Spending Fast


Due to the unexpected appliance expenses, I think I will go on a 30 day spending fast. All during May I will spend only on what are necessities. I’ll make a game out of it to see how little I can spend. Of course that means I have to figure out what is a necessity and what is a want. New books are wants as much as I think I need them like air. Especially when I have books on the shelves I haven’t read yet.

Produce and good food is a necessity. Junk food is a want (good thing I stocked up on 1/2 priced Easter candy!). My pantry and freezer are full so I might not even need to buy much food.

My massage will be a necessity because it is unbelievable how much it helps my health and well-being. But I can wait a few weeks to get a new haircut. We can trade movies for walks, dinners out for picnics, Barnes and Noble for Howard Miller Library. (And NO overdue fines.) I think I will need to stay away from Target and Lowe’s all together.

Anyone else want to try a money fast this May with me?


  • holly cazabon says:

    This sounds great Beth. I did this for April, only it was for craft supplies. I’ve been trying to pare down my spending. We’ve almost got the credit cards paid off, so this will be added incentive to work even harder at cutting our costs so we have more money to play with each month on the big things. Thanks for a great challenge.

  • Janet says:

    I’m with you on this one. My visa is always more than I intend. I’ve been cutting back on craft supplies & misc household accessories. But I know I could do more…. so let’s see how much we can all save this month!

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Looking forward to challenging with you Janet and Holly. That is fantastic that you almost have the credit cards paid off Holly! I am so excited.

  • Cheryl says:

    Ok I’m game. I’m not working right now, we are getting our credit cards paid off but we still have a ways to go and I’d love to give them a little push by not spending money on wants but I got to ask is a coffee at a coffe shop a need or a want?

  • Beth Dargis says:

    It depends what it is for you 🙂 Usually I would consider that a want. I usually go out to lunch with a friend every other week. But, this week we are going on a picnic instead.

  • Linda says:

    I will join made a pact that i would not spend any money on books, pens, or spiral notebooks, folders. I have way too many, yes I will go on this spending fast with u this month, in my pact i said 3 months, with yall help , i can do this.

  • Ruthie says:

    I should have a few weeks off this month, so it would be great to not spend money, except on paying off bills and necessities. I have enough food to last at least six months, anyway. I can’t include a present for my mother on Mothers’ day in this, though. That is very important.

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Great Linda and Ruthie, glad to have you joining us.

    I agree on the Mother’s Day present, Ruthie. Definitely important.

  • mary metts says:

    going to give this a try I will not buy anything for me and my household but please tell me grandchildren and childrens birthdays don’t count???

  • Beth, I am with you on this one too.

    I am a book buyer of note. I will resolve not to buy any books, stationery or files this month, all of which I usually buy stacks of every month.

    I will also not buy any e-courses and e-books on the internet (another of my vices).

    BTW, so glad I bought your simplicity e-course last month. I am working through the days nicely and have decided over the last couple of days that I need to set up some boundaries in my life so that I don’t constantly have hundreds of things on the go.

    I like to think I’m SuperWoman but I’m not!

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Hi Marcia,

    Yes, books and courses are definitely things are the main things I can overspend on.

    Glad to hear you are using and working through the course. And especially that you are setting boundaries!

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Hi Mary,

    Gifts for kids and grandkids are definitely things you can get. Just watch the amounts spent. Sometimes we try to buy too much for them to make them happy, but we all know that those aren’t what truly make them happy. They are fortunate to have you in their lives.

  • LuAnn says:

    Great Idea! Great Plan! Hope I can follow through! My question when I read your message (until I read some of the comments) was; “How not to spend in May, we have a birthday, Mother’s Day (mine, his, his 93 yr. old granny and I like to remember my daughter, too). Graduations (2 from college, a couple of high school), and brides (2)! Doesn’t everyone’s May look this way?

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Hi LuAnn,

    Glad to see you here. Yes, May is definitely a gift giving month. All the more reason to cut out most of the other spending 🙂

  • Janet says:

    Well, here we are on May 8 & I’m doing pretty good so far. I went to Costco the other day & ea time I saw something I wanted I looked at it real hard, sometimes held it & thought about the spending fast. I got less than my list as I decided I didn’t “need” everything at walked out spending less than $40! Now that’s really something!! And I waited in line to fill my tank (which cost more than I spent inside – but less than the station near my home). So, I gave myself an extra gold star for saving double at Costco & I’m pretty pleased with it.

    The gifts are tricky situations. At Christmas I asked for season passes to our favorite Aquarium & got them. That may be something to consider as they can enjoy the special outings all year & maybe you can go with them occasionally – be sure to pack a picnic to make it even more personal & saving a few $$ too. My son just loves a special day w/grandma.

    good luck everyone!


