Are you doing a No Spend Challenge? If you've decided to take the plunge to get a hold of your finances, or if you're thinking about it, I've got a list of books and movies to inspire and motivate you.
When I did my first No Spend Challenge, I committed to one month. Some people pledge to do the challenge for a year at a time but I just wanted to ease into it.
What's a No Spend Challenge?
If you aren't familiar with No Spend, I'll give you a quick overview. A No Spend Challenge sets specific rules for a specific period of time regarding where and when you can and can't spend your money. These rules will be different for everyone and every family. Maybe you've got debt that needs to be paid off. Therefore, you need to curb excessive spending to pay down your debtors. Perhaps you've got too many clothes and need to set limits on yourself when it comes to purchasing new items. Or, maybe your spouse just got laid off and you need to transition to a one-income household.
My rules were pretty simple. After looking over my bank statements, two glaring things stood out. I spent a disproportional amount of money on food from restaurants and takeout, and way too much on clothing, shoes, and accessories. Therefore, my rules were to not spend any money on eating out or takeout and not to buy any new clothing for myself for one month.
This required some planning. I needed to really evaluate my spending and plan. I made lists and a budget to get started. Then, I created a No Spend Bundle to help guide you through a challenge of your own.
I went searching for No Spend Challenge books and shows to watch that would inspire me. I did a deep dive and ended up reading several useful books.
While they're not completely related, many people use the time of their No Spend Challenge to clean out and declutter their homes. It's a natural step since you need to become aware of all the things you own to prevent yourself from buying new stuff. It's an eye-opening experience. So, you may want to also consider doing a 30 Day Declutter Challenge while you're doing a No Spend.
Some of the following recommendations will cover minimalism and decluttering, along with spending less, because I think these two concepts go hand-in-hand.
No Spend Challenge Books for Motivation
I'm going to link to these No Spend Challenge books, but please do research as to where you can find them cheaper (perhaps used) or access them for free. You can access some through the free Audible trial or get them deeply discounted using the free Kindle App via Amazon. Or, see if you can get them from your local library. My library uses an app called Hoopla and I have access to a million audiobooks, ebooks, and movies for free.
The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cat Flanders. This is one of the most highly rated No Spend Challenge books you'll find.
Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets to the Good Life by Ruth Soukup. Through personal stories, biblical truth, and practical action plans, she will inspire you to make real and lasting changes to your personal goals, home, and finances. With honesty and the wisdom of someone who has been there.
You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham. You Need a Budget (YNAB) will teach you four simple rules to completely revolutionize the way you think about managing your money. The four rules will help you change your behavior so that you're proactive and in complete control of your finances.
Decluttering Books for Motivation
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book was a game-changer for me. With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house "spark joy" (and which don't), this international bestseller will help you clear your clutter and learn to enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home and the calm mindset it inspires. While not exactly considered one of the No Spend Challenge books, it fits with the lifestyle extremely well.
The Home Edit by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin. I just LOVE this book and T.H.E.'s style. The Home Edit walks you through paring down your belongings in every room (editing), arranging them in a stunning and easy-to-find way, and maintaining the system. You'll know where everything is and you'll love the aesthetic.
Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff by Dana K. White. Decluttering expert and author Dana White identifies the mindsets and emotional challenges that make it difficult to declutter. In her signature humorous approach, she provides workable solutions to break through these struggles and get the clutter out.
The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell. This isn't your typical how-to or guide book. It's a novel, written by one of my favorite authors. But, it may just inspire you to clear out some of your belongings. The book tells the story Lorelei, a woman who tries to freeze time by filling her simple brick house with precious mementos. Eventually, the home became fully hoarded and her children had to deal with it.
No Spend Challenge Shows and Movies
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are THE minimalists. They created the movement. This documentary is the most popular one surrounding minimalism and values-based living. They've also got a book, Everything That Remains.
The Minimalists: Less Is Now on Netflix. This film is the 4-year follow up to the one above. Millburn and Nicodemus share how our lives can be better with less. Again, this challenge isn't about getting rid of everything you own, but programs like these can inspire you to want to acquire fewer things.
Decluttering Shows for Motivation
Get Organized with The Home Edit on Netflix. I liked the book but I love the show. Clea and Joanna are so fun to watch and I love their home organization process.
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. Between this and The Home Edit, you will be motivated to clean and organize your entire home. You'll be able to see exactly what you have, therefore spending less on things you don't need.
What do you think about a No Spend challenge? Are you up for it? If you've got any No Spend Challenge books or shows to add to this list, I'd love to hear about them.
I hope this list motivates you!
For more No Spend Challenge resources, check out my free budget worksheet or my No Spend Challenge Bundle which has 11 pages of printable worksheets to help shape your challenge and keep you on track.