GET FREE SHIPPING IN THE U.S. ON ALL ORDERS OVER $75

RECENT BLOG POSTS

Join Us for 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero!

Living Well & Spending Zero challenge | Recycle Old Things | Upcycle Old Materials | Decluttering Your Home | Life Management | Saving Tips | Saving Ideas| Home Decorating | Grocery Ideas | Shopping Tips| Home Improvement Ideas | Home Improvement Hacks | Upcycling Ideas | Paperback | Kindle Let’s face it–we all get off track sometimes when it comes to budgeting and managing our money wisely!  Whether it be overspending on a vacation or little bad habits that add up over time, sometimes we just need to hit the reset button!  If you’ve ever made it to the end of the month and wondered where all your money actually went, a month of no-spending might just be the perfect way to reset your spending habits.

Of course, going it alone can seem downright scary.

Luckily you don’t have toOver the past four years, more than 100,000 LWSL readers have taken our 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge (many of them more than once), with incredible results.  In fact, you can see the tangible results of their success by checking out our #31dayLWSZ hashtag on Instagram!

Here are just a few of the amazing results our readers have shared:

Thank you so much for this challenge!!  We didn’t do every activity because we work full time. However, we did save $2000.00!  We also sold some things that we had wanted to sell and cleaned our garage which is huge for us.  My husband and I used to eat out almost every night.  In addition to eating out we still always bought groceries as well.  It seems like we always intend to eat at home, but then never do.  We plan to continue using what we have until it’s gone. In addition to saving so much money we both feel better in general. We had already planned a trip to New Orleans to celebrate our friends birthday, but thanks to the challenge we paid cash for the entire trip!!  You have been such an inspiration to us.  I look forward to future challenges!!”  – Becky P.
I wanted to send you a quick message to say how fantastic your 31 day zero spending challenge was. By cooking at home everyday, resisting the urge to shop and only buying essentials at the grocery store (using coupons of course) I saved over $1200. I have been wanting to save money to help with my wedding and honeymoon next year. This past month actually enabled me to buy my wedding dress with cash. Its a relief to say I won’t be seeing a dent in my bank account after the purchase of a wedding dress! Your writing style kept me engaged and inspired! I have recommended this to so many people, and look forward to the next spending zero challenge. I have inspired friends and co-workers to spend less or zero and truly feel I have some great tips on moving forward to continue saving. Thank you!  Great challenge!” -Kayley S.
Prior to this challenge, my husband I had lived paycheck to paycheck, spending 100% of our income and I was unsure of how I was ever going to tackle this debt I had placed on our family.  That’s where you come in.  I was skeptical and I figured I would do it… next time.  But, feeling hopeless and overwhelmed about our financial situation, I decided to commit. It was interesting that once I committed and was accountable, I didn’t feel restricted or deprived.  Actually, I felt liberated and set free.  I did realize though, throughout this challenge, that I mindlessly spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars monthly.  I would catch myself having a reflex thought of “let me just buy a drink here because I forgot my water bottle”, or “I’ll just grab something to eat out because it’s easier and I don’t want to take the time to make anything”.  So many times, that reflex kicked in through this month and I couldn’t believe how many times I spend unnecessary money either for convenience, laziness or just because of my feelings.  Because of your challenge, I was able to pay off ALL of my credit card debt.  ALL!!!!!!!  I cannot believe that!  I am amazed at what one month can do!  I feel like a weight has been lifted and my sanity has been restored.  I feel that I was able to regain my peace, in my spirit and in my mind.  I feel like I can breathe again and stop hanging my head in shame.  I feel like I won the battle of using material things to soothe the issues of life.  I feel whole!” -LaShanna

Still not sure? Here’s what you have to gain from taking this challenge:

  • Discover the surprising joy of zero spending, and make instant changes that will totally transform your attitude.
  • Learn how to use the food you already have on hand to create delicious, budget friendly meals for your family.
  • Be inspired to clean and declutter your living space in order to create the cozy space you’ve always dreamed of.
  • Gather innovative ideas for using those items you already have on hand to create new solutions for old problems.
  • Find encouragement and inspiration from others who have completed this same challenge—and lived to tell the tale.
  • Learn simple tricks and tips for selling your stuff, slashing your bills, and even saving on food.

