16 Fun No Shopping Challenges Ideas

If you are a shopaholic, these shopping challenges will help you to save money during the challenge and curb your spending habits, which is quite a long-term benefit.

Shopping challenges are a great way to both save money and have fun. You will not only save money, but you will also learn how to be a better, more mindful, and sensible shopper.

By making a routine out of it, you might even save money every month!

These shopping challenges will help you develop good habits that will last long after the challenge is over.  They are also a great way to learn about your spending habits and figure out where you can cut back. 

For me, shopping challenges are not about depriving yourself. It’s about becoming more mindful of your spending and learning to be content with what you have. And I promise you will still enjoy your life and have plenty of fun while doing one of these shopping challenges!

Oh, and all of the information that I share is from my own experience. I am not an expert, just a regular person who has done some of these shopping challenges and wants to help others.

What is a shopping challenge?

A shopping challenge is simply a period during which you commit to spending less money. The length of the challenge is up to you, but I recommend at least a week.

You can do this challenge alone or with friends or family. If you do it with others, you can support and encourage each other to stick to the challenge. You can also compete to see who can save the most money!

Why should you do shopping challenges?

There are many reasons to do some shopping challenges. Some of the most common ones are:

  • To save money
  • To learn to be content with what you have
  • To get out of the habit of mindlessly spending
  • To have more money to save or invest
  • To pay off debt
  • You figure out what you can and cannot live without
  • To see how much money you waste on unnecessary things
  • To educate your children about money and saving
  • To have fun!
  • Reduce the amount of clutter in your house
  • You help the environment to some extent by consuming less
  • You get to know yourself better- your likes, dislikes, needs, and wants

All of these are great reasons to do a shopping challenge. But remember, the most important reason is always going to be YOUR reason.

What is your motivation for doing a challenge? Answer that question and you will be more likely to stick to it.

Shopping challenges

I have come up with a few shopping challenges that you can do. They are all different and you can choose the one that suits you the best. Or you can do more but preferably not at the same time, as it can be quite overwhelming.

1. The No Spend Challenge

A No Spend Challenge is a great way to save money and get your finances in order.

For a certain period of time, you don’t spend any money on non-essential items. This includes things like clothes, entertainment, and eating out. Instead, you focus on only spending money on essentials like groceries and bills.

This can be a difficult challenge, but it’s also very rewarding. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also learn to live with less and be more mindful of your spending.

If you’re thinking of trying a No Spend challenge, I say go for it! It’s an incredibly eye-opening experience that can change your relationship with money for the better.

If you want to find out more about this challenge, like what exactly you can spend money on and what not, this article written by Intuit Mint Life covers it all.

2. Buy secondhand

This challenge is all about breaking your habit of buying new things, which are expensive and sometimes of poor quality.

For this challenge, you only buy things secondhand for a certain period of time. Preferably more than a month. You don’t go shopping every day, are you? So what is the point to do this challenge for only a week if it is not going to change your habits?

Secondhand shopping takes some getting used to but it’s a great way to save money and be more sustainable.

I am sometimes surprised by the stuff I can find there (and by the price). So many unique, vintage, and just good quality things!

3. One in, one out rule

The one in, one out rule is a great way to keep your home clutter-free, and it makes you think twice before buying something new.

Every time you buy something new, you get rid of something old. It can be anything, from clothes to books to furniture.

The idea is that you only keep things in your home that you love and use. This way, your home will be more serene and clutter-free, and you’ll save money because you won’t be buying (hopefully) things that you don’t need.

4. 30-day rule

The 30-day rule is a great way to curb impulsive spending.

All you have to do is to wait 30 days before buying anything that you want but don’t need.

I think it’s a cool challenge because it makes you really think about your spending. Do you really need that thing? Can you live without it?

If you still want it after 30 days, then go ahead and buy it. But chances are, you’ll either forget about it or realize that you don’t need it after all. Which is the whole point! We don’t want to bring in our homes things that we don’t need, right?

5. Shop your own home

This challenge is about using the stuff you already have and not buying anything new for a certain period of time.

You’d be surprised by the stuff you already have in your home that you don’t use. This challenge is about rediscovering the things you have and using them in new ways.

For example, you can wear clothes that you haven’t worn in a while, or use items for a different purpose than they were intended for (make a vase out of an old wine bottle, for example).

