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Let me start this post by saying… August kicked my butt financially. I spent hundreds of dollars on various items. Some were things I needed. Others were not. Overall, I would consider August a cheat month… a BIG cheat month. I haven’t spent money in that way for a very long time, so I’m forgiving myself for the weakness. You will find out more about why August was such a struggle in my third-quarter reports.
Would you believe that you can get tired of spending money? While most of the things bought in August were smart and fun purchases, I was so exhausted with spending by the end of it, I needed a spending detox.
For years, I have wanted to try a spending fast. The Spending Fast was first created by Anna Newell Jones of AndThenWeSaved.com. She completed her own spending fast for more than a year to pay off her credit card and student loan debt. A spending fast is where you cut out all unnecessary spending. This means no more eating out, hair cuts, new clothes, spontaneous purchases, vacations, etc. While some people may think this sounds extreme, it is all relative to how you feel about your debt.
As you know, I’ve been trying to kill my debt for two years. I started this debt journey in September 2015 when I joined the Air Force. Since then, I have made little progress on reducing my total debt number. I started with $67,709. According to my last debt report, I still have $65,000 of debt. Granted, I bought a newer, reliable car during that time. Looking back on it now, that decision helped set me back two years on my debt journey. Let’s pretend I paid the car off in two years…
Here are just a few of the things that have tripped me up since starting my debt-payoff journey in 2015:
- my GMC Terrain ($21000)
- new furniture and electronics ($2000)
- clothes and hobbies [mostly my husband’s] ($2500)
- insurance deductibles ($2000)
- eating out ($2000)
These things add up quickly. All of these purchases were either financed or bought with credit. While I make huge payments on my credit cards and pay off these charges, it has kept much of my debt pay-off stagnant. Believe me when I say that the credit cards must go if you’re trying to become debt free.
September 2017 marks a life change for me. I am getting serious about the debt and changing my ways. A Spending Fast is the best way for me to kickstart this endeavor. I accept what has happened in the last two years, and now I am starting over.
A new debt freedom journey begins today.
What does a Spending Fast mean for me?
So what does a spending fast look like for me? How is this going to impact my life? Below I give a brief overview of my biggest spending offenders.
- Eating out. I have struggled with eating out for a couple months now. Blame this on my lack of self-control and friends’ love for dining out and grabbing coffees. I was buying coffee 2-3 times a week and eating out 4-5 times. Sometimes I would eat out for lunch and dinner. My alcohol intake also increased with this. NO MORE. This will be the hardest to combat.
- Clothes. I bought a lot of clothes in August. Remember how one of my 2017 resolutions was to purge? Well, I purged so much of my old and deteriorated clothing that I found myself without any decent attire, and I’m not exaggerating. It had been years since I spent money on clothes for myself, and I sort of let go last month. I even signed up for Stitch Fix (click my referral link to try Stitch Fix for yourself!). I’ll be writing a review on that experience later. September will be a month of zero clothes shopping.
- Spontaneous purchases at random stores. Target is banned from my radar this month. I will not open the weekly ad emails. My grocery budget also got an overhaul this month. The goal is to keep my grocery and gas budget under $400 combined. This is going to be tough. I have already spent $150 in this category and we’re barely a week in.
How much am I trying to save?
My goal is to pay an additional $1650 on the Discover card. After playing with the budget and calculating the numbers, I think I can safely put this amount towards the debt. I just paid $600 on the Discover card today and should be able to put the other $1050 down next payday.
It may sound crazy, but I am really excited to focus on this minimalist mindset and eat ramen and PB and J’s for the next three weeks. My friends are on board and supporting me through this, so that has been a help too.
I’ll give you an update on how my September Spending Fast goes next month! Have you ever done a Spending Fast? Do you have any tips or hints to make the time easier?