On A Budget? Have a Fun No-Spend Weekend!

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Sometimes it’s necessary to stop spending money for a few days. Crazy, I know! No-spend weekends are especially helpful if you’re in the midst of a budget crunch, and you need to stretch a paycheck out until the end of the month. Or, maybe you’re just trying to practice some discipline, especially if you’ve got a savings goals. It’s like an intermittent faster who is trying to slim down. But who really has time for that?

If you can relate to the above scenarios, here’s what you need to know about attempting a no-spend weekend.

What is a No-Spend Weekend?

A no-spend weekend is just what it sounds like: a weekend where you spend nothing — not from your wallet, bank account, checkbook or credit card. During this time, you are only be allowed to use the things that you’ve already paid for like Netflix, groceries, gas and utilities.

Ground Rules to Follow on a No-Spend Weekend

Moolanomy has some foundational rules to follow when going no-spend for that 60-hour stretch from Friday evening to Monday morning:

  • It needs to be somewhat spontaneous: If you plan this weekend, say, four weeks out, you’ll be tempted to stock up on supplies and thus overspend on the front end. That defeats the whole purpose.
  • Everyone in the house should get on board: This is tough if you have roommates or small children, but having a partner in crime for the weekend builds in a little accountability and makes the whole exercise more fun.
  • Don’t start blowing money on Monday: This is the flip side to the spontaneity rule. If you try to reward your thriftiness by spending after the fact, you will have missed the whole point.
  • A no-spend weekday might make more sense for you: If you do not spend a lot during the weekend, you should identify other days that your wallet is hit hard. That would be the most appropriate time to have spend-free days in order to have the most impact on your savings.

What to Do During a No-Spend Weekend

If your normal weekend routine involves going out with friends, switching to no-spend mode can be tricky. Start by thinking of ways to get your friends to come to you: Maybe you can do a game night or a movie night at your place. Or, you can catch up with friends you see less often by giving them a call or FaceTiming someone who’s far away.

Also, opting out of spending has additional benefits for anyone who likes to be active (or would like to be). You can go outside for a run, walk or a bike ride for free. That’s two birds with one stone. And if the weather isn’t great, take this time to build an everyday exercise routine — even getting in the habit of 10 push ups in the morning plus 5 minutes of meditation will do wonders.

You can also take advantage of the local museums, parks or whatever great free attractions your city has. Bring your own drinks and snacks to avoid the temptation of buying them while out there.

By the way, if you’ve convinced someone to join you on the no-spend weekend journey, it’s worth sitting down in advance and making a plan. You don’t have to account for every minute of the weekend in your itinerary, but make enough plans so that neither of you gets bored and lapses into spending mode. No matter what, for your no-spend weekend to be successful, it is important for you to be well-prepared. Plan a few days in advance to make sure the necessities like groceries, gas for your vehicle and food are available.

Then, once you get a few weekends like this under your belt, you might be able to institute regular no-spend rules. Your bank account will be grateful.



Casey Meehan writes about personal finance and investment strategies at StockHax.com. He’s also a musician and business owner. You can find him on Twitter at @epicpresence.

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