The Spending Fast Guidelines

As much as it pains me to say, I am not the original creator of the Spending Fast.  I heard of this death sentence challenge from Anna over at And Then She Saved.  Check her out, she's AWESOME!

The idea behind this spending fast is to basically only spend money on necessities for one whole year.  I decided to try this for many reasons, debt reduction is only a small one.  Like most Americans today, I find every month that I am living beyond my means.  I'm getting closer and closer to thirty (ahh!), and I have nothing to show for it.  My financial portfolio is comparable to that of a five year old... who doesn't have money savvy parents... and no college savings account... or a piggy bank.

I'm not looking forward to it.  I just know it's going to be really... hard.   Typically, I shop out of boredom, and when I see something I like, I buy it.  I am the epitome of a compulsive shopper.  I justify it like this, "I work hard for my money, so I'm going to treat myself and treat myself right."  However, this "living for the moment" mindset when it comes to spending is getting me no where as far as the future is concerned.  By now, I should probably start thinking about getting married, and home ownership, and retirement...  So that's what I'm going to do.  Stop thinking like a teenager in High School and start thinking like a responsible twenty-something adult.

Obviously, I have to spend money.  But I don't have to continue spending the way I do.  It's like the food addicts on Intervention.  They have to eat food or else they'll die, but they don't have to indulge their addiction to food.  Get it? Great.  Let's move on.  My goal with this spending fast is to essentially save as much money as I can.  I currently don't have any consumer debt (holla!) and I paid off my car loan last year, but I do have a few student loans out, and I really really really want to buy a house - a pretty lofty goal for someone who hasn't really even had the "renter" experience (I lived on my own for a few years, but after loosing my job I decided that while I'm in school, I'm still going to mooch of my parents).

One great thing about this spending fast is that "necessities" mean something different for everyone.  For example Anna had "gym membership" listed as one of hers.  I looked that and thought "my gym costs $50/month but P90X is free.  She could be saving $600/year by cutting that."  But I'm not her and you're not me, so like I said, every one's list will be different.  Here is the breakdown of I consider to be "necessities" that I will have to spend money on this year:

What I WILL spend money on:

Tithing (God comes first)

Savings (I realize that I'll be saving anyway, but the money I save each month may not necessarily go into my savings account)
401K (I just became eligible to enroll in my first 401K at work.  I'm such a grown-up! Too bad my company doesn't match! :o( )

Car Insurance

Cell Phone

Dr. Co-pays






What I WILL NOT spend money on:

Eating out


Clothes (Re-mix, make do & mend)

Beauty Products

Daily Naked Juice

Travel (unless necessary, see below)










Camera lenses or other accessories
Gifts (yes gifts.  I'm following Anna and re-gifting or hand making... Awesome)
This is just a "working" list if you will.  I'm sure I will add to it as I remember some of the stuff I often blow money on.  I know that there will be situations in which I will need to spend money that I don't plan for (weddings, births, etc.)  So I'll just have to cross those bridges when I get there.  

*Because my parents are kind enough to let me live with them, I am blessed to not have to consider rent, utilities or even food really as necessities.
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