About the Spending Fast ®

**December 29, 2009**

My idea is to go on a Spending Fast for a year – spending money on necessities only to see what happens, how much debt I can get out of and how much I can get into savings.

When I mentioned to a good friend that I was thinking about going on a spending fast for 2010 she sighed and said “Well, that doesn’t sound very fun.” Then, I told my husband what I was thinking about doing and he wasn’t very excited about it either. He said “Great. No more fun. No more eating out. This is gonna suck.”

I have to tell you, I feel the same way. Who would want to not get want they want? I’m the type that buys what she wants when she wants because I work hard and I feel like I deserve it. I know plenty of people who have the same feelings as I do about work and money and spending and not spending.

Inside my head I hear this loudly: “YOU DESERVE IT DARLING!” and truly, I believe that I do. I mean, I woke up early for goodness-sake! I did what was asked of me and I was even nice while doing it! I DESERVE that super cute trinket or hat or whatever from Etsy dammit! Besides, I work a full-time day job AND I run a full-time wedding photography business AND what else can I think of? I do a lot and my spending is justified… until it isn’t anymore.

When I was planning for our wedding that took place in May 2009 my dad gave me a little chunk of money that I could use as needed for wedding stuff. I got really used to having that money around. Being able to spend like I wanted helped me morph a kinda-bad habit into a super-bad habit. And once the wedding rolled around and things changed from “planning the soon to be fond memories” phase to the “Oh, remember that?” phase… guess what didn’t stop when the planning stopped? My spending.

And.. that’s where I am today… starting January 1st 2010 I’m gonna spend money on necessities only and I’m fully prepared for this to suck.

My Spending Fast ® Wants and Needs List

So, I know some of you are thinking “Well… you’ve got to spend SOME money this year don’t you!?” and my answer to all of ya’ll (imagine that with a southern twang) is “Yes, I will have to.” Oh yeah, I’ll HAVE TO. Force me why don’t you. I imagine that this will kind of be like a person who is in Overeaters Anonymous who must still eat but can only consume the “right” stuff. Where it would be a whole lot easier if you could just eliminate it completely from your life.

The goal of this whole spending fast is to get my spending back on track, save some money and get rid of a lot of the clutter and time sucking that comes along with having a lot of stuff and buying the new stuff. Managing it, maintaining it, cleaning it, rearranging it, you know.

Plus, I want my priorities to go like this: people and relationships are #1 and I don’t want things to be at the top or even close to the top of the list. Where as now, that can become questionable sometimes.

Setting up my priorities like that makes sense.

Obviously, situations will happen this year that I won’t be able to predict, so I’m gonna have to weigh those unexpected situations and remember that my motto has to be “Make Do and Mend” rather than “Make More to Spend More.”

Ok. So. Here is the brutal break-down of how things will be going down this year:

 

What I will have to spend money on (My Needs):

Rent

Utilities (keeping lights and water off as much as possible; keeping the thermostat at 68 and wearing a hat and long johns inside, if needed)

Cell phone (taking the internet off of it)

Food (store-bought, off brands, in season fruits and veggies and only when I run out of stuff in cupboards)

Gym membership (local gym, it’s reasonable and health is important)

Doctor co-pays

Medicine

Photography exhibits (done inexpensively)

Car payment

Some gas

Bus eco-pass

Box hair dye (hey, I have needs)

 

What I’m NOT spending money on (My Wants):

Gifts (sorry friends and family… homemade crafts or re-gifting will be happening. Hopefully you all like macaroni magnets.)

Coffee at coffee shops (sad face)

Clothes (remember: “Make Do & Mend!” and in honor of that I need this. haha!)

Trinkets

Etsy stuff (another sad face)

New make-up

Eating out

Movies

New business cards (I have a bad habit of getting new ones because I like a different design better)

Coats (see Clothes above)

Shoes

Bed linens

Towels

Fancy html email service (down-sizing it)

Decorative house stuff

Fancy haircuts at fancy hair shop

New music from iTunes

 

There you have it. There’s no way it can be completely comprehensive but I think it’s a good start.

And, my new name is Mrs. Cheapskate. Nice to meetcha’.

 Get started now and change your life forever! Take the Get Out of Debt Pledge today!

 

Spending Fast is a registered trademark. All rights reserved.

above image by Erin Hanson

90 Comments

  1. Alyssa // July 11, 2012

    I love this idea! Thanks Anna :)

    • Zehra // April 10, 2013

      I think this is a great website – you won’t believe how many people I meet as a financial advisor who need just this sort of thing – this is going to be part of my much recommend resource list from now on!
      Much appreciation.
      Zehra Mahoon

  2. Randa // September 20, 2012

    Thank you for this, you have motivated me – I AM GOING TO DO IT! I have to get out of debt, it haunts me, and I can’t wait to put your plan in my life. Thanks for the tips and plan!

  3. Sabrina // September 22, 2012

    Thank you! :)

  4. Carol Ann McElyea // September 23, 2012

    Loved your website. Thanks for creating and inspiring others. Nice to have a few online “friends” who are trying to learn to live within our means.

