How to have a no spend weekend

How to have a no spend weekend

no spend weekend tipsDo you spend money every day? I reckon I do. I reckon most of us do. Spending money is, somehow, easier than not spending. Shops open 24 hours, 1 click online ordering, and contactless payments mean spending comes as naturally as getting out of bed in the morning.

Run out of something? Might as well pop out and get it. Weekend coming? Splurge on a day trip and takeaway.

With spending money being so normal, the prospect of a no spend day or no spend weekend might look like an exercise in self deprivation and misery. There’s a few things you might be thinking. You might be thinking “You only live once, why go without the things I enjoy”. Or maybe you’re thinking “Not spending money for a weekend isn’t going to make any difference”. Or perhaps you’re in the “I could never do it so why try?” camp.

Please keep reading. Because the first time I thought about a no spend weekend, I felt like I just couldn’t motivate myself. And that was my first problem. I’m not saying ‘have a no spend weekend this weekend’. If you want to, that’s great. I guess what I’m saying is, just, mull it over.

And take a look at these tips; they might help you realise that it’s not as boring or difficult as you might initially think!

Tip 1. Look forward to it

OK, so its a no-spend weekend, not a no-fun weekend.

When planning a no spend weekend, prioritise fun stuff. It might be tempting to think ‘I’ll get a shed load of chores out of the way, since I’m not allowed to spend any way.” No, no no! If your weekend is spent doing boring stuff you won’t enjoy it and won’t want to do another.

If your weekend has fun and relaxing activities, your experience will be much more positive. Taking away the ‘spending chores’, especially food shopping, carves out a good swathe of time for extra fun stuff to be fitted in to your weekend.

Tip 2. Plan

If you’re not used to having no spend days or weekends (like me!), this isn’t going to happen by accident so you will need a bit of a plan.

Part one of the plan

Get your ‘spending chores’ out of the way before the weekend: Food shopping and filling up the car are good chores to get out of the way on Thursday or Friday (or any other day for that matter!) that many of us do at the weekend. The purpose of filling the car is so you don’t have to do it on the way to work on Monday morning (and you don’t find yourself without fuel if there’s an emergency). It is not to do a huge road trip on your no spend weekend!

Part two of the plan

The good bit. Plan the things you want to do, especially the fun stuff.

Allowing your days to slip away has a similar effect to cramming the days with chores- your weekend will feel wasted and you won’t be tempted to try again. To be honest, you might even end up compensating the following weekend by spending even more money.

So even if your plan is to spend half an hour with your feet up, drinking orange juice and eating croissants, do it deliberately. Oh, and try to avoid mindlessly browsing the internet. You don’t want to spot a ‘must have’ item that you don’t need!

Tip 3: Involve others

If you’re used to meeting up with people at the weekend, that definitely shouldn’t stop for a no spend weekend. Perhaps your friends and family will even thank you for coming up with a free activity!

Film nights always go down well, as do board game nights. You could go on a hike or bike ride, or throw a garden party and ask everyone to bring a plate of food.

Tip 4: Don’t be too hard on yourself

It’s easy to be hard on yourself if you find yourself spending, but don’t.

Instead, be proud that you tried something that most people probably never will. There will be plenty more opportunities to try again.

For instance, you might hear a friend is coming to town who you rarely get to see and meeting up with a large group at the pub. I’ll be honest- I’d go for it. People are more important than money. So you didn’t have a fully no spend weekend. But if that’s your reason, then so what?

You might realise there isn’t a loaf of bread in the freezer after all and can’t wait until Monday. If you’re popping out for essentials, and have decided you really do need that specific something, just make sure that’s the only thing you get.

Tip 5: Enjoy!

OK, so this is basically tip 1. There wasn’t really a fifth tip but I like nice neat lists of 5. And I do think the key to success is E N J O Y I N G them! A no spend weekend isn’t a punishment. Its a chance to remember that you can have a great time and hopefully, lots of laughter, without spending money. And you can enjoy knowing that you’ve done your bank balance a favour too 🙂


If this isn’t where you’re at yet, that’s fine. Remember, I only ask that you mull it over. If and when you’re ready to make the leap, remember these tips. Come back and let me know how you got on!

So, is a no spend weekend for you? Are you on the fence or is it never gonna happen?


6 thoughts on “How to have a no spend weekend

  1. I’m slightly confused but think I got it, you buy your groceries on Thursday or Friday, so on the weekend you don’t have to?

    I really like this idea and have been trying to implement it in my life. In particular, I believe it’s about, like you said, taking control of each day and not letting things slip.

    Thanks for the post, looking forward to more of your content 🙂

    1. Thanks Erik… perhaps I should make it a bit clearer but you’re exactly right, I buy groceries on Thursday or Friday so I don’t need to at the weekend. Of course, if you’re more hardcore than me, you could wait until the following Monday!

      Thanks for your comment, it’s made my day! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. “So even if your plan is to spend half an hour with your feet up, drinking orange juice and eating croissants, do it deliberately.” Do it deliberately – that’s the key. Slowing things down and savoring them brings a ton of joy, in my opinion.

    I’m a huge fan of no spend weekends. I like to have a fun project to work on – one that I want to work on – not one that I feel I should work on.

    I do believe I may have a no spend weekend this weekend! 🙂

    1. I’m with you on that. It’s difficult to enjoy life in a hurry. What’s the hurry anyway?

      Enjoy your weekend 🙂

  3. I think No spend weekends are a great idea. I’ve never given them a title, but I think we have them quite a lot.
    I live in Edinburgh, and with a bit of planning, you can easily spend a day being a tourist in the city for free. So you don’t even have to stay in!

    1. I had a fabulous low cost weekend in Edinburgh last year- it’s the first time I’d visited! We’re lucky to have a friend who lives there who kindly put us up for the weekend, showed us the sights and who we shared cooking with. I don’t live in the city, but my little town attracts quite a few visitors. I often try and see it through their new eyes and enjoy the free things there are to do (especially on infrequent dry days!)

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