How Much to Save Each Month During a Spending Fast & Other Questions Answered

“It’s not how much you make, it’s what you do with it.” 

Shockingly, I couldn’t find the author of that quote. Does anyone know who first said that line?

I bring up this quote because I’ve gotten some questions requesting the exact amounts I spent/spend on different things. People have asked if I use certain software to manage my money, how much I make and other nuts and bolts types of questions to try to determine how to structure their own Spending Fasts/Spending Diets.

How much to save each month during a Spending Fast and other questions answered…

Sooo, I thought I would tell you all about it all at once if you’re looking for that info and don’t find your question answered in the about sections- Here and Here. (Please keep the questions/comments coming! I love hearing from you all!)

SSOooooo, I’ve been hesitant to say exact amounts. Mainly because, well, I didn’t save the money I did by paying attention to exact amounts and I don’t want to misrepresent by acting like I did do it that way when I didn’t. It might be hard to believe I didn’t do it that way since we’re all told by financial gurus that paying attention to every penny is the way it MUST or SHOULD be done. Well, I’m here to tell you I did it another way and it worked for me. Since budgets didn’t work for me and since I find the task of inputting amounts into computer software super tedious I didn’t do that either. I wanted to make saving money and paying off my debt AS EASY AS POSSIBLE! I WANTED to stick with it. I WANTED to get my debt paid off. I WANTED and NEEDED it to work.

Also, since I don’t think it matters how much I make that determines your success with saving and since everyone’s (income) numbers with be different and since everyone’s priorities and needs (outcome- new word?:) will be different I’ve decided to not say how much I make (also, that’s kind of private info). I work a very average day job as a clerk for the state and as you can imagine, I don’t make wads of money doing that. It’s as average as average gets. More than others, less than others.

SOoooOO, DETAILS in the form of questions and answers.

Question: How do you manage your money? Do you mint.com or Quicken or Quick Books or what?

Answer: I use the free paper checkbook register from the bank. I write in all my receipts, constantly updating the register as purchases are made and as deposits are made. I look at my account online to see what has cleared and what has not cleared. My checkbook register is my official record. I use the amount that I see at the end of the month to report to you what I saved for the previous month. That amount and the way I disperse it is added to this blogs Total Savings section.

Question: How do you know how much to save each month? 

Answer: I guess I do it a little backwards from what you might expect. Rather than figure out a set amount to save each month and rather than figure out what exact amount to spend on food or other things I made a list of my needs and I spent money ONLY on those things (with the Spending Diet I have a $100 minor allowance for “non-needs”. So, The Spending Diet is just The Spending Fast but with an allowance.) At the end of the month what is left over after spending on needs only I send directly to the debtors. I’ve been knocking out the debt one by one. I started with the highest interest rate amount NOT highest balance amount while paying minimum amounts due on other debts. Continue this cycle until the debt it wiped out!

Question: Where’d you get your glasses? Are they new or old?

Answer: They’re over 50 years old and I got them at this strangely dive-y eyeglass place in Downtown Denver. My eyeglass place doesn’t have a site online but there are zillions of awesome frames on Etsy.

We all have different lives, different needs, different priorities, different responsibilities. If you make a lot of money you could still be in crap loads of debt. If you make a little bit of money you could have money in the bank. It’s all about how you deal with what you’ve got. I heard this story about a lady who was on welfare and managed her money so well that she was able to put her kid through college with the money! So nuts! So, while the rich fellow might look like he’s doing amazing we don’t really know. I’ve decided that I can’t judge what I see on the outside to what I think someone’s bank account looks like. Everyone has their own financial path and can make their own choices to be in the hole or not. Or, once they get in the hole they can make the choice to get the heck OUT of there.

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P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp!

3 comments

3 thoughts on “How Much to Save Each Month During a Spending Fast & Other Questions Answered

  1. Sarah

    Anna, you can be my financial guru. I hate budgeting and usually get my mind warped trying to categorize all of my needs and then I feel down on myself for HAVING needs and not having more to work with after it's all said and done. Having 2 small kids and working full time doesn't leave much open for picking up another job (like at least one expert seems to harp on about). I just have to put my blinders on and do what's best for me.

    I'm really glad you didn't say exactly how much you make. It truly is impossible to compare and I probably would have felt bad about myself or my progress either way lol.

  2. Kari

    Hi Anna!

    I'm a twenty-year old business-accounting student from Canada and I love your blog so much! I've always been really interested in personal finance/accounting/numbers and your blog definitely feeds my soul. I can identify with you as someone who likes nice things but doesn't like to spend a lot of money. I've always been a saver and your blog has inspired me to be even more careful with my money. Thanks so much for being yourself. I love your glasses….I wear glasses too and I've been thinking of buying a pair kind of similar to yours ha ha. Oh and btw, because of you I've started a blog of my own called Tax Frenzy! It's basically just teaching people in a simple and fun way about income taxes and why we pay taxes and how people can maximize their tax credits! You should definitely check it out….it's tax-frenzy.blogspot.com. Thanks for everything!!! XOXO

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