    My husband and I decided to take a step backward in order to have more
    security in our lives; and we’re buying a dblwide manufactured home. We’re
    excited about this change and being able to have less going out each month.
    My biggest problem now is trying to figure out how to cut down on my clothes. To me they’re “friends”; it must be something needy there, though
    I have many clothes and friends. But in new home, will have much less closet
    space, and I have a great deal of trouble letting go, though haven’t worn some for years. Help! Any suggestions? Thanks, Carol Ann

    • Anna, Author - And Then We Saved // September 23, 2012

      a couple of ideas for dealing with your sentimental clothes:
      – take pictures of the clothes so you can remember them without the clothes having to take up space (and time)
      – host a clothing swap with friends and since you said you don’t have space for more clothes just donate the clothes into the “swapping pot” and then…
      – donate the clothes to a womens domestic violence shelter or a thrift store (be sure to get a receipt for the tax benefit at the end of the year)
      – give the clothes to friends that truly like them (as opposed to just giving them clutter and more to take care of themselves)
      – bring the clothes to a “buy-sell-trade” shop like buffalo exchange or scout: dry goods and trade. if the stores accept the clothes they will give you the option of receiving money or trading so you can pick out new items.

  5. Juliane Murphy // September 30, 2012

    Found this site by chance and just in time!
    Thank you for this and I do hope to make this work… I need it with almost $200K in student loans :(

  6. Guro // October 10, 2012

    Hallelujah! Your website is just what I’ve been looking for! :D After going through endless blogs with tips on how to save money that are simply common sense, your blog is actually full of really helpful, inventive ideas on how to save money, and, more importantly, you have actual tips on how to WANT less, which is my main problem. I am planning to go on a spending fast for 6 months to clear my credit card debt, and the “Want too many things – need to want less” is spot on. My first step is to cut my own hair – can you believe that a regular, 20-minute haircut in Oslo, Norway, costs $160!? Buying a bigger flat in about a year is my goal, I hope I make it! :) Thanks for a super great blog! Love from Guro, Norway.

  7. missy bowden // October 22, 2012

    THIS MAKES TOTAL SENSE. JUST WHAT DAVE RAMSEY SAYS REGARDING DEBT, GET OUT AND STAY OUT. LIFE IS MORE FUN WITHOUT IT.

  8. Evelyn Martinez // November 23, 2012

    Just in time I need this in my life
    thank you!

  9. Chelsea // November 23, 2012

    This is an awesome idea! My husband and I have become accustomed to being able to both save and spend more the past couple of years because of our blessing of a living situation. (No rent or utilities – only insurance and bare minimum cell phone payments.) I’ve been trying to mentally prepare myself for the near future, you know, the one with bills, so this would be a great diet! The only thing I would caution women about is the makeup. If you’re planning on not buying any new makeup for a year, you’ll either have to cut out some at some point, or make your own. Here’s a guide to how long different makeup staples last: http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/natural-beauty-fashion/photos/how-long-does-makeup-last/best-face-forward
    I’ve begun buying fewer, better quality and natural makeups, and I’ve saved money that way. Thanks for the tips and inspiration!

  10. Em // December 14, 2012

    Great blog!

    Just wondering…during your initial spending fast, what did you do about things like, say, trash bags and light bulbs? Regular, everyday items that need to be replaced or often purchased, but that don’t fall into any of your ‘needs’ categories?

    Looking forward to your answer!

    • Anna Newell Jones // December 15, 2012

      Hi, we bought them because they were on the “needs” side of the “wants and needs” list. We went to the dollar store and sought out the sale and cheapest versions.

      • JMK // June 5, 2013

        For your next BD or Christmas, when someone ask what you’d like, ask for a gift card for a home improvement or department store. You’ve already acknowledged that you don’t need more stuff in your life, so if someone wants to give you a gift, ask for something that will reduce an expense for you in the future. Each year at Christmas, when asked I suggest a gift card from a bookstore, restaurant or my favorite clothing shop. Books and eating out are completely non-essential, but a fun treat once in a while. I rarely buy clothing – if nothing wore out then nothing needs to be bought. But sooner or later something is beyond repair and has to be replaced, so that year I ask for the clothing store gift card and shop the after holiday sales.

  11. Cindy Wilson // December 15, 2012

    Hi there – I loved your post about cutting your own hair. Would you be able to do a similar post on how to color your own hair? I was surprised to read that you do it at home and would love tips, as cutting out trips to the salon = huge savings.

    Cheers,
    Cindy

  12. Christa the BabbyMam // December 27, 2012

    You know, the same thing happened to me when I was planning my wedding. I got so used to seeing packages come in the mail that for a while afterward, I was still buying just to get excited about the mail!

  13. Nichelle // December 28, 2012

    This is so fantastic! The new year is just days away and I am commited to starting the year saving. I’m in grad school to become a 2nd grade teacher and working full time. Next year I will have a minimum income and I want to save all I can instead of spending loan money. My husband is great at saving and we jsut got married so I would like to feel as comfortable as he is. I’m in! So glad I found this and thank you for sharing your story. <3

  14. Jane // December 30, 2012

    I need all the help I can get–thank you for this inspiration….

    At 63 years old, I am trying to live more on my own terms. This means working less, spending more time on my own personal growth and having energy and time for those I love. This will not be possible unless I totally change my spending style and recognize the richness of frugal living.