This challenge is also great for decluttering your home because you’ll get rid of the things you don’t use.

6. Meal planning

Oh, grocery shopping. I am a minimalist but when grocery shopping I tend to get carried away and buy a lot of stuff which ends up going bad because I don’t have time to cook it all.

If you are like me, this challenge is for you.

The idea is to plan your meals for the week (or month) and then buy only the ingredients you need for those meals.

This way, you’ll save money on groceries and food waste. And you might even discover some new recipes when researching for your meal plan!

7. Decide on a monthly budget

Living paycheck to paycheck is not fun. It’s stressful and it is impossible to save money this way.

So, this challenge is about creating a monthly budget and sticking to it.

You can use a budgeting app or just a good old Excel spreadsheet.

And create more categories:

  • housing,
  • transportation,
  • food,
  • entertainment, etc.

Then, for each category, decide how much you want to spend each month. This will vary depending on your lifestyle and income. But make it challenging!

And be careful not to overspend all your money on the first days of the month! Otherwise, you will end up hungry and broke by the end of the month, ha.

8. Decide on a certain amount of items to buy per period of time

How many items do you usually buy per month, let’s say? A lot, right?

I challenge you to buy less than usual. For example, if until now on average you’ve been buying 5 items per month, this challenge is about reducing that number to, let’s say, 2 items.

You can do this for clothes, makeup, books, anything (not food though, preferably).

It’s a fun way to reduce your consumption and save money.

Also, it will make you think more about your purchases and only buy the things you really need.

9. No coffee runs

This one is for all the coffee lovers out there. How much money do you spend per month on coffee? $50? $100? More?

If so, give up your daily (or weekly) coffee runs and making your coffee at home. Oh, I know, it’s very challenging.

But it’s also very rewarding because you will save a lot of money. You can still go out for coffee with your friends, but limit it to once a week or once per month.

10. No eating out

Did you know that most Americans spend way too much on eating out? It’s the number one non-essential cost for many people according to this research.

If you are in their shoes, this challenge is for you.

Cook your meals at home. It’s cheaper and healthier and you’ll learn some new recipes along the way.

It’s hard, time-consuming, but fun and rewarding.

11. Decide on one category of items to save money on

Focus on one category of items and buy nothing from that category for a certain period of time.

For example, if you know you spend a lot of money on clothes, then don’t buy any clothes.

Track your spending for a month and see where most of your money goes. Then, decide on one category of items to focus on.

It can be anything: clothes, makeup, food, entertainment (drinking out, going to the movies, etc.), anything. Once you’ve decided, stop buying things in that category for a period of time. A month, for example. And see how much money you save.

What You Can Do When You Have Too Many Clothes

12. Write down your spending

Sound quite simple, so simple that you think it’s not effective. But trust me, it is.

Writing down your spending will help you be more mindful of your purchases and track where your money goes.

After a month of doing this, you will have a good idea of your spending patterns and you can start working on saving money.

13. DIY instead of buying new

There are so many things you can make at home instead of buying them. For example, you can make your own laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, and many other things. You can even buy old furniture and paint it, or build your own furniture.

Did you know that you can make tofu at home? And yogurt? And bread? The possibilities are endless.

Making things at home is not only cheaper, but it’s also fun and you get to learn new skills.

14. Don’t buy duplicates for an entire year.

Come on, this one can easily be done for one year. You are not depriving yourself of anything, you are just saving money.

And it’s not that hard to do. Just don’t buy duplicates of things you already have for one year.

For example, if you already have a notebook, don’t buy another one just because it’s cute and one day yours will run out of pages. Or if you have a black shirt, don’t buy another one because you think it will be more comfortable than the one you have.

You get the idea.

Related: Extreme Minimalism – Owning Less Than 15 Items

15. Go for walks without money.

How often do you go for walks? Once a week? Twice a week? Every day?

This challenge is about going for walks more often and not spending any money while doing it.

It happens to me a lot. I go for a walk and then I stop by a store and buy something. I could easily go for a walk without spending any money, but I don’t because I have my wallet with me. You know what I mean, right? I am not the only one, right?

So, leave your wallet at home and just enjoy the walk.

16. No online shopping for a month

Want to buy something? Go to a physical store. Don’t have time or energy to do that? Stay at home and save yourself some money.

