Melanie Vs. The Spending Diet

Airstream Family Spending Diet

I’m so happy Melanie is sharing her Spending Diet adventures with us! I’ll let her take it from here. xo, Anna

Hi ya’ll! My name is Melanie, I write over at Love Library, and you might remember me from some of my guest posts here at And Then We Saved. I try to save in all aspects of my life, from my wedding to my living situation. Currently, my husband, George and I live in a vintage (and paid-for!) Airstream trailer. It’s a little unconventional, but we make it work. We moved into the Airstream to get out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and so George could focus on his art work. We’ve now saved enough to get us out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. We have an emergency fund, George had a chance to really expand his business and we’ve even had the chance to travel.

But I also realize that for us, living in the Airstream for the rest of our lives isn’t going to be a viable option. I love the ol’ Airstream, but I can’t imagine hobbling around our humble abode when I’m 80. After all our hard work, I also don’t want to plunge ourselves into 20 or 30 years worth of debt either. (Even if it is good debt and all that jazz.) My dream is to pay for a house in cash. Sound insane? Yeah, it is insane. But I have delusions of grandeur and the Spending Diet is going to help me reach those goals.

I started the Spending Diet on July 1st, 2014 and I am hoping to continue it for a year minimum. I chose the Diet instead of the Spending Fast because I don’t do so well when I feel too constrained. For instance, If I’m told I can’t have cookies, I’ll eat ALL THE COOKIES. So for one year, I will be giving myself an allowance of $100 for the wants on my list. My husband gets his own $100 allowance. We don’t share so well.

First up is the Needs List, you might notice we don’t have rent or water. We live rent-free in our Airstream that is parked on family land and we have well water. Our cars are also paid off.


    • Electric
    • Cell phone
    • Internet (my job and my husband, George’s job requires it)
    • Food (from pre-paid CSA only)
    • Gym membership (local gym, it’s reasonable and health is important)
    • Doctor co-pays
    • Medicine (prescriptions and off-brand over the counter stuff)
    • George’s healthcare
    • Car and motorcycle insurance
    • Gas (Busing isn’t an option where I live)
    • Art supplies (for George’s job)
    • Website hosting costs (very low)
    • IRA contributions

The following is my Wants List. I listed many of the same wants as Anna. I put my big vices in italics. I love a good coffee shop coffee, expensive food (hello, Whole Foods!) and heading into a craft store feels like Christmas morn to me.


  • Travel (le sigh!)
  • Gifts
  • Coffee at coffee shops
  • Clothes
  • Books
  • Craft stuff
  • Unnecessary food
  • Self-improvement stuff (e-books, e-courses, etc.)
  • New make-up
  • Eating out
  • Movies
  • Shoes
  • Haircuts
  • Books
  • Jewelry (sad!)
  • Pretty much anything else

So, that’s it. Each month I pull out $100 in cash from my bank account and when that’s done, it’s done. I’ll be updating you all each month with my progress. Talk to you soon! Melanie

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


17 thoughts on “Melanie Vs. The Spending Diet

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  1. Robyn

    Melanie, you are inspiring!

    Seeing others who have adopted this kind of lifestyle and are thriving because of it makes me way more inclined to do the same! I’m going to make a list of my needs vs. wants and give myself an allowance, too. Love it!

  2. Michelle

    Excited to follow along with your spending diet! I’m heading over to your blog now because we have been thinking about traveling around in an Airstream. :)

  3. Brandy

    Go Melanie Go!!! Sounds like you’re off to a great start!! It will be fun to follow your posts! Good Luck to you & George!

  4. Marie

    That is an awesome and audacious plan! I am impressed that you chose to give up the big-stuff and opt to live in the airstream. I am sure that has done absolute wonders for your finances. I look forward to seeing how you do on the spending diet, but more so how you progress with purchasing a home in cash.

  5. Dani

    I’m on a necessity-induced spending diet at the moment. My husband and I just moved across the pond to England, are living with his family, and I still can’t legally work yet. I’ve been taking out our (COMBINED!) 60 pound allowance each week, and it’s been really refreshing to not just swipe my debit card for little things here and there. It’s made me realize so much how much we spend on unnecessary things, and needless to say we pack lunches when we go out for the day now. But I can see our own place in our future, and I love this less-is-more life!

    <3 dani

  6. Kate@Money Propeller

    Hi Melanie, good thing that you guys are giving yourself an allowance of $100, maybe I should try that also. :) I can say that I can control over my “wants” but sometimes I splurged especially when it comes to my hair. :)

  7. Terri

    I am also thinking of going on a spending diet….I LOVE IT!! I would like to I would like to begin school for my graduate degree in January so it is important that I save money now!!! I think you are VERY smart to save by living small. I did the same and paid cash for my little ( 1,000 sq foot ) house!! I am soooo happy that I did not have to take out a mortgage. God is soo Good!!!

  8. Katie

    I have been considering the spending freeze or diet for a while now and I think it’s time I start! I look forward to your posts for inspiration and motivation. Thank you for sharing!

  9. The Thrifty Dime

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