Living Well & Spending Zero challenge | Recycle Old Things | Upcycle Old Materials | Decluttering Your Home | Life Management | Saving Tips | Saving Ideas| Home Decorating | Grocery Ideas | Shopping Tips| Home Improvement Ideas | Home Improvement Hacks | Upcycling Ideas | Paperback | Kindle

Believe me, I know all too well how stressful it can be to feel like your budget is spinning out of control, and I’ve learned that sometimes hitting the reset button through a month of no-spending is the only way to get a handle on things once again.  Over the course of thirty-one simple but powerful daily assignments, this 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge will empower and inspire you to get your finances back on track.

HOW TO JOIN

While we occasionally offer the challenge via email, the 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge is currently available only in Paperback or Kindle format.  To get the most out of your challenge, and to connect with others who are participating, be sure to follow @RuthSoukup and share photos of zero spending moments on Instagram using hashtag #31DaysLWSZ.

 

Living Well & Spending Zero challenge | Recycle Old Things | Upcycle Old Materials | Decluttering Your Home | Life Management | Saving Tips | Saving Ideas| Home Decorating | Grocery Ideas | Shopping Tips| Home Improvement Ideas | Home Improvement Hacks | Upcycling Ideas | Paperback | Kindle

78 Comments

  1. September 1 at 09:47AM

    It sounds interesting, and probably useful for where my family is. But I am curious how things like perishable groceries (milk, produce) and gasoline are handled. I don’t think one tank would get us through a whole month!

    • September 1 at 09:06PM

      I think it comes down more to budgeting. Of course it is IMPOSSIBLE to spend literally $0, but if you can budget for groceries and not go over the budget, seems like that would be a success to me. I consider groceries to be a “bill” anyways!

    • Ruth Soukup
      September 3 at 06:03AM

      The real point of the challenge is to cut out all unnecessary spending, and to also use what you have on hand (eat from your pantry/freezer) as much as possible. But of course there will still be some things–like utilities, mortgages, gas, & perishable food like milk, eggs, & bread–that still have to be paid. We address and account for all of that on Day 1! 🙂

    • Rachel
      September 4 at 04:02PM

      I have done this several times before. It gets easier each time because you know what to do and not to do.
      You budget for the month. Pay bills, gas for car and food that is a necessity. If I do this right this time I will SAVE over $1000 in October. Just in time for the Christmas season.
      My plan is $25 a week for food….for milk, bread and such. I am going to spend all $100 for the month. If I have left over I will do stock ups on meat if I find it on sale and freeze it but other than that we are pantry/fridge/freezer eating. I also budged $30 for gas. I usually use $50 per month but I am also not going to be doing any running around either. You can do it and you will be amazed at how much money you save.

      • Anonymous
        September 8 at 09:28AM

        There’s no way I can do $30 a month for gas. It takes that much a week minimum!

        • Rachel
          September 8 at 08:32PM

          I only work outside the home 3 days a week. I also have a fairly fuel efficient car so that is a minimalist type budget for me for ONE month.

        • October 19 at 07:32PM

          We usually do 35$ a month for fuel, because we have an energy efficient car and we often do a lot of our errands when it is on our way. We never go to the groceries several times a week — only twice a month! It saves a lot on gas.

      • September 8 at 01:07PM

        I like your small budget for gas. I am going to try walking to work as much as possible to help keep my budget small. Of course, I plan to drive when it’s raining!

  2. September 1 at 09:31PM

    I signed up! I am excited as this will be my first 31 day challenge, ever!

  3. Rachel
    September 1 at 09:56PM

    Is this going to have the same steps that you have on your blog? Id like to start this month (our $$$ can’t wait!).

    • Ruth Soukup
      September 3 at 06:00AM

      Some of the steps are the same, but we’ve revamped & refreshed the whole challenge, so the new and improved version won’t be available until October. But you are always welcome to get a head start and cut your spending right away! 🙂

  4. Anonymous
    September 2 at 09:55PM

    I’m on disability. I have a mortgage, huge medical bills and living expenses that cannot be reduced I.e. utilities. This makes me want to cry since I will NEVER be able to go on a vacation or even buy Christmas presents.

    • Janell in Georgia
      September 4 at 01:12PM

      I know how you feel. I was hit by a drunk driver 15 years ago and have been unable to work since then. My husband makes just enough we don’t qualify for assistance but it’s not enough for any extras. Maybe Ruth won’t be upset if I share another page that has really helped me. Try The Prudent Homemaker. Between her and readers comments I have really learned a lot of ways to cut expenses. Of course, I can’t get out and tend a garden, but there sore so many ideas. I wish you the best of luck.

