I have to be honest, up until a few years ago I had never heard this term or concept.
By definition, a Spending Diet means to restrain from spending!
Breeeaaaathe. Breathe. Breathe.
A spending diet may be just the power you need to get your financial act together.
How I Got Started
A few years ago, my Pastor announced to our congregation that we would follow a spending diet for one entire year. One full year of no spending on clothing, accessories, household decor, and any other item that was not a necessity. In addition, we would use this “saved or new found money” to pay off debt, save or invest in a worthwhile and honorable endeavor.
I have to admit that while I was shocked, I was also intrigued. I had never heard of such a thing. I had never done such a thing. So honestly I was ready to jump in purely for the challenge. I’m that kind of girl–not willing to let a challenge defeat me.
We had almost two months, both mentally and physically, to prepare for this new lifestyle. My Pastor recommended buying everything that you needed or think that you needed before January 1, which was our kickoff date!
I chose my accountability partner and got started and I’m happy to report that I actually did it!
I abstained from any shopping for an entire year and you can do the same!
Read below for tips on how you can survive your own Spending Diet and show money that you’re the boss and not the other way around.
How to Survive Your Own Spending Diet
1. Commit yourself to your goal with the belief that you will succeed.
Athletes who win gold at the Olympics don’t dream about the silver. They fix their mind, their environment and habits on winning the gold. Likewise you have to focus your thoughts on successfully beginning and completing your spending diet. If you don’t make up your mind that you can do this, I guarantee that you won’t.
2. Clearly define your spending categories to “give up” during the diet.
This is key because it will require that you analyze your budget to help you identify your areas of overspending. If you love the movies to the tune of let’s just say, $250 a month (tickets, popcorn, candy, etc.) but your savings account is low or negative, then going to the movies should be included in your diet. Knowing what is causing you to remain in the cycle of always running out of money before the month ends is crucial to your success.
3. Choose carefully your accountability partner(s).
Have you ever heard that bad company brings corruption? Well it’s true and can be found in Proverbs. Your accountability partner must be someone that you can trust with your newly established goal and here is the true test of their credibility. If once you tell them what you’re getting ready to do and they immediately jump on board and cheerfully give you a vote of support and confidence, then you have found the right partner! But if they pass judgement or say that you can’t complete such a goal, then keep looking because you have landed on the wrong doorstep. Choose wisely.
4. Realize the power of what you already possess.
Will more things actually improve your quality of life? Most people, if honest, can answer no to this question. Most people, myself included, can conclude that what I presently possess could easily last me another year or more! In fact, once you realize the power of what you presently own you may find something unexpected like gratitude. It will shift your focus from believing that the next pair of anything is when you will have bliss, peace and acceptance.
5. Don’t waste time and energy convincing others that they should join you in your Spending Diet.
When I went through my yearlong diet, no one else in my inner circle was participating and that was okay. This was for me, not them. I wanted to see different financial results because what I presently was doing wasn’t working. We foolishly believe that we can create better results in life by always doing what we have always done. This again perpetuates the cycle of lack and insufficiency–always being broke and not sure why. Not able to save money, short term or long term, and not sure why. It’s your spending habits and until a radical event breaks the cycle, the results will be the same.
Some results from my Spending Diet
1. I developed confidence.
With God’s grace and help, I met a challenge and I experienced that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
2. I saved money.
While I was already a saver, this helped me to save even more money. That’s never a bad thing!
3. My focus shifted from consumption to empowerment.
I was able to focus more on work and other personal goals. When going to the mall isn’t important, your creativity opens up and you find new and better ways to be you.
I strongly encourage you to consider a Spending Diet if you want to shift your financial results. The blessing is that there is more reward than financial gain. If gaining financial victories were easy, more people would have them. But it’s not easy and we become stuck and even comfortable with a life of debt, payments, no savings, and no investments.
Tell me your story. Have you participated in a spending diet, and if so, how did you do? If you have not, but would like to and need support, I would love to be your accountability partner!
You can do this!
On His amazing team,