    Thanks again.
    Jane

  15. Julia // January 2, 2013

    I would like to know how that first year turned out. How much debt (roughly) were you able to eliminate? How much (roughly) were you able to save in addition to eliminating debt? I REALLY like this idea and would like to suggest to my husband that we try it out to a certain degree. However, without some hard numbers to present to him, I don’t think it will fly in my house.

    • Anna Newell Jones // January 2, 2013

      Hi Julia, Check out the total savings tab in the left sidebar there for the monthly break-downs.

  16. Casey // January 2, 2013

    I just want to tell you how excited I am to have stumbled on to your blog after seeing “56 Things To Do..” on Pinterest. At first I clicked on here thinking “Oh cute! another fun blog.” But then I saw what you are all about and my heart almost exploded with excitement!! Sure, I love design, DIY and even the occasional lifestyle blog as much as the next girl, but YOURS is the content we ALL need to be reading! I am excited to present this concept to my husband and share your blog with my pals! eek! :)

  17. Joy // January 5, 2013

    Pretty good, except you don’t need the gym. That is a luxury. Run in place, get a jump rope, take a walk, buy some weights at the thrift store.

    • Anna Newell Jones // January 5, 2013

      That’s the cool thing about the ‘Wants and Needs’ list, each one will vary based on what is a priority in each person’s life. For me, I just don’t end up working out much at home so the gym qualified as a need. I know it wouldn’t on appear everyone’s list and there are tons of great, free workout options out there (thankfully!). :)

  18. Www.Iamrogue.Com // January 5, 2013

    I want to to thank you for this wonderful read!
    ! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I’ve got you bookmarked to look at new stuff you post…

  19. Nicole // January 6, 2013

    We have been debt free for 4 yrs now thanks to the Dave Ramsey teachings by rklfinancial.com (Shaun Somers) but I have decided to take it one step further and thanks to finding yor website thru Pinterest I’m now challenging myself to a spending fast! Ive been an emotional spender. time for change! Thanks for putting Yourself out there!

  20. Alexis // January 8, 2013

    Thank you so much for your awesome website and all these great tips! I’m doing my own spending fast for the month of January and have found a ton of help and inspiration through your blog. I’m updating on my meals and eating on my blog through the spending fast, since that’s my husband and I’s biggest expense, aside from rent. Thank you so much again for all your inspiration!

  21. Jenmarie3 // January 8, 2013

    New year and New me….getting out from under my Credit Card debit once and for all. Your site is amazing!

  22. Paula // January 18, 2013

    Thank you so much for the information in your blog! We really needed to read it. We lucked up on finding it but I will begin following your blog. We really need to get out of debt and start saving. We are on a very fixed income and neither of us are able to work but I do have things that can be sold, especially clothing. We will be making lists of needs and wants and will stick to them. No more spur of the moment buying for us, only necessities. Thank you again!

    • Anna Newell Jones // January 18, 2013

      I’m so glad the blog is helpful. Selling clothes is a great way to clear out a lot of stuff and space. I love getting rid of stuff and its even better to make some money from it! Let me know if you have any questions about the Spending Fast.:)

  23. Michelle // January 20, 2013

    Yes, i’m in! i am beyond thrilled to start this.
    Thank you so much for this blog and all the great info you’re putting out there and being so candid about your own experiences! It really puts everything in to perspective.
    I just basically gobbled up everything you’ve posted and am so pumped to make this commitment.
    There will be tough moments for sure but hey, I’ve often noticed that after 10 minutes of having left a store without a purchase, I can’t even recall why I needed those “must have shoes.”

  24. Emily // January 28, 2013

    So I did it! I couldn’t quite do a fast like you but every month I wrote down how much I made and I kept track of every dollar I spent and I sent to difference to my student loan company and I paid them off 14,000$ in less than a year! But now I am still broke and I feel like splurging because I have been denying myself of wants. Any tips for a budget after paying off the debt?

    • Anna Newell Jones // January 28, 2013

      Hi Emily, You paid off $14,000 in less than a year!!??!! WOWOOOWWWW!! You’re so awesome!! I was in the same boat as you after the year of the Spending Fast so I started up the Spending Diet. Maybe it will work for you too as a good seque into “normal” spending.

    • Jane // January 28, 2013

      Hi Emily–

      Congratulations–I am impressed!!

      I find that changing how I spend is a lot like trying to lose weight. If I am too restrictive, after a while I start to splurge (binge). For me, the trick is to plan treats and to make sure they are the best they can be. For example, if I am craving chocolate, I buy a piece of the best chocolate I can find and take the time to fully savor and experience it without guilt.

      This goes along with mindful living in all realms.

      Hope this is helpful.

