Have You Tried a Spending Diet?

by Miranda Marquit · 0 comments

As the new year begins, many of us think about putting together a new budget. Part of the reason that a new budget is so tempting is due to the fact that many of us are experiencing a kind of financial hangover with the end of the holiday season — and all of the spending that often takes place during that time. As a result, it seems only natural to make frugal goals that include spending less. Perhaps spending a lot less.

Going on a Spending Diet

One of the tools that some people use to simplify their lives and shock themselves out of the habits of consumerism is a spending diet. Some also refer to this spending diet as a financial fast. As you might imagine, the idea is to stop spending money. It’s a radical way to re-make your finances. At least for a little while.

When you go on a spending diet, you make a conscious decision not to spend any money that isn’t absolutely necessary. Obviously, you will need to spend money on your bills, and on groceries. And, if you are stuck in a contract for certain services like cell phone and TV, you might need to keep making those payments. But the basic idea is to spend as little as possible, abstaining from the things that you can live without.

Your spending diet means that you pick a certain period of time — a month is usually a good amount of time — to stop spending on things that aren’t necessary. This means that you have an automatic wait period on all of the things that you want, whether it’s a new shirt, a great deal on some small kitchen appliance or going out to eat. Although, to be honest, I don’t think I could completely give up eating out. It’s probably a weakness, but my spending diet will consist of eating out less: Three times a month instead of six.

Indeed, to make sure that you stick with your plan, it might be a good idea to think of a couple of things that give you pleasure, and, rather than cutting them out altogether, reduce your spending on them by half.

Spending Less on Food

You will still need to eat, of course, but that doesn’t mean that your grocery bill can’t benefit from a spending diet. At the start of your spending diet, go through your food storage, including your freezer and pantry, to see what you have. Commit to eating some of the older items in your storage, so that you can properly rotate. If you plan a couple of meals a week around what you already have, it will reduce the amount you need to spend at the grocery store.

Changing Your Habits

The biggest concern with a spending diet, of course, is the fact that, like all diets, when you stop you can find yourself back to where you started — or even worse. So it’s important to use your spending diet as a chance to change your money habits. Perhaps you can do this by changing small things at a time. Pick 6 or 7 things you want to improve on, and then do a spending diet for that item. After a few months, you will begin to see the cumulative effects of cutting things out gradually, rather than trying to go cold turkey all at once.

Have you ever been on a spending diet? Did it help you change your habits?

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

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