    • Ruth Soukup
      September 5 at 09:02AM

      It sounds like things are really tough for you right now, and I’m so sorry. While the challenge might be a little different for you, since you have already cut back as much as possible, I think you might still find some fun ideas of things you can do and get for free that you might find encouraging! The challenge is different for everyone, and so while not everything may apply perfectly to your situation, I think you might have fun applying some of the ideas!
      xoxo, Ruth

    • Anonymous
      September 12 at 10:56AM

      Can you work from home to earn extra $ perhaps? Try selling a craft or doing bookkeeping for someone.

      • Anonymous
        January 22 at 12:37AM

        There are sites that you can sign up for to do online surveys. It’s pretty great! Just google “online surveys to make money”. Good luck!

  5. Janet
    September 4 at 04:58PM

    Let’s see how this goes!!

  6. Judy
    September 4 at 08:36PM

    Looking forward to this!

  7. Sylvia
    September 4 at 09:52PM

    I did this quarterly last year and was able to set up my emergency fund and take a cruise vacation on the money I saved. I’m on social security and was able to do this. I’m excited to do it again because I’ve gotten away from it a little this year so it will be great to get back into this wonderful plan.

    • Ruth Soukup
      September 5 at 09:03AM

      That’s awesome Sylvia! Glad to have you joining in the fun! 🙂

  8. Shonda
    September 5 at 05:17PM

    I started reading your blog a few years ago when I was a stay-at-home mom and we did the “no spend” challenge! Now that I’ve been working and we have extra income, we’ve fallen away from watching our spending so strictly. So, I already had on my calendar to start another “no-spend” plan this fall and I’m so excited to sign up and get your new ideas emailed each day! Looking forward to October!

    • Shonda
      September 5 at 05:24PM

      And I was just reminded that it’s your freezer meal plans I’ve been using! I used plans #1-6 and, joined by some friends, we made them all in one day! So my freezer is stocked for a “no spend” challenge.

  9. Sarah
    September 6 at 01:20AM

    I’m super excited to start this! My teenagers…not so much!!

  10. Darcy
    September 6 at 07:35AM

    I’m in! Can’t wait!

  11. Marnie
    September 6 at 11:10AM

    Will we start getting emails on October 1st telling us what to do?

  12. Barbara
    September 6 at 08:56PM

    here we go

  13. September 8 at 08:51AM

    I am interested in giving this a try, but i know my husband is going to argue because my birthday is in october- and he will want to celebrate me because I have had a little bit of a trying year. do you have any creative ways to share with him to still celebrate or do i just tell him to pre-purchase 🙂

    • dianne
      September 9 at 02:09PM

      hmmm. i think there are times when you need to put yourself/your marriage first…and it sounds like your birthday might be one of those times (i hope Ruth agrees). it didn’t occur to me to tell my husband what i’m going to be doing. he’s already very thrifty and probably won’t even notice – except for the numerous pasta dinners we’ll be having 🙂

  14. Bridget
    September 8 at 11:47AM

    Definitely going to be a challenge! This is a great time for this challenge because Fall is so expensive with school fees, sport fees an so on. I’m excited to really see where my wasting is going!

  15. Deborah
    September 9 at 07:59AM

    Can I start this now (mid-September) I’m flying to a reunion in Michigan the 22nd of October (pre-planned months ago) and obviously will be spending a little bit during this 6 day trip. Thanks for your input.

  16. Jan Duke
    September 9 at 08:25AM

    I’m in…this actually sounds like it could be fun…eye-opening at the least.

  17. April
    September 9 at 09:16AM

    I signed up twice and I still haven’t received the confirmation email. How long does it usually take? Thanks!

    • Anonymous
      September 12 at 12:47PM

      Could be in your junk or spam mail.

  18. Debbie
    September 9 at 10:08AM

    I went to buy the Kindle version on Amazon and all I see is the paperback – do you know when the Kindle version will be available? I hope before October lol since I won’t be spending any money that month! I’m really excited to give this a try and hope to make it a quarterly adventure! Thank you for these tools!

  19. dianne
    September 9 at 02:04PM

    looking forward to giving this a go! halloween is my big yearly creative escape/bonanza and the neighborhood kids love it, so i will need to be plan and be creative on the candy front, and not spend a dime on halloween decorations – that in itself is THE BIG challenge 🙂

  20. Angela E
    September 9 at 05:59PM

    I signed up for the challenge and the email I received said “This message cannot be displayed because of the way it is formatted. Ask the sender to send it again using a different format or email program. text/html”

    • Ruth Soukup
      September 10 at 09:47PM

      Sent you another email. 🙂

  21. Tracey
    September 11 at 08:56AM

    Feeling like I need to hit the reset button in so many ways. Have been in a funk for many weeks now – trying some different meds/foods/attitude adjustments and just can’t get it back on track. I find what you say in your book about the parallel btwn finances and life tends to ring true in our home. Will be putting on the big girl pants next month and looking forward to it! Also enjoying your full audio book as I drive to work each morning. Our mutual friend LeeAnn shared the written preview copy with me and I was hooked. Thank you for sharing your heart, your passion and your story for others benefit.

