Spending diets – the juice fasts of personal finance.
I’m seeing a lot about this topic from financial bloggers this month. If you follow me on Instagram you know that I love my green juices, but I don’t want to survive on liquid for thirty days. While I love the general message of starting the year with some positive financial change, going on a restrictive “diet” isn’t the most enjoyable path to wellth.
We don’t have to deprive ourselves in order to be financially healthy.
We do have to say no to what’s less important so that we can say YES to what really matters to us. I like to follow the 80/20 rule rule, and focus on a few small, easy changes I can make that will have an overall positive impact in my life.
For example, I decided to swap my four-times-a-week Starbucks Green Tea Latte for a homemade version with matcha from David’s Tea. This simple switch is saving me almost 30g in sugar per drink, and close to $40 a month. Very wellthy, indeed.
Not sure what small, easy changes you can make?
Start by reviewing your spending commitments
Spending commitments are the things that you have signed up to pay for on a monthly basis. Scan your credit card and bank statement from last month to jog your memory for what your commitments are. Then, ask yourself if you can trim back on those expenses or get more for what you’re already paying. You can use that extra cash to pay down your holiday bill, save a bit extra, or make room for something that you previously felt guilty spending on.
Three ways to save money
Here’s what our family did last weekend, in less than two hours:
- Call your cable/internet provider to ask about discounts. We upgraded our internet to unlimited data and added a home phone… and cut the bill by $20 per month. Probably more when you consider all the data overages from my streaming habits! Unlimited data got me like…
- Call your cell phone provider too. We upgraded a phone for free, and negotiated an extra G of data for the same price. Easy peasy.
- Review your subscriptions for stuff that no longer excites you. We cancelled my premium Tidal membership – sorry Jay and Bey! (I reserve the right to re-activate if my girl releases another album Lemonade-style in 2017 … I’ll happily pay $10 to have instant access to her newest music). We also reviewed the cost of my Class Pass membership to check that it still made financial sense since they removed the unlimited classes option. Yes, it’s still an incredible deal.
I’m not someone who subscribes to the extreme-frugality lifestyle, but I do think it’s smart to make sure that you’re not throwing away money. With just a few hours of time we trimmed our fixed expenses and increased the value we’re receiving. Best of all, I feel really good about myself for being so proactive. I’ll have my green juice, and my chocolate, too.