The Spending Diet
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Are your spending habits building your debt or keeping you from reaching other goals? Learn how to get things under control.

Being on a Spending Diet means cutting back on everything.
What’s the main purpose of a “Wants and Needs” list?
For every month of The Spending Diet, you should allow yourself a two-day Spending Feast.
The recommended “Wants” allowance is:
How long should you be on a Spending Diet?

Right!

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Do a One-Week Spending Diet

How much could you save in one week? Do a Spending Diet and find out. Decide on a modest budget for “Wants.” Take that much in cash out of the bank, then spend it on what you really want until it’s gone. If the system works for you, think about how much you could save on a more long-term basis.

Need a little help with your will power? Download Anna’s “Should I Buy It” decision card.

DOWNLOAD DECISION CARD

Session Q & A

  • The Spending Diet does a lot of things a budget does, like help you see where you spend money and where you can cut back. It can also help you spend less and save more. But it doesn’t necessarily replace a budget, which can help you manage your finances in many other ways.

  • “Wants and Needs” are a very personal thing, so if you and your partner are both trying to cut spending, it’s important not to be judgmental about their choices. It can get tricky when you want to reduce spending on something that both of you do, like eating out or going on vacations. Try to compromise by cutting back instead of eliminating things completely. You can still cut back on your personal expenses. Who knows? Maybe you can inspire each other with your individual successes.

  • Let your friends and family know what you’re doing, and make sure they know how important it is to you. If they’re supportive, they’ll understand when you have to make hard choices like saying no to a dinner out or bringing a card instead of a gift to a birthday party. If they see your success, they may even jump on The Spending Diet bandwagon.

  • Any diet is hard to stick to. But there are lots of things you can do to stay on track. Remembering why you started The Spending Diet in the first place can really help. Picture how you’ll feel when you get rid of your debt or finally save for something you want. If you’ve been doing it for a while already, tally up how much you’ve saved or not spent, and celebrate your success. And if you haven’t made your commitment public, tell your family and friends about it. You’ll be surprised at how supportive and encouraging people can be.

  • Some things are easy to cut out of everyday spending — like skipping coffee or not buying gifts. But other ways to save might require a little more effort. Go through your monthly bills for inspiration on ways to save, such as switching to a cheaper phone, Internet or cable TV plan, or even trying to cut down on your water or electricity use. Transportation costs can be another good source of savings. Walk, ride your bike or take the bus instead of driving everywhere. You’ll save money and get in better shape too.

Anna Newell Jones

Anna is a photographer who racked up substantial debt from credit cards and loans from family. In 2009, she began her Spending Fast® and Spending Diet plan, and managed to pay off almost $24,000 in debt in 15 months. She started the blog And Then We Saved to share her strategies with others. She has been quoted in publications including Self, US News and the Chicago Tribune, and has appeared on CNN Money and HLN Network. She lives in Denver with her husband Aaron.

Anna is a photographer who racked up substantial debt from credit cards and loans from family. In 2009, she began her Spending Fast® and Spending Diet plan, and managed to pay off almost $24,000 in debt in 15 months. She started the blog And Then We Saved to share her strategies with others. She has been quoted in publications including Self, US News and the Chicago Tribune, and has appeared on CNN Money and HLN Network. She lives in Denver with her husband Aaron.

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