It’s so easy to spend money when you are shopping online. You don’t see the money leaving your account, you just click on a button and the thing you want is yours. And before you know it, you have spent a lot of money.

So, this challenge is for you if you love online shopping.

For one month, don’t buy anything online. Just don’t do it. Resist the temptation. And see how much money you save.

How to make the most out of your shopping challenges?

You will save money, and that is the primary goal. But there are other benefits to be gained from doing shopping challenges. Here are some suggestions:

  • Use the time to figure out your shopping habits. Why do you spend money the way you do?
  • Educate yourself about personal finance and investing. This is a great way to learn about money and how to make it work for you.
  • Minimize the amount of stuff in your house. This will save you money in the long run and declutter your life!
  • Use the extra money you have to start an emergency fund or save for a big purchase.
  • Invest money. This is a great way to grow your wealth over time.
  • Consider charities. Use some of the money you save to donate to a worthy cause.

A shopping challenge can teach you something, even if you don’t realize it at the moment.

I used to be a shopaholic and I thought I could never give it up. But after doing a few (drastic) shopping challenges, I have learned to be content with what I have. I don’t need to buy things to feel happy, and I am now much more mindful of my spending.

Sometimes, we need to do things that are uncomfortable to learn and grow. A shopping challenge can be uncomfortable, but it is so worth it in the end!

Shopping challenge tips

1) Track your progress

Let’s say you take a No Spend Challenge. It is your first day of the challenge, you go for a walk with your dog and you pass by a store. In the shop window, you see a jacket that is on sale for 50% off. You want it, but you remember that you are doing a challenge. And you walk away.

You have just saved $100! But how do you track this? It is easy to forget about the money you save when you don’t see it in your bank account.

I recommend using a tracker of some sort, whether it is a spreadsheet, an app, or even a notebook. Write down (or type) every cent you save during the challenge. This will help you to stay motivated and on track.

2) Set a goal

What is your goal for the challenge? Do you want to save $100? $1000? 10% of your income?

Setting a goal will help you to stay focused and motivated. And it is always satisfying to reach a goal!

3) Find support

It can be difficult to stay motivated when nobody even knows about your challenge. But it is so much easier when you have somebody to support you and hold you accountable.

Find a friend or family member who is willing to do the challenge with you, or join an online support group.

4) Be prepared for temptations

They will happen.

I like to have a plan for when I am tempted to spend money.

For example, if I am tempted to buy a coffee, I will remind myself that I can make coffee at home for free. And I can also bake a cake, and I will still be ahead!

5) Have a rewarding deadline

When your challenge has ended, allow yourself to do something that you wanted to do for a long time. You can even buy something for yourself that you need. By doing so, you have created a positive association with saving money and being patient.

6) Use what you have

Is your freezer full of food? Use it! You don’t need to go out and buy more. Is your pantry full? Take an advantage of it! Plan your meals around what you have. Get creative and use what you have. You might be surprised at how much you can save.

I am not even saying anything about clothes or other things you might have around the house. Just use them!

7) Learn to enjoy the challenge

I don’t know how shopaholic you are, but for me, it was hard in the beginning. I had to learn to enjoy the challenge and see it as a game. As a true challenge. I challenged myself. And I won!

8) If you fail, don’t give up

It happens to forget about the challenge or to be way too tempted. If that happens, take a breath and don’t give up. One fail doesn’t mean the challenge is over. It means a mistake that you have to learn from.

9) Don’t overspend after finishing the challenge

Yes, you have finished the challenge, congratulations. But that doesn’t mean you should go and spend all the money you have saved.

Remember what you have learned during the shopping challenge and try to apply it to your everyday life.

10) Have fun!

This is, after all, a challenge. And challenges are supposed to be fun! Make sure you are enjoying the process. If you are not, take a step back and reassess why you are doing this challenge.

Final thoughts

Are you up for a challenge?

I know that it is hard to get into the right mindset to start a challenge. But all you need to do is to get started. After a week of the challenge, you will be more motivated since you will start seeing results.

It is also important to have the right mindset when starting a challenge. If you think of it as something you “have” to do, you will most likely fail. But if you see it as something fun that you “get” to do, you are more likely to succeed.

I hope you found this article helpful and that you will start your shopping challenge soon.

Have a challenging day!


Related: 20 Effective Ways to Stop Buying Stuff You Don’t Need

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