The Spend Nothing Game: Prizes, Rewards, and Motivation

by Randy Murray on March 2, 2010

Some of you playing the Spend Nothing Game have suggested that rewards and motivation might be helpful to make not spending more palatable.  Incentives are certainly attractive, but can easily turn the Spend Nothing Game in a “Save Money For Something Big To Spend Money On” exercise.

I’ve spent years working with sales teams. One of the ways I’ve seen salespeople motivate themselves to work harder, strive for greater success, is to pin a picture of something they want up on their wall above their phone - an expensive car, a beach vacation, an expensive watch. They tap into their desires to drive their actions.

But that’s not the point of the Spend Nothing Game. This game is about deciding what you really want out of life — not a shorter-term prize for good or ‘winning’ behavior — and not letting the little things distract you and get in your way. And for those of us who make our way in life without full time employment, that focus and awareness is a vital skill.

But we can learn something from these sales professionals. To master this game, you have to be clear on what you really want. You are the only one who can say what that thing is. It might be the freedom to work when and how you want. It might be financial stability for your family. It very well might be a Rolex watch — nothing is ruled out; it’s up to you. But to play this game, whatever it is you really want must be combined with all of the things you actually need to survive and stay healthy. Be clear on this: virtually everything else comprises things you do not need, no matter how much you may want them.

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? And yet it’s so hard to peel those wants away.

Your reward, your incentive, your motivation is that thing you want most in life. Picture it. Keep it foremost in your mind. Pin it to your wall.

Got it?

The rest is easy. Simply eliminate everything else.

How do you play the Spend Nothing Game? What do you need to win? How long can you go without spending ANYTHING? Please share your tips and comments.

Tomorrow: Learn How To Cook – A Required Skill To Win The Spend Nothing Game.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 missy March 2, 2010 at 9:03 am

This is a great series you are doing Randy. I love it.


2 Randy Murray March 2, 2010 at 9:21 am

Thanks, Missy. More to come! And I’m interested in suggestions on ways to make the Spend Nothing Game fun and successful for others.



3 Linda March 2, 2010 at 11:32 am

I think your Spend Nothing Game is a wonderful concept and I hope it catches on in a big way.
So many people have sold themselves and their time for a paycheck at an unsatisfying or downright miserable job. Their money just slides away from them, they have no savings and they don’t really know why. This “game” is really an excellent way to get a realistic view of where your money goes. Then you can evaluate whether this use of money is serving your dreams…or just postponing them.


4 Randy Murray March 2, 2010 at 11:38 am

Thanks, Linda!

I know a number of people that are bringing home paychecks in the high six figures, but are still living paycheck to paycheck. It’s frightening.

The game part is important for those of us who have a choice on how to spend their money. It’s all about choosing, not necessarily sacrifice. I’m going to keep writing on the subject. And I’m thinking about putting up a separate site to focus on the game aspects as well as let others share their ideas on having fun and living frugally without spending!

Thanks for your comment,



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