      Jane

    • JMK // June 5, 2013

      Start up a savings diet. Now instead of paying off a debt you can stash the cash for something you want (vacation, car, house downpayment etc). Give serious consideration to putting aside a set amount regularly for retirement savings. The sooner you get that money working for you the better. Most people figure they have it all covered if they save 10-15%. Yes that’s great. But if you are used to a total spending fast you may be able to add some fun spending back into your life and still save more than that 15%. Keep in mind saving 15% gets you to retirement at 65. Given a choice is that when you’d chose to retire? Personally I want to retire ASAP so we save as much as possible. Our one splurge in an otherwise frugal, barebones budget is that we take a major trip every year. Other than that the spending plan contains only essentials. We decided that our priority was early retirement and new cars, restaurants, 300 channels, trendy fashions had absolutely no appeal to us, particularly if they came at the expense of retiring early. We didn’t move to this lifestyle by choice at first. An unexpected layoff cause an emergency over haul of our spending and cutting to the basics (an involuntary spending fast). The job was quickly replaced, but the excersise of assessing what could be cut for the short term showed us how much we’d been wasting in crap we didn’t really care about. So even after the job was replaced, we’ve carried on with the bare bones spending plan. We’ve just passed the 4yr mark and at this point I’d struggle to remember what we used to spend our money on.

  25. Amanda // April 6, 2013

    You’ve inspired me to save before I even start having to take out student loans! I am going to spend my summer spending lightly to save more money to go towards tuition next semester. I know it’ll be worth it in the end. :)

  26. Rachel // April 22, 2013

    This sounds glorious if you make enough money to put most of your income towards your debt. What happens if you aren’t left with much after rent, utilities, groceries, and student loans as it is? I shop sales and use coupons more than anyone else I’ve ever met and I still can’t get ahead. I suppose the only solution is to find a higher paying job :/

    • Anna Newell Jones // April 22, 2013

      Create the wants and needs list. There is most likely money to be found and things to be cut out. You might be surprised. I know I was!

    • JMK // June 5, 2013

      Yes, I higher paying job will help. If you love your job and don’t want to change for the long term, consider an extra part-time job for a short time just until the student loan is paid off. If there is truly no spending you can cut, then do a temporary earning blitz. Yes, working an extra job on top of your normal one stinks but so does debt. If you apply all the extra income to the debt it will disappear pretty quickly.
      FYI – if you have a fuel efficient car consider pizza delivery. My son delivered 2-3 nights a week his last year of highschool (with my car) and when I helped him file his income taxes for the first time this spring I was surprised to see he’d made over $8k (less the gas he repaid me). Apparently the one girl that worked there made the best tips, so you might do even better.

  27. Emma Nichols // April 26, 2013

    Hi there Anna,

    I read your webpage, it was a real inspiration. A friend sent me a link to your page because I recently started my own type of spending fast/diet – and have been blogging about it! I’m one and a half months in, and I LOVE the ideas you’ve shared for how to have fun for free. I’m from New Zealand, but so many of them are applicable over here! I just wanted to say thanks so much for sharing your story. If you happened to want to read about mine, here’s the link: http://asoflatelyivebeenthinking.blogspot.co.nz

    Hope you’re keeping well and your spending diet is empowering you like it is me.

    • Anna Newell Jones // May 28, 2013

      How cool and congratulations on deciding to take charge of your life!

  28. Tricia // May 4, 2013

    Like most of the other replies here, I want to say a huge THANK YOU and let you know that you are such an inspiration! I’d like to share my story with you: At the age of 19, I signed up for what I thought was a part of the “American Dream” aka college aka student loans. At that time, I had no idea how this decision would impact the rest of my life. At the end of my college career, I ended up with a mind-blowing total of about $130,000 in debt at the age of 23. I’ve been out of school for almost two years now and FINALLY landed a full time job as a graphic designer last week. While I’m extremely proud of myself for this accomplishment and for the fact that my career actually utilizes my college degree, I can’t help but to feel that I’ve completely doomed myself for life because of the amount of debt I’m in. My monthly payments to my student loan lenders are so significant that I fear it will not allow me the financial freedom to do things in life that I’ve always dreamed of like travel, have children, buy a house, etc. because I’ll never have enough money to do them. I managed the payments on my student loans for the first year, mostly because of a well-paying temp job. After the year-long temp job ended and jobs were few and far between, I started deferring payments by any means possible and that’s where I’m at at this moment. I lived paycheck to paycheck, relying on my wonderful parents and fiance for financial support when I couldn’t pay my bills on my own. And then last week I found your blog, and landed my full time job all in the same day. I’m starting the spending fast so that I can finally feel like I have control of my life. With the promise of a steady paycheck and the inspiration I’ve found here, I feel confident that I can overcome the consequences of the decision I made years ago. Again, THANK YOU!

    • Anna Newell Jones // May 28, 2013

      Isn’t it a shame that our culture is set-up so that we are expected to take on massive amounts of debt for our educations? I really wish there was another option.

      Congratulations on your new job and I’m so happy that you’ve decided to have a different kind of life. It’s really empowering to realize that you absolutely can change your life starting right now. I am rooting for you all the way!

  29. Melanie // May 17, 2013

    Hello Anna, I found your website by accident and am glad that I did. :) My husband has about $19,000 of student loan debt currently. His initial student loan was about 20,000 in 2007, and we have been paying monthly the minimum due since 2008 when the payment was due. I feel overwhelmed with interest, cause technically we have paid about 13,000 since 2008. Did you have a lot of interest accrued also? Did paying large sums cut back on both principal and interest of your student loans? These student loan companies are pretty UGLY!!!!

