Savings challenge: Try a no-spend month

1

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here’s an explanation for .

If you ever need to shock your savings back into shape, a no-spend month can do the trick.

A no-spend month is a monthlong commitment to spend money only on necessities: gasoline, groceries, rent, utilities, etc.

That means no dining out, no clothes shopping, no trips to the movie theater. This white-knuckled savings tactic is intense but effective.

A fiscal fast can have an instant impact on your bottom line, but the ultimate goal should be longer lasting.

“It’s not just about ‘let’s save some money for a week;’ it’s about ‘let’s get money out of our lives,” says Jeff Yeager, known as “The Ultimate Cheapskate” and author of four popular books on frugal living, including “How to Retire the Cheapskate Way.” “Let’s step back and look at the way we spend and probably waste money in a typical week, and then change our ways.”

Ready to get spending out of your life? Each week, one of Bankrate’s personal finance reporters is reporting on a new way to save and chronicling the savings journey. This week, I tried the no-spend strategy to see how much I could save, so I could share my experience with you. See what happened.