I've heard a few bloggers ask what the point of no spend days are. Why do we love them? Where's the value in a no spend day if you just shuffle spending from day to day? Do no-spend days really help you save money, or do they transfer spending to a different day, rendering them useless?
I think no-spend days can help you save money, depending on what type of spender you are.
The Daily Spender
If you are like me and spend daily on lunch out and chocolate from a vending machine, a no spend challenge can be very beneficial. Some people challenge themselves to no spend days a few times a week.
For me, a no spend day challenge that challenges me not to spend any money for three of the seven days of the week would save me anywhere between $5-10 per day. Usually that’s $5 for lunch, followed by another $1-5 for parking (when I could just park farther away and walk) or a snack (usually chocolate).
But for arguments sake, lets just say it’s $5/day, meaning $15/week for the challenge I’ve outlined above.
After a month, assuming four weeks, I’d have saved about $60.
If I put that money, at $25, into my retirement account, by the time I was 65 and ready to retire, the no spend day savings from just the one month if I completed the challenge successfully would generate compound interest, leaving me with $288 – a 6x + return.
That’s pretty awesome. And that’s just one month.
If, as a daily spender, I challenged myself to 6 months of this – or every second month – that would increase significantly. Clearly, no spend days work for saving the daily spender money.
Why They Don’t Work
No spend day challenges will never work in saving people money if they don’t have a problem with little, unnecessary day-to-day purchases.
No spend days don’t work for people who push the purchases they’d normally make back just to have a no spend day. For instance, while I do love seeing the “no spend day!” on my spending report on Sunday, it doesn’t help anything if I just delay going to the grocery store or paying my phone bill one day because I want to see that.
Therefore, no spend days really only work for one or two kinds of spenders – the daily and the impulse spender (I’m both).
What kind of spender are you? Do you find that no spend days help you spend less, or do they just make you shuffle your spending around?