    • Anna Newell Jones // May 28, 2013

      Hey Melanie, Yes, I had a lot of interest accrue as well. I paid as much as I could as fast as I could to the highest-interest rate debt while paying the minimum on the other debts and continued that process until all the debts were knocked out. If you pay the highest-interest rate debts first then you can help to avoid those interest accruals. Hang in there, it might take some time but you can do it!

  30. Meg // May 25, 2013

    I’m about to be a junior in college…I just bookmarked this and I’ll be back in two years haha. This is great!

  31. CalystaL // May 28, 2013

    Just curious, how did you decide on paying highest interest card vs. smallest balance first. I have read elsewhere that if a person pays off their smallest balance debt first it will keep them motivated to continue paying off debt because it makes them feel like they are making progress.

    • Anna Newell Jones // May 29, 2013

      Hi, I decided to pay the highest-interest rate debt 1st so that interest wouldn’t continue to accrue. I can see how paying the smallest debts 1st would be motivating but for me, I decided it didn’t make the most financial sense. There are a lot of methods to paying off debt. You’ve got to go with the one you feel the most comfortable with :)

  32. Jane // June 6, 2013

    To ad to the post by JMK re: Birthday and holiday presents…

    My family renews my membership to the non-profit classical radio station to which I belong (WQXR in NYC) every Christmas/Hannukah. I can listen guilt-free and have a year of wonderful music to sustain me. I can’t think of a better present.

  33. Prue // June 6, 2013

    Love this so exited to start ! I’m in about the same amount off debt , can’t wait to clear it in a year and have money in the bank .

  34. marji4x // June 13, 2013

    This is rad! My husband and I just started doing this (only we knew it as The Total Money Makeover, from Dave Ramsey’s book!)

    So excited to hear of more people doing this!

  35. Melissa // June 15, 2013

    Hi, thank you for all the time and effort it takes to share all this helpful info!
    I’m in for a Spending Fast for 18 months. A long time, I know! I’ve racked up several thousands on clothes, shoes, purses, high end makeup…
    It’s really weighing on me so I feel I need to take drastic steps to reduce or eliminate it.

    I have a question though – you said no new makeup. Do you mean you will replace the things you use now that you use up (which in my book would make it a bona fide need) but not buy any different items, or do you mean you won’t buy any makeup at all and when it’s gone you just do without?

    • Anna Newell Jones // June 17, 2013

      For me, I didn’t replace the makeup because I happened to have makeup from the past that I had bought, turned out it was a little “off”, but I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it because it was technically brand new. I just used up all that wacky makeup.

      Keep in mind that my “Wants and Needs” list could look drastically different from yours. What is/was a priority in my life may not be a priority in yours. That’s the beauty of the “Wants and Needs” list you can make a list that reflects your priorities in life so you have a better chance of actually sticking to your debt-payoff mission.

  36. Olivia // June 20, 2013

    Hi there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but
    I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.

    P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  37. J // August 1, 2013

    you are the cutest thing on earth!

  38. Marissa Pilon // August 3, 2013

    I feel like I am in a very similar situation at the monent & happened upon your site from a Pinterest post. Your site makes me feel like it is possible to get myself out of debt I made mistakes in my past that put me in this debt and am determined to get myself out, I think this method is going to get me to that point!

    Thank you

    • Tammy // August 5, 2013

      Thank you for a very inspirational blog! I wish I had found you earlier. We have had our place for 6 years and are on track to pay it off next year. It has required quite a lifestyle change for me as I was addicted to trinkets, clothes, purses, and shoes! Now I think of most of those things as excessive and wasteful. I buy things to replace those that wear out rather than to spend money. We have continued to go to dinner – within reason – and do things we enjoy. Our focus is on paying off the house and saving for early retirement which is targeted for our mid 50’s. We are focusing on quality of life rather than quantity of stuff! Very thankful for my wonderful husband who is the inspiration for the plan and who keeps us on track! If you are thinking of doing this, YOU CAN! Just remember that stuff is just stuff.

      • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

        Thank you for saying that “stuff is just stuff” because it’s so true. I can feel the freedom you experience come through in your comment and love it!

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      Getting out of debt is completely possible! It takes hard work but there is hope!

  39. Mary // August 18, 2013

    I love the idea for this blog & it has inspired me to change my lifestyle! however, i find it so funny you have ads all over your blog for clothing comanies ect. ! hehe :p

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 18, 2013

      I too see the irony. I’ve had to find a way to make a little bit of money on the site or I wouldn’t be able to continue to run it. Also, there are a lot of readers who, like me, have found their way out of debt and who are now able to spend “normally”.

  40. barb // August 19, 2013

    This reminds me of this book –
    A Year of Not Buying it

    http://www.amazon.com/Not-Buying-It-Without-Shopping/dp/0743269365

  41. adina job // October 8, 2013

    Thank you this is a great blog post. I’m the type of person that spends their money before they even have it. So I think it’s a smart idea that you’ve made up the “spending fast” and lists to help maintain your money. Although a few of the things on your list would be different to mine, such as the boxed hair dye but we do have a few similarities. I would completely agree with you that you can’t cut out your wants totally but you can defiantly manage it.

  42. Melody // November 3, 2013

    First: I love the site. Second: I am in graduate school right now for a career that requires licensure at the post-graduate level. While I love what I’m studying, I am already panicking over what will come out to be at least 80,000 in debt (and that is while working part-time). Any recommendations for what to do WHILE your debt is still accruing? I know it sounds a little backwards.. Thanks!

