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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - Spending Fast

The title of this post is intentionally misleading  :)  I'm not talking about fast as an adverb, like to run fast or to eat fast, but as a noun.   Now it has a whole new meaning!  A fast is to go without something, for a higher or greater purpose.  It is often associated with spiritual things but we are going to use it in the context of household finances.

Having a spending fast means going without spending for a specific length of time.  It can help you see where your spending weaknesses are.  It can help you start a new budget program.  It can help you save money for a large purchase or current or anticipated need.

First determine how long you're going to do this fast...for this example I'm going to say one month.  It could be one week or as much as a year (I've never tried that one!).  But by doing it for a month, you're doing it long enough to begin to break certain bad spending habits and form new ones..theoretically  :)

For the duration of the month, only spend money on the things you HAVE to have...things like bills, rent or mortgage, gas for getting to work, basic food etc.  This would also be a good month to start tracking your spending because you're not going to be spending very much.  Try to keep your meals simple and use what you have in your freezer and pantry before replenishing your food supply.  No recreational spending, no entertainment spending, no spending for the kids except for necessities.  Money normally used for these things can be put into savings for use after you have completed your fast.  See how little you spend.

This exercise takes will power and self control but it is a worthwhile challenge to try occasionally.  The nice thing about a spending fast is that it is temporary and you can do just about anything if you know it has an ending.   And at the end, you have something good to show for your effort!


  1. Great idea! The other way I see this is as a chance to push the reset button when things get out of control. The one amendment I would add is that like fasting involving food, it is all too tempting to splurge leading up to a fast and immediately following. I would suggest building the fast into a greater plan going forward. This might involve identifying one area of weakness/temptation (out-to-eat, books, DVDs, video games, online subscriptions, iPad/iPod apps, etc) to focus on trimming. Also, find out how much you can save, then come up with The Number.... if you can save this much when "fasting," then here's how much you can save with a reasonable return to spending.

    1. Excellent suggestions! And I like how you mentioned this as a chance to push the reset button when you're out of control. Thanks for the additions!