I believe to help our kids learn about money we should all have a ‘No Money Day’. A ’No Money Day’ isn’t just for people who don’t have a lot of money and need to save. In this short blog, I will explain why it's applicable to all.
Many people don’t believe a ‘No Money Day’ will save them a lot of money for two reasons:
It’s only one day, and;
In most cases, people will just defer their spending until the following day(s).
I, however, believe that there are many longer term benefits from doing a ‘No Money Day’, especially if you get your kids involved.
The benefits of a No Money Day
The three main benefits of doing a ‘No Money Day’ are:
ONE: Appreciate just how much you spend
One of the reasons people are in financial stress is that they don’t fully appreciate how much they spend. Even people who earn a lot of money find themselves with little left in savings as they underestimate how the small, but frequent, expenses add up.
Since 2009, I’ve kept a spreadsheet of how much we have in different accounts. I use this to see how much we have spent each month. Each month, without fail, I say ‘Wow, how did we spend that much!?!’. In most cases, it is just the little expenses adding up over the month.
The main purpose of a ‘No Money Day’ isn’t to get excited about how much you saved but to shine a light on just how much you spend in a day and how reliant you are on spending money.
The more we appreciate how much we spend, the more likely we are to make changes. As the saying goes ‘What gets monitored, get managed’.
Let your kids know how much you saved from doing your ‘No Money Day’!
TWO: Appreciate what you’ve already got
We are all easily bored of what we already have and hence we spend money to get something new or do something different.
A ‘No Money Day’ is a chance to challenge that boredom. A chance for kids to play with toys they’ve already got, watch a movie you’ve already seen, or read a book which they’ve already read (I’ve heard Grandpa’s Fortune Fables is good 😀).
It’s not just material things, it can be appreciating going to the local park swings or spotting wildlife outside.
THREE: An opportunity to be creative
Without money, we have to be more creative. The more we flex our creative muscles, the more creative we become.
The ‘No Money Day’ can be a chance to use some of the food in the cupboards that has been forgotten about (which is still safe to eat!). Get your kids involved and see what dishes they can come up with.
We had ‘Rainbow Beans on Toast’ for breakfast (which was beans on toast but with rainbow sprinkles on top) which was really fun. For dinner, we actually just had plain chicken, frozen veggies and plain boiled rice. The food was soo boring but we’ve never laughed so much during a meal. We made it fun by each taking it in turns telling each other ‘the most boring story you can think of’ and then, after, we pretended we were eating our most favourite food with each mouthful (inspired by the movie Hook). It was so much fun that my kids now say ‘Please can we have another “Boring Dinner”?’.
We need to remind kids to appreciate that they don’t need to spend more to have fun. They need to use their imagination and be creative and a ‘No Money Day’ allows them to do this.
Keep it positive
If you decide to do a ‘No Money Day’, make sure you don’t say you are doing this as you: “Don’t have any money” (regardless of whether that is true or not). We don’t want kids to grow up worrying about money, we want them to think positively about money.
Tell them that you are doing a ‘No Money Day’ as a fun challenge and to do something different. If you can afford to do so, you can say that the money you’ve saved that day will go to a charity to give it a shorter-term purpose.
Give it a go!
I recommend that you plan a ‘No Money Day’ for your family and make sure you get your kids involved.
The 3 benefits for you and your kids will be:
Appreciate just how much you spend
Appreciate what you’ve already got
An opportunity to be creative
These benefits can make a big difference to your family's views on money over the long-term. Many people who have done a ‘No Money Day’, have found they have made tweaks to their lifestyle as a result and this has had a material impact on their long-term savings.
At the end of your ‘No Money Day’, make sure to go through how the day went with your kids. Focus on the new things you did, e.g. went outside more, were creative with meals / snacks, spent more time together etc.
If you do a ‘No Money Day’, please let me know how it went!
Thanks for reading!
P.S. If you enjoyed this blog, it would be amazing if you could show your appreciation and support by ordering a copy of Grandpa's Fortune Fables