The Ultimate Financial Experiment: 4 Tips to Guide You Through a Month of No Spending

You've probably conducted a similar, informal experiment where you went an entire day (maybe even an entire week) without spending any money. But can you imagine going an entire month without spending any money at all--with a family, too? This might seem like an impossible and even dangerous challenge to take on. However, previous trials have shown that it actually can be done with proper preparation beforehand. If you think you can take on the challenge and potentially save your family hundreds of dollars in a single month, start your project off right with these four frugal tips.

1. Clip Coupons

If you're used to clipping a coupon here and there for a few basic items, get ready to get into extreme mode for your spending-free experiment. Coupons are great for saving money on everyday shopping trips, but the savings are most dramatic when you use them to buy in bulk. To prepare for your month of no spending, use coupons to stock up on a month's supply (and then some) of groceries, toiletries and other items your family needs.

2. Opt for At-Home Entertainment

Going out to eat, seeing a movie in theaters and hitting the bar can be fun ways to spend the weekends, but you'd be surprised how quickly these entertainment choices can add up. Still, refraining from these activities doesn't mean you can't have fun! Instead of going out to dinner and a movie, enjoy a fun dinner from scratch and a TV movie at home to have an evening of growing closer as a family without spending a dime. You can even get some fresh air and exercise by going on a nice evening bike ride or even try taking a backyard camping trip for a nice rendezvous with the cost-free natural world.

3. Seek Out Freebies

There is a popular phrase that says "the best things in life are free," and it actually holds some truth. Many companies give out free samples of their products to customers with the hopes that you'll become a frequent customer after trying these items. For example, Proctor and Gamble allows customers to sign up for a number of free samples during certain periods of the year and will mail them to you absolutely free. You can find freebies like this everywhere, from free pancake day at IHOP to free Slurpee day at 7 Eleven to free samples at your local grocery store.

4. Do It Yourself

Are you used to having the maid come once a week? Recruit the family and clean the home on your own. Accidentally ripped a hole in your new shirt? Take out your sewing kit instead of buying a new one. Little projects like these that may have you instinctively reaching for your wallet can actually be solved fairly easily with a little effort in a DIY project. When you're cutting back on expenses, the key is to be creative and self-reliant, which can benefit you even after your month-long experiment.

With the holiday season right around the corner, having an extra chunk of savings from this experiment will certainly be useful for covering gifts, lavish dinners and other extravagant expenses that often build your credit card debt during this time. However, the project isn't just for short-term benefits, but offers a great way to learn new tips for saving throughout the rest of the year. Starting off with just these four tips above can get you off on the right track to your ultimate goal of frugal living and independence.