There is No Such Thing as a No Spend Day

I hope I don’t come across as a negative Nelly in this post but I believe there is no such thing as a no spend day and here’s why….

The concept:

A no spend day is …

one where a person does not make any purchases for the entire day.  A spending fast.  I do think this is a noble effort and I think I understand the reasons behind it but question the long-term effectiveness of this strategy. Why?

For starters, no spend days can result in pent-up spending demand or simply defers purchases to a time in the future.  The food you are eating out of the pantry needs to replenished at some point. Same with the gasoline in your car and the toothpaste you used this morning.

Secondly, I fear that no spend days could lead to rationalizing an extravagant or unnecessary future purchase.  Something along the lines of, “Well, I did have 2 no spend days this month so I should be able to buy these nice new golf shoes.” Maybe it’s only me?

But the main issue I have with no spend days comes down to semantics, so this is where my argument may seem petty.  No spend day is a misnomer.

It should really be called a no purchase day.

Every minute we exist, and sometime even after we expire, we are “spending” money.  The hydro meter continues to spin, we are accruing a tax bill or rent or mortgage interest and we are consuming food.  We are using items that are wearing out and will need maintenance, repairs and replacing. Ok, yes this may be getting depressing, but I do hope to go somewhere with this.

In 2012, our average daily family “spending” on everything was $238.68 per day. It works out to an average of $59.67 per person. That was for every single day of the year. Yikes!  Outrageous maybe?  So, rather than no spend days, I have “spending cutting” days.  cut spending messy money


I fire up my budget software and see where we can make improvements that are going to reduce our daily spending.  The cutting days are the ones that seem to make a big difference to our financial health.  The reoccurring monthly charges like cable, utilities, insurance are the biggest drain and trimming those has been key.  Adding up the numbers has also been informative to say the least and has probably made the biggest impact, psychologically anyway.

And maybe it’s just a funny coincidence, but I should share that I had a “no purchase day” today. hmmmmmm.


  1. Just found this post, and I definitely agree with your thought. For me, the idea of a “no spend day” is really just for not spending money on discretionary things… for me, it ends up being “days I say no to eating out and getting morning coffee.” So for me, they do actually save money because it’s stuff I’m not going to go back and buy. AND I’m careful to not allow it to rationalize bigger expenses later.

    But you do have some great points. It really is more of a “no purchase day.”


    1. Thanks – when I wrote this it felt like I was had cut my spending (purchases really) down to the bare minimum. What was frustrating me was the money outflow that was going to fixed expenses – so a “no spend day” wasn’t really having any impact on the bottom line – I really needed to look at everywhere money was going.


  2. Good point about the no spend days are actually no purchase days.

    As long as you don’t over purchase later, the idea is by delaying purchases a little bit you can reduce your spending overall, hopefully, because once the time has passed, you can’t retroactively buy what you didn’t before. Well anyways…
    DEBt DEBs recently posted…Throwing up a Blog Time CapsuleMy Profile


  3. I agree. We make purchases every day!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge