When you read the title for this post, you probably read it one of two ways:
“How does HE know I spend fast?” Or, the way I mean, which is the same as a spending “freeze”. Now, hold on! Don’t leave yet… I know, when I say spending fast, I can almost hear your eyes glaze over (I wonder what that sound would be…)!
But here’s the thing: Just like it’s healthy for your body to skip a meal every now and then, it’s good for your finances to stop spending on occasion. That’s not a very popular thing to say, but that doesn’t make it less true! And you KNOW I like to say unpopular things! (Woot!)
Now, I know it costs to live. You have to put fuel in your car to get to work, and you have to pay the electric bill if you want your lights to stay on. But, hopefully you’d agree with me that a large part of our spending is not necessary. For instance, the coffee at the convenience store on the way to work in the morning. (You could make a cup at home.) The soda out of the break room when you need a boost after lunch (you could take a case of them and save a lot of money, or (gasp!) drink water instead. (What did he just say?! WHAT did he just say?! I know he didn’t!!) How about not eating lunch out, and brown bag it? Cooking dinner at home instead of going out…
If you stop and think about it, we spend a LOT on little items. But man, do they add up…
What would happen to your finances if you stopped all these little cash drops? Think it would make a big difference? What if you tried it for a day? What if you got your spouse on board? Think you could handle it for a week? What about a month? What about a month-long spending fast?
OK, in the interest of full disclosure, we first had the idea to do this when we had a REALLY big spending month. When we looked at our monthly statement, we were both like “Uh… Seriously?” But here’s the crazy part: We went through the statement to find what we spent our money on, because surely there were some big ones… right? Well, the truth is that we could only find a couple of significant expenditures. The majority of it was $10 here, $26 there… Our big thing is Amazon. Sometimes we’ll think of something we’d like to check out, and in 5 minutes, we just buy it. “It’s only $11, and it’s on prime!” A little more truth here: Amazon is a little too easy for us. You know, in the old days, you had the hassle of driving to the store, standing in line, not finding the item you want so you have to go somewhere else, etc. On Amazon, it’s all just THERE. That’s not a good thing in some ways. What’s that, you say? You don’t have that problem? You’re right. It’s probably just us. We’re probably the weirdos… Oh, you know someone else who’s the same way? Good friend of yours? Yeah, got it. 😉
So we discussed a couple of options to keep the spending at bay. One thing we might implement is to give ourselves a small allowance ($20 for Tami, $100 for me…hehe) each week that we can spend on whatever we want, guilt free. That might be good. But the thing we’re trying this month is a complete spending fast. Yes, for a month.
I’m thinking about doing this once a year for an entire month and see what happens. I’ll keep you posted.
So what about you? Any great ideas you’d like to share? You know I’m all ears (and disconnected earlobes! Hey, it’s hereditary! Don’t make fun…)!