Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Spending Diet: Challenge Accepted

I like to be honest when I blog because I when I read other people’s writing, I like to be able to either relate, or not relate. For instance, someone who makes tons of money and lives debt free might not get as much from the blogs I write compared to the low-moderate income person who is trying to pay down debt. We are all different, and when it comes to making life better and easier for us, we have to find out what works for us. That is why there are so many diets and acne medicines out there. Different solutions work for different people! I say this as a preface for the advice I write about. Most of what I write about is from research or my own personal experiences. I find finances really fascinating. I grew up in a house that talked a lot about finances and celebrated saving money and getting out of debt. I am always interested to hear others’ success stories and challenges. So when I came across a blog written by a woman named Anna who was able to pay off $24,000 of debt in 15 months by cutting spending, I had to know how she did it.

First, she made a list of her needs. From those expenses, she saw where she could cut costs. I decided to immediately make this list, and here is what I came up with:

-Student Loan
-Car Insurance
-Cell phone bill
-Gym Membership
-Gifts (had a really hard time with this one. She says it’s not a need, but I feel it is a necessity to give people gifts on occasions and holidays)
-Coffee (morning ritual; she says it is a want, but it is something I could cut down on)

Next, she says to stop spending money except for things that are on your NEEDS list.

Since this is The Spending Diet as apposed to the Spending Fast, she is allowing herself to spend $100 a month on non-needs (entertainment, clothes, etc.). This was a hard one for me (I am not quite ready to embark on the Spending Fast). Cutting down my non-needs to $100 is going to be tough, but the money left over can go to my student loan!

February Expenses:
-Coffee $20 (giving up coffee for lent starting February 13)
-Gift for a friend $0 (going to make it homemade this time which is hard for me because I love to buy people gifts)
-Superbowl $10 (gotta eat delicious food)
-Trip to Raleigh $40 (doing the Krispy Kreme Challenge)
-Valentines Day $20 (making and buying simpler gifts than what I usually try to do)
-Other $10

Wow. This is a big difference from last month. Anna says once the money is gone, it is gone. You can’t buy anything else besides needs for the rest of the month!

This is going to be tough but I am going to do this for my remaining 6 months and track my progress. I am excited to see where this will take me. If I keep this up, I could put quite a bit of extra money towards my student loan each month. We will see just how much extra I have at the end of the month. Will you take this challenge with me?

For more information on The Spending Diet, visit Anna’s website at

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