Why "No Spend January" is a Trend That Here's to Stay

Participating in social media's latest money trend could actually help you get back on track.
Updated July 18, 2024
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A new trend called No Spend January could help you recoup holiday spending while putting your finances in a better light. The No Spend January trend started with a single mom just trying to save money and involves just not spending a single extra dollar beyond your typical experiences. You could save thousands of dollars in a single month if you decide to take part. 

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How to follow the No Spend January trend

No matter how you budget it, holiday spending almost always ends up out of whack for a lot of people. Between buying presents, throwing dinners, and traveling, savings seem to go out the window. When the New Year arrives, financially you might be in the red. It’s easy to not only realign your finances but also come out ahead in the saving game by not spending anything extra for a whole month, and recoup some of that money that flew out the window. 

Here are some tips you can follow to help you make it through the month if you're trying to avoid spending any money:

  1.  Ignore sales: Every January, retailers slash prices on overstocked goods. While the deals may be attractive, don’t open those clearance emails. Most of the time, they’re full of items that you either already have or don’t need. If you do open them up, ask yourself if you need them. Most of the time you don’t.If you have to, temporarily delete any shopping apps you have on your phone.
  2.  Cut down on dining out: Whether it’s a takeaway meal, dropping into a fast food or fine dining establishment, stop yourself from doing it. Cooking at home is cheaper, healthier, and can be turned into a fun experience when involving the family. Instead of dining out, take that money and put it into a piggy bank (virtual or real).
  3. Use food you already have: Instead of running out to the market, use what you have at home so you can avoid paying too much for the current inflated costs and save money on groceries. Defrost and eat what’s in your freezer and cabinets. When food shopping, only buy the absolute necessities. Look for virtual and printed coupons to help cut food costs.
  4. Cut entertainment costs: It could be something as simple as canceling streaming options you never used, to using the library to pick up books instead of buying them. Instead of taking the family to the movies, take your family (or you) to a museum on one of their free admission days.
  5. Stop drinking: Rethink after-work drinks with friends or boozy weekend brunches. They always have hidden costs. If you want to meet up with friends, create a budget, and stick to it.
  6. Sell stuff you don't use: Shop your closet, rearrange your furniture, or complete a book inventory. If you have clothing you don’t wear, furniture, home decor you hate, or books you don’t read, sell them. There are second-hand stores, real and virtual that will pay you for items you’re not using.

If you're not confident that you can make it through the month, then it might be wise to create a very strict budget and measure how you're doing to that budget on a daily basis. 

How the trend started

This trend, like most trends these days, started on social media. While there have always been places to pick up smart saving tips, the No Spend January trend picked up steam when influencers got involved. Many people credit Kate Kaden’s YouTube videos for spearheading the No Spend January trend. 

Kaden’s been a content creator since 2016 and her almost 50K subscribers follow her advice on frugal living and smart saving tips. She claims that she can save about $2,000 or more per month when she participates in a no-spending month. If you don't think you can make it a whole month then you can start small. You can start with a no-spending week or even a simple weekend to help you get into a routine. 

Other things you can do to get your finances on track

Want to get your finances in the black again? Take some time to review your savings and checking accounts. Moving to a high-yield account is a way to grow your money faster. If you don't have a savings account then now is a good time to open one and start putting a percentage of your paycheck into it every month. 

Most importantly, create a realistic budget, and make sure you live up to it, holding yourself accountable. A budgeting app can be a useful tool in creating the budget and then help you stay on track to make your financial dreams become a reality. 

Bottom line

While the No Spend January is a trend, it also might be a smart way to take stock of your finances. You can save money and increase savings by doing little things every day that can make a big long-term impact. Stop impulse spending, cancel unused subscriptions, and sell clothes you don’t wear. If you spend too much money one day, don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, create a realistic savings goal and stick to it for as long as you can. Every little bit you save can help you if you're struggling to keep your finances in a good place.

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Author Details

PJ Gach PJ Gach is a professional writer who has over a decade of experience covering the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle beats. Her writing credits include Shop TODAY, GoBankingRates, SPY.com, Reader's Digest, The New York Post, Rolling Stone, and more.