    • Ben // November 18, 2013

      I would start applying her ideas immediately, don’t buy anything you don’t absolutely need. I just recently graduated with a degree that required five years of schooling and have over $100,000 in debt. Looking back at it I wish I would have been extremely frugal while in school. I probably could have got my debt down to the $85,000 mark.

  43. amstincan // January 15, 2014

    I love your site! Following a divorce and subsequent return to school, I racked up an unbelievable amount of debt. I’m embarrassed to admit that things were unfortunately so bad that filing bankruptcy this past year became the only option for me. Three jobs and robbing Peter to pay Paul just for the needs! I felt like I was drowning. Filing bankruptcy is not something I believe in, and I felt a lot of guilt over the decision. I still have obligations to pay my car (only 4.5 months left), student loans and a short-term loan on the 1970 Airstream that is my home. My ultimate goal is to be completely debt free and to never ever find myself enslaved to debt again. I already feel much freer after simplifying to the extent I have. Your site has such great tips that I find helpful to keeping my focus and commitment. Thanks.

  44. Danielle B // February 19, 2014

    Ok, I might be sort of sick to my stomach making the commitment, but I am. And I’ve told all of facebook too. https://www.facebook.com/notes/danielle-bradley/my-spending-fast-plan/10152202055506904

  45. Betty Lung // April 30, 2014

    Anna,
    I am in debt and need a good way to get out of it and your plan looks like a great idea.
    I do not have a computer at home and am using library computers. Is there a way that I can print out the steps of your debt program and take them home to work my own plan? And to study yours to see if I can make mine close to it? This would help me a lot to attain my goal.

    • Anna Newell Jones // May 1, 2014

      Hi Betty, Unfortunately I don’t have printables available right now.

  46. ole joyful // May 1, 2014

    Sort of like being in financial handcuffs – though I’ve never been in any real ones, I have no desire to be in any, but the financial ones, as you’ve learned, are a pain in the patoot.

    If we don’t boss our money – likely it’ll boss us …. our bossing comes now, and if we don’t do it well, the money bossing us often comes later.

    When the debt gets paid off … after living more normally for a while, consider starting at least a partial fast later for a while to build up a financial cushion, an emergency fund: helps one breathe more easily when a spending emergency develops.

    At 85, with a mile of garden row whose produce I take to a couple of churches, asking folks to add more to the offering plate, and social agencies, plus son, landlord and self, and thankful to have the health to do this, I live frugally by choice, rather than necessity … so the investments are more or less “play money” now, that’ll pay my way if/when I need to live in a retirement/nursing home.

    As missionary, helped refugees with nothing get back on their feet after the Korean War, so learned what the really crucial necessities of life are.

    On the day you start work: hands and brain at work, no money.
    On the day you retire: brain and money at work, no hands.

    Good luck with this new adventure, when you choose to start it, says this old financial adviser, formerly clergyperson.

  47. DDMc // May 4, 2014

    Love this article. I need to be debt free asap. I did notice there is no charitable giving. Should I suspend my giving?

    • Blaze // August 31, 2014

      Give your time rather than your rmoney.
      If you or your family are in financial difficulty and don’t address the situation ASAP you may be the one receiving the services you have been supporting. Address your situation and then you’ll be free to allocate funds to charity knowing you aren’t risking your family’s financial stability. In the meantime volunteer your time to the charity or donate un-needed items around the house. Cash is only one way to help out and right now you have your own emergency situation.

  48. Elena // May 6, 2014

    Congratulations on your success with alleviating debt, going back to the basics and being creative. Necessity is the mother of invention. I really like your writing style as well.

  49. Nicci // June 27, 2014

    Thank you so much for all the great tips/advice! I was wondering if you have internet and/or cable in your home? If I didn’t have to be an adult (and parent) I’d have internet at the very top line of my Needs List, I feel so dependent on it and I hate that. The internet is my main source of entertainment and my kids as well, but I know it’s unhealthy sitting on my butt on the internet all the time, but I can’t let it go. I am considering trying at least a month with no internet, but then again what will I do in place of it? See, this is how my inner dialog goes as I debate the pros and cons of the internet. Lol.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

    • Anna Newell Jones // June 28, 2014

      We do have internet, and we did have both internet and cable throughout the Spending Fast and Spending Diet. We only have the very basic cable and internet packages. If you don’t have the basic I would suggest phasing down to that for a month then the next month try going without cable and internet. It might be hard at first but just like most tough things it will get easier with time. Worth giving it a shot. :)

  50. Evelyn // July 26, 2014

    Thank you, Anna! I’ve already made some changes by cutting the chord from satellite tv and watching programs on Hulu Plus. I also downgraded my cell plan to save an extra $15.00/month. Hey, every penny counts. Also got rid of my landline which was costing me $50.00 and now using voip phone service for $13.00 month. You’ve motivated me to do this! :)

  51. Sue // August 19, 2014

    Hi, I am assuming that insurance was on your “needs” list? And that water and garbage were covered in your rent? I am enjoying your site very much! Thank you. :)

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 19, 2014

      Hi Sue, Yes, insurance was considered a Need but didn’t make it onto the original list. I considered water to be under the utilities umbrella and we don’t get charged a garbage fee where I live.