    • Anonymous
      September 13 at 08:56AM

      What is the name of the audio book?

  22. September 11 at 10:10AM

    I probably won’t be able to freeze the spending starting October 1st, because we are moving to Botswana, Africa with 4 totes, 2 carry-on bags, a purse, and a computer bag. We’ll be starting over, the middle of September. No pantry, freezer, etc. to use for meals. However, I AM excited to get the emails and implement the challenges as I can.

  23. September 11 at 04:23PM

    I signed up, and I’m super-excited to get started. I was just the maid of honor in a wedding, and it wound up costing me so much money, that I really need to get my spending back on track. Also, I live in Silicon Valley, where more than half my income goes to rent (according to the budget tool above, I should be paying $1,000 less a month in rent! Yikes!) I’m trying to save up to build a tiny house for me and my daughter, and I think this can help us get in the habit. I can’t wait to start!

    • Miss Cissy
      September 11 at 05:47PM

      I am signing up! I had a rough several years and let my finances get ahead of me and am hopeful I can get back on track. Thank you for putting this together.

    • Liz
      January 22 at 12:47AM

      I have looked into building a tiny house too! My husband left me and my daughter and so I need to think about my financial future and plan wisely. Have you found a city in Southern California where you can legally live in a tiny house? Are you buying a plot of land and putting the tiny house on it? That is what I have considered but different cities have different housing codes for what is legally OK. When you say tiny house do you mean just a house that is small or do you mean an actual “tiny house “? Would love to hear more about this!
      🙂

  24. September 11 at 06:56PM

    HI, I am very excited and I want to do this challenge. My husband and I eat strict low carb. I cannot in any way store enough meat, eggs, and frozen veggies in my fridge and pantry for an entire month. Our daughter , husband and their three kids live with us and we share a fridge and pantry . So, I have to spend about 300 on our personal food over the month. They buy thier food seperately. I can buy every two weeks and fit that in barely , but I cannot put the amount of food for a month away and we are currently using what is in the house right now, so I expect there to not be much end of the month. What we have is older frozen meat and I want to get it all eaten soon. So, if we break it down to every other week, and spend the 150, can that still qualify if we do not buy a single thing not on the list ? It is a very short list so easy to get in and out of the store.
    Thanks Stephie

  25. Debbie
    September 13 at 12:26PM

    I see the Kindle version now but it’s only readable on a computer? I want to buy this for my Kindle reader – will this be an option soon?

  26. September 16 at 12:17PM

    I have a question for the Veteran Zero Spenders: I would really like to try this but based on previous conversations I can predict how my spouse will respond and he won’t want to participate. Has anyone had any success convincing a reluctant spouse or even just doing what they can individually to reduce spending?

    • September 25 at 02:59AM

      Kaelyn,
      Try this…
      First thing you have to do is erase any “predictions” on how he will react from your mind. What happens is YOU believe the conversation is going to go a certain way (most likely negative) and you project that into the situation.
      For example it may cause you to start the conversation this way:
      “well… I know you Proobbably don’t want to Buuutt I was thinking that Maybee….”
      Do you see how unsure and nervous that sounds?
      He will hear that and think that if you aren’t excited why should he be. Right?
      Instead show your unwavering enthusiasm and make it about both of you.
      (smiling and giddy!)
      “Babe remember we talked about how we wanted to (insert topic here). Well I just saw this GREAT challenge that I’m really excited about that’s going to help us (talk about the benefits here).

      Here is where normally someone would give an ultimatum or a yes/no question. DONT do that!
      Instead you can better your odds by giving him slightly skewed questions.
      This is what you say next (remember keep your enthusiasm up the whole time):
      Wouldn’t you like to (ex. “have more home cooked meals so that (benefits)”)…..
      you can use anything you want but they must be questions he can’t refuse and it must relate to the challenge.
      Wouldn’t you like (ex. “to finally get rid of some of the clutter around here so that (benefits)”)….
      Ask 2 or three of these “Can’t Say No” questions then hit him with this.
      THEN LET’S DO IT! (you can even throw in that it’s free and it’ll be something fun to do together)

      Try it out and let me know how it goes.

