30 Day Spending Fast

An idea that worked well for me for a few years was a 30 day spending fast. And I enjoyed having the company of others. So I am going to start this years spending fast on May 1st.

One year I used the money to pay off some appliances, another to beef up my emergency account. This year we are doing the spending fast to save money for our vacation in June. We’ve been saving, but we want this vacation to be purely a cash vacation.

The goal is to buy only the necessities like food. And really discover needs vs. wants. Some ideas to help:

  • Eat from your pantry
  • Stay out of stores you tend to impulse buy at
  • Only run errands once a week
  • If you see something you think would be really helpful to you, write it on a list to buy next month. See if you still feel this way next month.
  • Barter/trade/borrow

The most important thing to do, is decide what is necessary and what isn’t BEFORE you do the fast. Otherwise, that half off scarf might end up being a necessity. Necessities for me this month:

  • Haircut before vacation, since I haven’t cut my hair in probably 4 months or so
  • Food, but not exotic items and fancy cheeses
  • If I find a pair of good, brown walking shoes
  • Presents for various May events
  • Personal/household items like soap, toilet paper, and toothpaste

If you want to join me, let me know in the comments.

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  • Laura

    My husband and I tried to do this last month, and were moderately successful. May is tough because of our son’s first birthday, 2 graduations, and 2 weddings, but we are planning on trying to do it again in June.

  • Jessica

    Great idea! We’re on board with anything that will help us save for my upcoming trade of my day job for full-scale launch of a small business. Thanks!

  • Cathryn

    This has been on my heart for a couple of weeks now and even though I am not a serial shopper, I am finding this a challenge. Most enlightening is how I impulsively buy. I’ve stopped myself, but even the urge is embarrassing. We, too are planning a vacation so those walking shoes for my husband and myself are on that list to buy. I’m going to have to come clean with my friends, because I have always been up for dinner or a movie at a moments notice. I’m already amazed at my bank balance. I am living on what I thought would be impossible before. Event food shopping is where I have way overspent and wasted in the past. I am now up for the mother’s day task at hand!!

  • Janine

    Great start for the month! We will try our best to work on this. Also working on selling things online while I am cleaning out closets. Just sold 4 perfumes that I recieved but have never used and we made $70.00. Thanks!

  • Julia

    I’m definitely in!!! i have a huge spending addiction … $12 here, $8 there …. boy does it add up fast! I’m excited for the challenge!!

  • Liz

    Yes, I’ve been thinking I’m getting a little out of control lately. I’m usually very good about only buying things we need, but we’ve had salary increases lately (a very wonderful thing!) that make impulse spending even easier. Time to bring it back to basics again so we don’t piddle away the “new” money. Helps that we are hoping to move soon, making saving that much more fun! A great idea to plan out “needs” ahead of time…need to think on that list!

  • Julie

    i am in, too! i can justify all my expenditures, but not all of them were necessary. so, with the rest of you, i deciding today, to be successful with this. thank you for sharing. i am not alone in this! look out piggy bank, you are gonna get some pork!

  • Mary

    I’m in. We just did our bills today and we’ve been spending less so it was good news. I have been doing a great deal of gardening. We bought a smaller home 2 years ago that needed a lot of work. We bought it mortgage free by selling our former big house. The property was abandoned for about 10 years. It was very overgrown. This is the summer of the landscaping, to be done almost entirely by me. I bought many of the plants by catalog over the course of the winter, mainly bare root nursery stock which is smaller but cheaper. I will set a moderate sized budget for purchases for a few more items after my next pay check in mid May. We were about $120,000(not counting the mortgage) in debt a few years ago and we worked our way out of it completely little by little. I never want to go back. We have no credit card debt now.

  • Tawnya

    I’m excited to be participating! I have only a mortgage and no other debt. I generally live on a spending fast each month but am having to buckle down even more since my son graduates and will be losing $400 each month from child support. I’ve found the very best way to stay within a budget is by putting the debit card away and getting back to using the envelope system. Budget what you absolutely have to have, put cash for each budget item in an envelope and only use only the envelopes for the month.