  52. Economizar Dinheiro // September 12, 2014

    Very nice!
    I greatly appreciated your tips, I want to save money to travel and I will follow all your tips.

  53. Serena T. // September 19, 2014

    I have my blog up. Can I leave the url? I have 0 readers/commenters and feel a bit alone in this.

  54. Jamie // October 1, 2014

    Thank you for blogging! I’ve used your blog page several times to do small two-week spend fasts this year. For November, I am gearing up to do a full Spend Month! These are difficult to do, but there are no large commitments in this month and I don’t holiday shop so this should be wonderful.
    I’m using the month of October to gear up for it…I know I can’t completely kick my Starbucks habit so I’m earning Swagbucks giftcards.

  55. Candy // October 10, 2014

    Just came across your blog.. Loving it!
    Wanted to just comment that your profile pic is GORGEOUS! I think you are really, really pretty!
    That is all ;)

    Candy from Canada
    (On Pinterest: Candy, Minimalist Wife)

  56. Jenna Michelle // October 19, 2014

    Made the list of debts a’ la your snowball discussion. Current total is $137,000 (OHMYGAWD, I know, right?!?!). I will definitely be putting your Spending Fast to the test! :)

    • Anna Newell Jones // October 19, 2014

      It’s so eye-opening to add it all up! Keep me posted on your progress! You can do it!

      • SavvyMama // November 23, 2014

        Wow – this is super interesting. I think I am half way there -but around the holidays – I get a little soft – I love this and I deserve it – oh just one more treat. I think I will try to do a Christmas season fast and see how far I get :)

51 Trackbacks

  1. […] The Spending Fast, Newell Jones had to master the art of staying near.  If it wasn’t free, she didn’t do […]

  2. […] 3 ) & then we saved | home of the spending fast. this chick is a serious inspiration. she got […]

  3. […] I’m implementing a 2013 spending freeze (moneyning) or spending fast (andthenwesaved). […]

  4. […] Participate in The Spending Fast […]

  5. By here & now | Adventures in Hustling on January 2, 2013 at 9:53 am

    […] accounting for as Needs that are really Wants? Sure. Would I see faster results by doing a full-on Spending Fast? Without a doubt. But at this point in my life, I need to do more than simply cut all of my Want […]

  6. By Oh! | Adventures in Hustling on January 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

    […] 5: Do at least two month-long Spending Fasts during the […]

  7. By Friday Finds - 1/4/13 | Running Bun on January 4, 2013 at 8:54 am

    […] just added And Then We Saved to my reader. I saw a post about a “Spending Fast,” and I was interested. I have credit card debt and an assload of student loans to pay off. […]

  8. […] duo. A few weeks ago we began talking about And Then We Saved Blogger Anna Newell Jones’ , Spending Fast , which helped her pay off $23,000 in debt, and the Spending Diet, which is a modified version of […]

  9. By Starting the Spending Fast « HOPEonthemountain on January 6, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    […] how this one crazily dedicated woman payed off a giant chunk of debt by going on what she called a Spending Fast. (You should read about it. […]

  10. […] then I came across an article in Self magazine today about a gal becoming debt-free via a “Spending Fast“.  It was all very intriguing to me.  I’ll get into the nitty gritty of our debt in […]

  11. By A 2013 Spending Diet | MONEY MATTERS on January 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    […] and saving (or even people who aren’t struggling, and just want to make some simple changes) The Spending Fast, and The Spending Diet. The Spending Fast is a great way to help you get out of debt. You’ll […]

  12. […] About the Spending Fast ® […]

  13. […] About the Spending Fast ® […]

  14. By wanting what you have « Pink Laundry on January 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    […] learn from their examples and find peace and contentment with my own stuff… there may be a spending fast in my future… anybody with […]

  15. By A Consumption Experiment « These Stones on January 31, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    […] her post, Rachel shared another site, one which inspired she and her husband to try the spending fast in the first place. This post, […]

  16. […] Inspirational reading: Paid of 24k in debt in 15 months! WOW! http://andthenwesaved.com/about-the-spending-fast/ […]

  17. […] improve their money situation (check out The Thrifty Social Worker, Carly Wilson, LearnVest, and  And Then We Saved for examples of spending fasts and similar strategies). I applaud their efforts and feel that a […]

  18. […] improve their money situation (check out The Thrifty Social Worker, Carly Wilson, LearnVest, and  And Then We Saved for examples). I applaud their efforts and feel that this can be an excellent way to kick start […]

  19. By Friday Links - Designing Around on February 8, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    […] done a spending fast (And what does the existence of this say about how much we […]

  20. By THE WEEK’S LINKS | A DENVER HOME COMPANION on February 9, 2013 at 10:45 am

    […] inspired by this denver blogger to get our family out of debt. jp and i are on a spending fast. last paycheck alone we had more extra cash than i thought possible to put towards debt — it […]

  21. […] month Chop & I are doing a spending fast, we are extremely frugal right now but are curious how a complete freeze on our spending can help […]

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    […] on all the little extras in order to get out of debt. I was inspired by And Then We Saved’s Spending Fast*, and how she paid off all her debt so […]

