How to Save Money: 6 Tips for Planning a Spending-Free Weekend

updated Oct 4, 2023
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(Image credit: Tanya Lacourse)

What’s a spending-free weekend, you ask? It’s two days in a row where you try not to spend any money on anything. No brunches. No coffee. No purchases whatsoever. It might sound a bit extreme, but it could be a neat tool to have in your financial tool belt when it comes to sticking to a budget, saving more money and learning to live with less. A money-free weekend doesn’t have to be a bore, though! Here are some ideas on how to plan one, where to start and how to still have fun!

As mentioned above, a money-free weekend can be a great thing to treat your wallet to once a month (or more or less). By not spending money on the usual weekend offenders, you of course can help stay on a budget better. But, by training yourself to not spend money on food and entertainment — seeking out free fun, instead — you learn to live more simply and not depend on spending money. Here are some tips to try one a spending-free weekend:

1. Plan what the rules to a money-free weekend are for you
Some people go extreme — no spending money means not evening turning the air conditioning or lights on. Others just pledge to cut down on frivolous spending. Others really try not to swipe their credit card the whole weekend. You know your needs and your family needs — so make up the rules that might be a little challenging for you but still doable.

2. Tell your friends and family
Yes, telling friends and family about your money-free weekend plans can help keep you accountable, but it might also help take temptation off the table — they might not invite you to the newest brunch spot or be more open to joining you on a free activity to help you keep your goal.

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3. Use the weekend to work on home
If you’ve taken our advice about making lists and buying supplies as you go…this might be a perfect time to work on an item that needs repair or a DIY project you’ve been wanting to tackle. But it’s also a great time to clean, straighten up or tackle an organizing job that won’t take any money spending to accomplish!

4. Cultivate your list of money-free activities
Free arts shows in your community. A visit to the local library. A walk around a park with a good podcast. There are a number of free things to do, and a great place to start is to consider your favorite hobbies — and how you can tackle them without spending a dime. Love cooking? Give yourself a challenge to create a meal out of only what you can find in your fridge and pantry. Love photography? Walking around and shooting interesting things is free. Make a list this weekend to keep on hand so you don’t reinvent the wheel every time you want to not spend a dime.

5. Give yourself a reward or remember a financial goal
If spending is a challenge, promise yourself a reward at the end of this money-free experiment (might work best if the reward doesn’t cost money, though). Or, write down a financial goal before you start you can refer back to it when you get the itch to buy something.

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6. Give it a try before deciding it’s not for you
Not spending a dime for an entire weekend might be too weird of a concept — or for some impossible. But if you can, give it a go. It might give you the distance to see any unhealthy buying habits you might have and make financial changes for the better!

Have you ever tried a money-free weekend, or something similar? How’d it work out for you? Do you have any tips for people just experimenting with this idea?