feel disheartened if a no spend week feels like enough of a challenge right now :)


If you need to inject some sanity into your bank account, a no spend week is a pretty painless place to start.

If you’re not feeling ready, then that’s ok too - file this away for when future you feels up to it.

Either way, I would recommend finding some inspirational financial accounts to follow.

I feel like having a few money related posts in my feed has a huge knock on effect for my money mindset.

My learning by osmosis is especially fun with Her First 100k (@HerFirst100k on IG) & Money After Grad (@BridgieCasey on IG. Bonus: Canadian content!)

Two of my favourite other ways to save money are to buy amazing gifts secondhand, and to reduce how much I buy online.

Let me know how you get on, I can’t wait to hear all about it!

Further reading:

  • Personal goals for more joy in your life

  • How to start decluttering when you feel overwhelmed

  • How to make the most of a small kitchen

  • What to do with an expensive gift that you don’t want

  • 76 surprising benefits of minimalism

  • Don’t forget to include these essentials in your capsule wardrobe

7 Day No Spend Challenge (Printable) — Minimize My Mess (6)

7 Day No Spend Challenge (Printable) — Minimize My Mess (7)

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7 Day No Spend Challenge (Printable) — Minimize My Mess (2024)
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