  23. By Fresh Inspiration | Bring on the Budget! on March 15, 2013 at 7:55 am

    […] I recently started following Chelsea over on No Debt Brunette and now she’s doing a weekly Spending Fast ® article over on Anna’s blog, And Then We Saved. Go check out Chelsea’s brand new […]

  24. By Very Easy Felt Flowers | The Country Mouse on March 19, 2013 at 7:46 am

    […] more a “I desperately want my own home” declaration. Then I came across this site. Its Spending Fast combined with some budgeting will help with the whole spend less/save more thing. It will; no […]

  25. […] area around your porch is dirt”, just remember one thing. I’m on what you would call a spending fast – indefinitely. Which means I’m watching what I spend my money on in order to get out […]

  26. […] coupons, only going out if you have a Groupon or LivingSocial voucher, or doing the fantastic Spending Fast. You are dedicated to saving money, and it even gives you a little high when you see the “dollars […]

  27. […] I’ve been reading about Anna’s journey on her blog And Then We Saved, where she talks about how she spent money only on the necessities for a year in order to conquer […]

  28. […] “spending fast.” And here’s a spoiler: It worked well enough that she’s now trademarked the term and attracted a following to a blog about the process, […]

  29. […] “spending fast.” And here’s a spoiler: It worked well enough that she’s now trademarked the term and attracted a following to a blog about the process, […]

  30. By Needs, Wants, and No-Nos | Debt Free Before 33 on May 12, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    […] to stick to necessities and make it more difficult to justify non-essential purchases. Following Anna’s advice (as I plan to do frequently), I have separated my needs from my wants and added no-nos. Needs are […]

  31. […] Anna at And Then We Saved listed her wants vs. needs to determine her spending fast. Donations didn’t make either list […]

  32. By Make a Brave Choice – Campfire Chic on May 20, 2013 at 5:31 am

    […] Going on a spending fast […]

  33. […] started The Spending Fast. I made my wants and needs. Yes, my needs included haircuts, hair dye, mascara and sewing […]

  34. […] of the student loan and credit card debt that I suddenly realize I have. That drastic change is the Spending Fast […]

  35. […] my life where I need to become more financial savvy. Doing some research on the internet lead me to this blog post where Anna of And Then We Saved outlines how to do a spending fast. I believe she “fasted” […]

  36. […] have considered taking part in the And Then We Saved Spending Fast ®. I think where we are right now, parts of it apply and parts of it don’t. Before Summer, we […]

  37. […] of the student loan and credit card debt that I suddenly realize I have. That drastic change is the Spending Fast […]

  38. By No Buy July | She Loved Life on August 1, 2013 at 8:04 am

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  39. By A Spending Fast | A Vegetarian Blog on August 9, 2013 at 10:41 am

    […] looking up yoga, healthy recipes, or… eek! bridal things, was this website called How To Do A Spending Fast. This person was gainfully employed when she did her spending fast, and she did it AFTER her […]

  40. By Spending Diet topic | My Blog on August 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    […] in a spending diet or spending freeze are insightful and easy (in theory) to follow. While the Spending Freeze seemed a bit too extreme for my taste, I’m excited to implement a customized Spending Diet […]

  41. By Spotlight: And Then We Saved. Com | on August 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    […] something here and had to check out the rest of the site. Turns out she went on a strict one year Spending Fast which wasn’t always easy but afforded her a better and healthier lifestyle– a […]

  42. By 10 Unconventional Ways to Save Money‏ on September 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    […] spending fast, a term coined by Anna of And Then We Saved, is an extreme way of paying off debt, with guaranteed results. You can do your spending fast for […]

  43. […] to let you throw a lot of money at debt over a short period of time. And it works. It worked for her. So much so that she has received MAD PRESS from the success. So I thought, if it works for this […]

  44. By 9 Tips and Tricks To Kick Your Bad Spending Habits on September 19, 2013 at 11:44 am

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  45. By Month One Results | Beautiful Light on October 1, 2013 at 9:47 pm

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    […] and hope to conquer your financial issues. She offers a “Spending Diet” and a “Spending Fast ®” (both totally free programs/advice) depending on your situation and needs. Her writing is […]

  47. […] The Spending Fast and The Spending Diet – for those pushing to get out of debt […]

  48. […] week ago, I decided to embark on a Spending Fast. <– that name is trademarked or something by And Then We Saved.  Go check it out!  My […]

  49. […] attacked her debt by going on a Spending Fast®. She cut all of her expenses down to the bare-bones and only purchased items that were absolutely […]

  50. By Time to make a change. | catralense on November 27, 2013 at 7:47 am

    […] have been totally inspired by the idea of a ‘spending fast’, which I first read about here (where I also got the image which sums it all up).  I need to decide what is going on each list.  […]

  51. […] a year-long Spending Diet starting in July. Anna Newell Jones from And Then We Saved invented the Spending Fast and the Spending Diet and I’ll be sharing my journey over there. Basically I’ll be […]

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  • Anna

    Hi, I'm Anna! I paid off close to 24k in debt in only 15 months & it completely changed my life! I want you to have a debt-free life too so here you'll be able to read all about: How to do a Spending Fast®, saving & making more money, DIY's, & a lot about living awesomely with less. Let's do this!

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