      Derrick Deon
      “Remember to Live, Love, and Laugh, and make it a Habit”

      • Liz
        January 22 at 12:56AM

        That sounds kind of manipulating. Skewing questions to get what you want, even if it’s a “good thing” that u want doesn’t end up being a “good thing” because it wasn’t in unity. Saving money at the risk of being manipulative isn’t worth it. Full honesty and honoring someone’s choices is always a good thing.

  27. September 16 at 06:30PM

    I’m so in! I feel like my husband and I have the same conversation about downsizing and contentment on a regular basis. He says, “Great let’s do it!” and I’m like OK but then nothing changes. I think this challenge will definitely help and may be a bit revealing as I might also be a shopaholic! Just wanted to add that I’ve been poking around your site a bit and I just read your initial post about taking your kids’ toys away. I love IT! I recently went through my boys’ toys and put away a cabinet full and then some. I left out puzzles, tools, books, cars, trains, and dress-up (superhero costumes, of course!). I thought they would pitch a fit but really they barely noticed. Who woulda thunk?! I also just read your contentment post, which resonated so deeply with me! Thanks for being honest and putting yourself out there. I’m actually excited to spend ZERO and see how it affects our budget, and how much we’ll be able to save. ;-D

    • Pat
      September 21 at 01:06AM

      Do you do this at another time? I would love to give this a try, but we have a two week scheduled vacation and that makes not spending impossible!

      • Ruth Soukup
        September 21 at 07:05AM

        Hi Pat,

        You can do the spending freeze at any time. You can order the book on Amazon and have all the information at once. I hope that helps. Enjoy your vacation. 🙂

  28. Melissa
    September 25 at 09:52AM

    I am excited to try this for the first time and signed up. However, October is when our anniversary is and we have a couple family celebratory events (birthdays, etc.) Is it okay to freeze as much spending as possible with the plan but still accommodate the events already on the calendar?

  29. September 26 at 01:18PM

    A great idea! I’ll definitely try it, although I’m pretty sure to fail the first week completely, because I’m on a business trip abroad – if it doesn’t work out at all, I’ll just do an additional week in november 🙂

  30. Kathy Hess
    September 28 at 06:30AM

    I just started reading your book and am so looking forward to using this as I read through the book. Thank you so much.

  31. Andrea
    September 28 at 03:34PM

    Can I find the prep guide somewhere else? The email version didn’t work for me.. 🙁
    Thanks!

    • Ruth Soukup
      September 29 at 10:59AM

      You will need to download the file (which happens automatically when you click on the link) Then once it is downloaded, find the location it downloaded to.

  32. Lori
    September 28 at 04:48PM

    Ditto Andrea’s comment. The link in my email didn’t work. 🙁

  33. Ashley
    October 1 at 01:20PM

    I started the spending challenge today. Well it’s grocery shopping day my weekly budget for a family of 6 is $250 a week for food and anything else we need ( dog food, guinea pig supplies). I made my menu for the week taking into account my pantry and freezer. I spent $84.82! For the whole week!!!! Needless to say I was ecstatic about it. Next week will be a different story but I save a lot of money this week! Woohoo!

  34. Brittany Hamilton
    January 3 at 07:36PM

    I am on day 3 of no spending. There are so many reasons I need to save money. My goal with saving this month is to pay off my credit card at the end of the month and my wedding dress. I went from being a teacher’s assistant to finally getting a teaching position in August. I thought with the increased income, I would finally be putting money into savings, paying credit card bills off (these racked up while bringing home $600 per month as a teacher’s assistant), saving for my upcoming wedding, and for a new car that I know I’ll need in the next couple years. However, having more money just ending up meaning there was more money to spend. I went from a job 20mins from my house to one that’s a 55min drive one way. That tripled my gas budget. Plus, I’m a giver, I love buying gifts for other people and for the first time I was able to buy everyone something for Christmas. I don’t regret buying the gifts that I did, I do regret not managing my money to do it. So, here it is January 2016 and I have nothing in my savings account, still about $1600 in credit card debit, no money saved for a car and nothing really saved for my wedding. I’m praying this 31 day challenge puts be in a place to pay off those credit card bills, so that I can start applying that money towards other bills, savings, and more necessary things.

  35. Misty
    January 25 at 02:12PM

    I am very sad because we began the 31 day challenge in January with the free content and a few days in it was no longer available and now you have to buy the book to finish. Well it is NO SPEND JANUARY so how can I buy the book. I am very disappointed.

Leave a Comment

COMMENT