  • Beth Dargis says:

    Great job Janet!!!

    Yes, those are fantastic ideas for presents.

  • Linda says:

    no t doing so well please give me some feed back HELP

  • Hi Linda
    Since I’m in the same situation as you, I thought I’d share what I’m doing.

    I know that books and stationery are a HUGE temptation so I decided to not even go near a bookshop. If I go in, the temptation will be too much so I’m removing temptation far from me.

    How are you doing?

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Marcia has a great idea. I am not even going into Barnes and Noble or Office Max this month. I noticed that the times I gave in to temptation, I could have saved myself by just not going… to the garage sale…to the grocery store when hungry, etc.

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  • christine says:

    hmmmm, interesting, I better stay out of walmart.

  • Sherry says:

    I just wanted to comment on my experience with a “spending fast”. About 18 months ago, after a major declutter, I realized the “abundance” I had been blessed with. Many clothes, shoes & other personal items. I decided to go on a personal spending fast on January 1, 2007. I was able to last until 6/21/07….over 6 months!! I did not buy one article of clothing, a pair or shoes, NOT even a pair of panty hose or underwear!! I was able to pay down all my son’s school loans as well as other debts. (I had also gone on a strict budget regarding general spending). Since that time, I have changed my spending habits…I was never a big spender but frequented the “sales racks” to pick up great bargains. I had accumulated more than I EVER needed & found myself feeling very gluttonous. I have limited my spending ever since my 6+ month spending fast & look forward to going on another fast in the next month. I just wanted to bear testimony of the wonders & blessings of choosing to do a spending fast & the empowering feelings it brings.

  • Shelly says:

    I have cut down on some of the cost of my ‘wants’ rather than cutting them out completely. For example, I love having my nails and feet done for personal and professional reasons. But it really adds up! So i invested the money to purchase the tools, drill, solar, primer, nail tips, ect…and i taught myself how to do my nails and pedicures on my own. I have saved on average over $1,000 a year since i started doing this in college in 2002. YTD savings of about $7,000. I also purchase professional scissors, hair dye/Highlighter, and conditioning treatments from Sally’s and taught myself how to get a professional look without going to the salon! My hair is pretty long, and with a haircut, dye, highlight and lowlight i could spend about $300 easily every 3 months. I started doing my own hair in 2006 and now even cut, dye, and style the hair of my family members. YTD savings of over $3,000 for myself, and even savings for my family! The list goes on and on for things like tanning, shoes, handbags, ect…but i’m about to write a book here…just hope this helps a few people that may not be ready to fast quite yet for fear the fast one month could turn to a binge the next. Thanks for reading!

  • Judith says:

    I am starting the Spending Fast next this coming Monday when my kids go back to school. My goal is to be able to pay down my credit cards. Once upon a time I was debt free. This was before 3 kids 18 months apart, a husband and a mortgage. Now my kids are are starting Kinder and 1st grade respectively. I can’t afford babysitting and the mortgage and their Tae Kwon Do classes and all the credit card debt! I will not eat out, I will only go to the super market with a list. I can do this!! I am so glad I found this site for encouragement!!

  • Beth says:

    Wishing you success Judith!

  • Beth says:

    You are welcome Judith. How is the spending fast going?

  • laura says:

    i came to your website for help and I would like to receive weekly tips if possible to remind me of austerity. Shopping for fun should be replaced by something bigger in my case! thanks

  • Kasie says:

    I just found this blog. I am scared to death but I am “in” for May….. Gulp……

  • Dodi Smith says:

    Just in time, Beth! I am receiving my lump sum retirement payment, and have a long list of things I desire to buy to start my business(and just to buy!) Whoa!!!!! I need to turn down the heat on my spending. I will only buy real necessities to get the business off the ground…accept for the tickets to a conference in August that need to be purchased by May 7th or the price increases! The conference is related to my business, too!
    Thanks for the timely reminder!!

  • Memm says:

    I’ve already been doing this since January and have saved $1900 cash!!! Yes,cash in an enevolpe put away for my “Whatever I am going to do with this money” day! Of course everyone knows something will come up and I’ll end up spending it on a something or a repair…but I am impressed on how much I have saved so far!!!

  • Terri says:

    I’m ready. I was already trying to spend only on needs and it’s helping. My son & wife came out for a ten-day visit ending tomorrow. Wow! lots of money spent. I need this fast just to cool down the rest of the month!

  • Terri says:

    I forgot to put in my pledge: I spend too much on books. And like Beth, I already have many, many that I’ve bought in the last year that I haven’t read.

