Friday, September 17, 2010

Spending Fast

In A Woman After God's Own Heart, Elizabeth George declares that a simple way to save some money is to go on a spending fast for a month.  Determine not to buy anything that is not absolutely necessary.

Distinguishing between a want and a need can sometimes be a bit tricky, however. I can keep myself from going to Hobby Lobby for a month, and from the mall, and from online shopping. Where it gets harder for me is at the grocery store.

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Here's a silly example:

On my next grocery shopping trip, I have vacuuming powder on my list. I like how it makes my house smell. It's only a dollar-something. Want or need? Want.

I have peanut butter on my list, but I still have some peanut butter in the cupboard. Want or need? Want.

I have oatmeal on my Sam's Club list, but I still have a bag left. I don't go to Sam's Club but once a month anyway, so shouldn't I just get some more while I'm there anyway for when I run out? I could, but it's not truly a need right now.

Coffee at Starbucks is not a need (although some days it can certainly feel like it, can't it?!). Coffee out anywhere is not a need. New makeup or a fun new lip gloss is probably not a need, unless you are approaching being completely out.

New fall boots are not a need. If we really want to get down to it, more than one pair of appropriate shoes for the season is not a need (Although wearing tennis shoes with a skirt may look a little strange, so let's change this to two--a pair of dress shoes and a pair of active shoes). :)

When we say no to a few seemingly inexpensive purchases (or a few big purchases) that we otherwise would have said yes to, the savings in a month can easily add up to twenty dollars or more. While no one is going to scream at you for breaking your spending fast if you treat a friend to coffee, or purchase a different "want," taking a very frugal approach to spending for a month (or more) is a great exercise in discipline and wise stewardship. Plus, it helps train our minds to really distinguish between wants and needs.

I encourage you to try it sometime if you haven't already! If you have, I'd love for you to share about some of the items you cut out of your spending for the month. What are some of the most common money-wasters: things many people think are needs that are really just wants?

Visit Frugal Friday for more ideas on ways to save!


  1. I love spending fasts. They really help us get a handle on misc. spending.

  2. I wish I had read this post before I went to Target today... SIGH...
    What a great and simple concept that I need to put into practice more!

  3. Think I might try this for the month of October...although, I had considered going ahead and starting some Christmas purchases for our six children. It helps to start early and spread it out, even though we spend very little. Good post. I like the idea.