Do you want to save some serious cash next month?
Then a thirty-day financial diet may be just the thing for you!
I put myself on a “financial diet” at least twice a year and this enables me to put away hundreds of dollars that would normally get spent on what I call “stuff.”
What’s a financial Diet?
Like a food diet, a financial diet is cutting back on the fat, so to speak.
Everyone spends money on things that are not absolutely essential to living – eating out in restaurants, lattes on the way to work every morning, movies, and just plain stuff.
I am no exception – except the coffee (never got into that habit).
So when I need to come up with some extra money or want to save money for travel, I go on a financial diet for a month. I pick two of the months every year that there is not a lot going on in my life (no holidays, big events, vacations, etc.) and I cut my spending back to the bare minimum.
This means no spending money on anything that is not essential for the entire month.
I pay my bills, buy food, and get gas for my vehicle and that’s about it. I do allow myself little extra expenses up to about $2.00 occasionally in case I want to buy something small.
I don’t eat out, go to movies, go shopping, or charge anything unnecessary on my credit card for the entire month.
So What Do I Do for 30 Days?
Glad you asked.
This is the part where losing weight comes in. It is possible to lose weight while you’re on a financial diet.
During the last month that I did this money diet, I lost 6 pounds. Results will vary, of course, depending on your starting weight and how much you exercise, but it’s a great side benefit of saving money!
I was not eating out during this period, so that is a savings of a lot of calories right there. No grabbing a meal at McDonalds or an ice cream treat at Dairy Queen, or over-eating at an Italian restaurant.
Preparing food at home is cheaper and you will generally eat less.
I also have time to exercise more. I have a gym membership, and I can’t cancel it for a just for a month, so I take advantage of that “paid for” facility to swim and use the exercise equipment. This helps me to lose more weight, and also occupies more of my time so I am not tempted to buy stuff or go places where spending money is required.
I also come up with free things to do. I love to read, so instead of buying e-books for my Kindle (even though they are fairly cheap), I go to the library and enjoy spending time browsing through the books to find a new author that I would enjoy reading.
I am an Amazon Prime member which enables me to watch free videos on my Kindle. The library also has videos and movies you can check out for free.
One of the others things I do in the winter is to go to a conservatory that is nearby. It is wonderfully warm, humid, and filled with flowers and tons of greenery. It’s an oasis in the middle of a Midwest winter. They ask for a $2.00 donation, which I am happy to give for the convenience of being able to spend time there. This is one of the reasons why I allow myself those small expenses occasionally.
In the summer months it’s easier to come up with free things to spend my time doing because it’s warmer out. Walking, biking, rollerblading are all free and help to lose weight. I try to stay away from things like festivals where I know I am likely to spend money.
Other free things that come to mind are going on a picnic, hiking, going to a lake and swim, going to a nearby town to explore, taking digital photos, taking up gardening, walking a neighbor or friend’s dog, or enjoying the sunshine from your lounge chair.
There are many ways to amuse yourself that won’t cost you a dime if you think about it.
How Much Money Can You Save?
Of course, it depends on your spending habits and other factors. If you are a big spender of unnecessary stuff, you are going to save way more money than someone who isn’t.
In the past I have actually saved over $700.00 in a one-month period by putting myself on a financial diet and just saying “no” to all the unnecessary stuff.
Again, results will vary depending on your income, monthly bills, and the cost of food and gas in your city, but I’ve found that it’s a real eye-opener to see how much extra money I would have if I didn’t buy “stuff.”
A Financial Diet Plan Is Easy & It Works
Spending money only on necessities isn’t always fun, but the reason it works is because it’s only for a limited time.
Thirty days and that’s it.
Then I’m back to my regular life style. But the big difference is that I will have at least several hundred dollars left at the end of my financial diet month.
Are You Up for the challenge?
It’s really not as hard as it may seem, but if thirty days just seems too long, start out with a weekend.
Commit to spending absolutely no money from Friday night to Monday morning. I did this recently on a cold winter weekend when I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. I spent the time at home taking care of all those things I’d been meaning to get caught up on.
If you are willing to commit to a financial diet and “just say no” to all extra spending for one month, your checkbook will surely be a little (or a lot!) more flush with cash!
Guest Writer Bio: Dianne Swanson is a travel blogger who occasionally posts about saving money for travel.