    I’m a quilter and I’m already on a strict diet. I have plenty of fabric to make dozens of quilts. The pledge is nothing spent on quilting except what is needed to finish a quilt (thread, etc.) My one exception has to be the wedding quilt I am making for my son and wife because I don’t have the fabric for it.

  • Nina says:

    I will be joining your group. What do you do with tons of medical bills? I was a teacher and back fractured due to a disease I have. Our paycheck has been cut in half if not a little more. Anybody hearing about there insurance?

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Nina, medical bills can be a big difficulty. The important thing is to know where you are right now, income wise. A lot of “I wish that was different.””I wish I didn’t have all these medical bills” saps energy and creativity. We want to be honest with ourselves so we can figure things out from there. Sometimes it means downsizing, selling a vehicle, seeing if you can get assistance based on your income level. I hope you find out what you need to do!

  • Jack says:

    Well my current bonded leather sofa is in bad shape. The leather has worn off and the fabric below can be seen on two of the seats. Costco came with a deal where pure leather reclining sofa comes in good amount. I can afford it but i am fighting with myself should i get it or wait for more time. I feel bad when the guest come in the house but is it a necessity or a want.. dont know.
    Please help.

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Hi Jack, for a spending fast it would not be a necessity, but you get to choose if you want to buy it now based on your priorities. (Being able to pay it in cash is always a good priority to have)

  • Amanda says:

    I just found this site when I googled “how do I stop spending so much money?”, this is exactly what I needed. I’ve realized that I’m staying in a job that’s bad for my physical and mental health just because it’s secure. I’ve traded the things that really matter to me in life, my family, friends, nature, for the love of money. I’m quitting my job and moving back home to be near all of the things that matter to me and I plan on going back to school to get some education to build a career that fulfills me.
    I’ll be doing the spending fast with you in May and I’m going to try to keep it up after that. Thank you for writing this blog! You’re a lifesaver!


  • Ruth says:

    Are you kidding me. I play this game all the time. I want stuff. But I wait until it goes on sale. Or if I have “extra” money. (I probably should be saving that for an emergency fund though, Then maybe later on buy the stuff I “want” )

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Fantastic, Ruth!

  • Beth Dargis says:

    I hope you can find a new life that truly fulfills you Amanda.

  • Kimmi says:

    It’s June, but I plan on buying a car soon.. so I need extra money and stop spending on useless crap I think I need. Stop buying magazines and junk food. Pack a lunch to work, only buy fruits and veggies. Make a list of food and non-food items, but buy nothing that isn’t on the list. Also, I’m giving myself a $40 dollar allowance biweekly.. to spend on anything, not food related. When it’s gone, it’s gone, so I’ll be spending it wisely (hopefully)

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Hope it’s going well for you Kimmi

  • Teresa rice says:

    I get paid every week every Thursday and it’s ashame I have a shopping problem, all the stuff I buy afterwards I feel broke and guilty, if I saved I would have tons of money, when I buy things or try and wait to buy something big, by the end of the week I spent so much money, I could have bought wat I was waiting on to buy, thinking that’s a good idea but it’s not bc buying here and there getting gas eating out going to Walmart going to the mall that little stuff adds up, I need help I’m trying g to not spend any money this month unless it’s emergency or a nessesity please help

  • Maggie says:

    I am adding my comments even though it is 2018 and everyone else responded years ago. I need to reduce my spending but think I have been doing well to date. Let me tell you what I do now. I am retired and get social security and a retirement allotment from my old employer. To keep things working as they did when I had a job, I make two deposits each month to our household account. The balance is my money. With the remainder, I put $50 in two different pots (old Tootsie Roll containers) each time I go to the bank. One is a vacation/Christmas fund and the other I call my furniture fund. So far, in the last 2 years, I have purchased gripper bars in my bathrooms, rails to go up the staircase, a new stove (my husband paid for 1/2 of that) and a new refrigerator. I did not get top of the line anything but just the basics. While I hated spending all my savings, at least I had the money and did not have to charge anything. I began this savings plan before I retired and have continued with it. It took several years to save for the stove and I did not have an oven during that time. It’s amazing to learn how to cook and make good meals without an oven. The fridge was a necessity – last summer was a very hot one and we spent a lot of money on ice before we could find a fridge that was the size we needed for our small pantry. We just got back from a vacation at the beach with our family which we go to every other year. So the pots are empty now and a spending fast is certainly in order. I use the library every other month and read from my home library the rest of the time. So no book purchases (mostly, I buy books from the library sales at $0.25 each paperback). I am eager to join a 30 day fast. Oh, one more thought. I have found that menus help with the grocery bill. I eat meat that is in the freezer and buy fresh veg/fruit at the Farmer’s Market. I know this is a long comment but hope it helps others who are trying to pay bills and save a little.

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