No Spend January gains momentum as people look to control finances

Just as some people choose to avoid alcohol at the start of the new year, a growing number are looking to avoid another sort of hangover.

No Spend January has been gaining steam with consumers on TikTok and other social media platforms. And just like Dry January, the concept is fairly simple: Adjust your habits and resist the urge to buy things you don’t absolutely need.

That means no dinners out. No shopping the holiday clearance sales. No travel. And goodbye to your favorite barista for a while.

Think of it as a Whole30 for your wallet.

The hashtag has racked up nearly 46 million views on Tiktok, as people offer tips and progress reports on their own efforts.

Of course, spending no money in the month isn’t possible, so perhaps better name for the trend is Minimal Spend January. And some people are trying the trend out for shorter periods, such as a week (or even weekend).

Longer time followers of the trend, though, say it has been revolutionary. TikTok user thesavvysagittarius says after two years of closely tracking her spending and taking part in No Spend January, she has paid off $8,000 in debt and established an emergency fund for car repairs. She expects to be debt-free by the end of this year.

The rules for No Spend January vary from person to person. Some drop non-essential bills, like streaming services. Others reduce their grocery budget, while extremists use the month to empty out their pantry (or stockpile in December to avoid the grocery altogether this month). In general, extravagances like meals out, Starbucks runs, new clothes and movie or concert tickers are not allowed – though some allocate a small budget for discretionary spending.

In general, say proponents, it’s a way to step off the spending treadmill, which you sometimes don’t even realize you’re on. That pause can create better habits for the months that follow.

“I’m considering it because I need to break the dopamine habit of buying things that aren’t necessary,” wrote one Reddit user. “I do believe that I can’t have more freedom in my budget if I can break that behavior.”

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