How To Survive A ‘Buy Nothing Day’ To Save Money

Updated: December 19, 2023

The key to surviving financially is simply spending less than you earn. Some people might say that this is easier said than done. Well, if you could put your heart and mind into it… it is easy.

If planning a monthly budget seems like a daunting task for you, then I suggest you start by doing something simple like having a Buy Nothing Day.

A Buy Nothing Day is a challenging but very effective way to save money, especially when your budget is really tight, trying to pay up some debts, or just saving up for a big purchase. Personally, doing a no-spending day allows me to tap into my internal resources and be creative with my time. How, you might say? Then, read on and find out.

What is a Buy Nothing Day?

Sometimes called a No Spending Day, it’s a day when you challenge yourself and avoid spending and buying anything within 24 hours.

You are NOT allowed to buy anything with your money and credit cards for one whole day.

How do you start a Buy Nothing Day?

If you want to take on this challenge, then all you need to do is schedule it on your calendar and plan your activities for the day. I usually do this on a Sunday, when I usually just stay at home the whole day anyway.

Go on and try it during your rest day from work to get a feel of the challenge. But also try doing it on a weekday and see if you can survive a day at the office without buying anything.

The key to a successful Buy Nothing Day is planning your day properly and having the discipline to stick to your schedule. Sort out first how you’ll be getting your meals, and then write down your planned activities in between. Although it’s perfectly okay just to sleep or watch the television all day, I suggest you be creative and do something more fun and active.

Personally, I go to my parent’s home during most of my Buy Nothing Days because there’s always food in the kitchen. I surf the internet or read a book in the morning, go to the gym in the afternoon, and watch a movie or TV series at night. In some instances, there will be a party I can go to in the evening for some free food and fun.

Does a Buy Nothing Day mean becoming a freeloader on a weekend?

Of course not. What I just told you is one of the many ways you can spend your day. You can alternatively do home-cooked meals the whole day. Then, you can clean and organize your room in the morning, work on a home project in the afternoon, and call friends to come over for a potluck party in the evening.

If I spend on groceries and other stuff the day before, I’m not saving money.

Well, that’s the initial impression, but if you think about it, having home-cooked meals is much cheaper than eating in restaurants.

And if you do your Buy Nothing Day on a weekend, then you might consider not going to the mall at all, preventing you from unnecessary spending and impulse buying.

What about doing a Buy Nothing Day on a work day?

When taking up this challenge during the week, you must bring your own food to work and say “No” to after-office activities with your mates to avoid spending.

What’s next after doing a Buy Nothing Day?

What about a Buy Nothing Week? Sounds impossible? Why not go ahead and try? Start with two days, then three, and continue until you can do a week. Be flexible and allow yourself to spend on necessities.

Remember that doing a Buy Nothing Day is more than just about saving money. It’s also about financial planning and discipline. You’ll learn about time management, goal setting, and more importantly, you’ll realize what’s really essential in your life and discover that some of the stuff you thought you needed are things you can actually do without.

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  1. have done this for quiet some time now… and guess what? I have a no spending day for 3 days in a week…. and i love it it makes me more financially secure, more liquid, and of course i learn to value money as I have valued my body, health, mind in doing my job…

  2. I was used to doing this before but not anymore. Buying nothing means I have to eat canned goods and/or instant noodles. it does not do any good for my health. BTW, hindi ako marunong magluto. hehehe

  3. @Jehzlau
    That’s why you’re gaining weight so much. Hehe.

    Yes, it’s a big sacrifice but the rewards are worth it in the end specially when you’re really tight.

    That is really amazing, I haven’t gone as far as 3 days without spending. Maybe I’ll try that one of these days. 😀

    @Millionaire Acts
    Yes, it can be hard. And the least one can really do is to minimize spending as I usually do whenever I feel the need to save.

    I agree, you cannot compromise your health, which means you really need to learn how to cook. Hehe. Anyway, I’m sure your girlfriend can bring you some food whenever you’re not on a spending mood. 😀

  4. It’s much more effective to develop a “stop spending money” mentality than to think of it as a holiday.

  5. I personally practise No Spending Day myself normally on Sundays and it works pretty well. Feels good when you do not spend at all. Anyway, i have a recent post on Learn How to Start Saving Money which is a good start for those trying in getting into the habit of saving.

  6. I am not aware that I am already practicing NO SPENDING DAY. I am keeping track of my daily expenses for how many months now and there are days wherein I haven’t spent a single centavo.

  7. i just did this today. stayed home all day, felt really guilty at first for wasting my day but now i’m real happy i managed to justify it as a no spending day and believe me, i need to save money!

  8. it’s funny reading your blog! i got a lot of ideas on saving money.. it’s very informative and helpful. thank you!

  9. I’ve done this NO SPENDING DAY, all i do is bring my lunch at work and bring a glass so I can fill it in the water fountain instead of buying a bottle water for a buck and then eat in my office surfing online during break time. the day went by very fast then i just drive home and do not stop by on groceries store.I used to stop by and spent alot then I realized all i work for the day was gone so i quit doing that habit. so far no spending day is a great idea.

  10. It’s a good idea to do that. I’m big on saving, but also earning more. You know, there is a limit to how much you can save if you are not a high wage earner. You need an extra business to work or a second job for more income as well. That helps a lot.

  11. I live by “no spending days.” I fill my tank up once every 2 weeks. I will be invesing in a bike soon so that will probably decrease to once a month. If I expect my day to be long, I pack snacks, meals and a water bottle. I use my library card profusely. A friend does my hair in exchange for me editing a book she’s written (yeah, I use the barter system). I do my own manicures and pedicures. My sister arches my eyebrows. I have not bought any clothes or shoes since 2009. I use to get free stuff (i.e beverages, sandwiches, snacks)from a local gas station for answering on-line surveys. I challenge myself daily not to spend money but it’s not so much of a challenge when you don’t have a regular paycheck. It’s a MUST in order to survive. I pray when I start racking in the big bucks that I maintain my frugile lifestyle. My friends tell me I’ve surpassed frugile and is just plain old CHEAP!! LOL!!!!

  12. hahaha, amazing…meron palang ganito “NO Spending Day”. But what about I scheduled my No spending day then I unexpectedly earn that day also, and then Spent the Money I earn that day, Do you think it is still considered a “No Spending Day:? 🙂

  13. inspiring, i can do that by myself, how bout my kids? i guess mga single pa kau… thanks fitz, really informative and its really helping me. God Bless

  14. I used to spend at least Php350 a day when I go to work and most of it only go to food. Now that I’m bringing my breakfast and lunch to work, and eating dinner at home, I can get by with Php 500 a week. So much difference simple actions make.:)

  15. I believe any person that went through training to live in and survive battlefield conditions will do well with this challenge. Old folks will know the C and D rations, young folks will know the MRE. We did two “NO SPEND” stretches of several weeks by choice, using mostly our food storage. The backstory: Our new business took of like a rocket and we had a capital problem to meet demand. We cut just about everything we normally would have done! Now, you may think not buying from the grocery and substituting storage foods will not make a big different and will later need to be replaced. You are certainly correct. However, when you add up 1. no going out as we did regularly, 2. no (and I MEAN NO) online branded clothing shopping, 3. almost no grocery shopping, instead living from our storage foods, 3. minimal unnecessary trips around town, 4. stay more focused on our regular work of academic writing and option trading, well, it all adds up. We were able, two seperate times, to raise the capital needed for expansion and with no need to tap retirement accounts. WHOO WHO!! Now at the two year mark with our business, wifey and hubby sit back with a silly grin and repeat over and over, IT WAS SO WORTH IT!!!

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