  • Renee

    I’m in! Our biggest weakness is eating out (and the Starbucks drive-thru!) Going to try to cut that out this month!

  • Kathleen

    I really need to do this, so I am joining you on this challenge. It is easy to pick up extra things, or just a couple of dollars for toys, or a cheap Kindle book, or just one song on iTUNES. I will do this!

  • Angela

    I’m in. I’ve just found out I’m pregnant, so we’ll need all the spare cash we can get! I’m bad at impulse buys – I shop at second hand stores so the outlay is never much, but it still lowers my bank balance.

  • Susan Kelly

    I’ll try!


    * Food – fruit, milk, etc. I’m going to try and eat up what I have and not spend so much
    * Gifts – Brother’s Anniv, MIL b-day, Dad’s b-day, 1 kids b-day, Mother’s Day 🙂
    * Plant stakes (not really a necessity, but if I don’t do it soon, my plants will just die)
    * Gas for the car.
    * New sneakers for me, mine are 4 mo old and I have worn them into the ground (I wear them at work)

  • Susan Kelly

    I’m going to try!


    * Food – fruit, milk, etc. I’m going to try and eat up what I have and not spend so much
    * Gifts – Brother’s Anniv, MIL b-day, Dad’s b-day, 1 kids b-day, Mother’s Day 🙂
    * Plant stakes (not really a necessity, but if I don’t do it soon, my plants will just die)
    * Gas for the car.
    * New sneakers for me, mine are 4 mo old and I have worn them into the ground (I wear them at work)

  • Dottie

    I so need to do this, but May is really hard. I’ve committed to doing it though, and mentioned it on my blog, with a link to this post.

  • Lisa

    Im in…lets give it a shot…given my husband just found out he is loosing his job!

    I started a frugal club in January but the other 2 girls did not really get into it so much

  • Rachel

    I am definitely in! I have been telling my husband that I was going to get strict with the budget and this is the perfect challenge for us!

  • Marti L.

    I think a spending fast is a great idea! Also, Beth mentioned using food in our pantry. Great way to de-clutter the pantry. If I don’t eat it during the “fast” perhaps it should be thrown out or, if still edible, donate it to a food pantry.

  • Lisa

    I’m in……definitely get spending reigned in. We have a couple of trips we would like to do this summer, and do not want to have the charge them. A pantry challenge is awesome…..we eat out to much and have so much we can be eating here at home. Looking forward to getting this started!

  • Mary

    Day 1 recycled various old and new catalogs to get temptation out of the house. Brief supermarket trip, avoided getting a magazine. I did offer to givet some $ to a friend who has an emergency medical bill. Husband and I discussed it 1st and set a reasonable limit.

  • Sue Reuschlein

    Last Dec I started a year long spending fast on clothing. Doing very well. Only bought a t shirt while on vacation in Feb. It was hard in the beginning, especially when at the mall shopping for something else, like a gift for someone.

  • Christy

    Great idea. I did this as my sacrifice for Lent. 40 days, WHEW!! It was tough. I saved a lot but did not keep track. Groceries alone just about kill us.

  • Jaime

    I am in. A little bit late, but better then never!! I need to retrain my mind and I think this is a good way to start 🙂

  • Nancy Mutzl

    I am in!!!! Jaime, like you said, better late than never. I have been on a clothing fast since January unTil I pay off all my debt. I did buy 2suits on a MEGA sale….only bcz I was going to a professional convention and had lost 30pounds since February. This spending fast should get several items paid off!!! Thanks, Beth, for the challenge and the kinsmanship t go with it!!!!!

  • Jan

    Wish I had seen this in April so I could have participated in May. I am retiring this month and would love to cut back on spending. My husband and I both make large salaries and we waste. I am hoping to become more frugal.

  • Kathleen

    I was able to go the whole month without buying anything from Amazon, ebay, etc. I have started checking out books from the library and really was pleased to see what I could do without!
    Am continuing on with this challenge all summer.

  • Sarah

    I am joining you. My husband and I are out of debt and planning on buying a new home with 35-40% down on a new condo. I have done everything else to save except a garage sale. Starbucks is going to be tough to give up for a month.

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