Reader Question – Spending Diet #Fail

Spending Diet Fail |

Hey Anna,

I love your blog and all of the great ideas you share! I have been trying to follow a Spending Fast/Diet for probably around 2 years, and can never last more than 2 weeks. I signed the Get Out of Debt Pledge on April 1st and well…guess how long that lasted? Thankfully, I don’t have much debt but my goal is to pay off what I have, build my savings and learn to live with less. I am getting married this fall, as well as returning to school, and being a part of a few of my friends’ weddings this summer.

I guess my question is, How can I make this commitment and actually follow through when there are things I “need” to spend money on? I have been saving regularly for my wedding and trying to stay within my budget, but then there are wedding gifts, bridesmaid dresses, shoes, etc. for the other events I am a part of.

Sorry this turned into a ramble, I am feeling pretty defeated and just don’t know where to start!!

Where am I going wrong? I’d appreciate your help.
Discouraged but Committed



I totally hear you with the struggle. I would recommend that you do the best you can and forgive yourself for any “slip-ups” along the way. Stay committed to the Spending Diet for the entire length of time you commit to. Even if “mistakes” happen, keep going. Even if the Spending Diet isn’t done perfectly (and there’s no way it could be done perfectly, by the way) you will still be better off at the end of the time period than if you never started the Spending Diet in the first place. It’s kind of like that saying, time is still going to pass if you make efforts to change your life, or not, so you might as well make some changes! (I completely paraphrased and butchered that quote but you get my point;)

As far as the commitments you’ve already made, I recommend that you stick to those. However… do everything in your power to lower the cost of the expenses. For example, for the weddings you’re a part of, try to get the bride to pick a less expensive bridesmaid dress for you all and make the wedding gift your give to the couple. Get creative and adopt the question/motto, “How can I do what I want to do without spending any money?” With that mindset, I almost guarantee that you will start getting super-creative about finding answers to your spending dilemmas.

Also, something to consider if you keep starting and stopping the Spending Diet is that maybe you’re not ready for the Spending Diet just yet. Try some other things first like cutting back on expenses, traditional budgeting, etc. Those could be a good fit, and releasing yourself from the pressure of the Spending Fast/Diet might be just what you need. Then… if those other options don’t work, the Spending Fast and Spending Diet will still be available when/if you need them and when/if you’re decide you’re ready to go all in with them.

:) Anna

Have you struggled with sticking with Spending Fast/Spending Diet? Have you found techniques that help you when you “fall off the wagon”?

If you’d like me to answer a question for you here on the blog send me an email with your question to: In the subject line please write: Reader Question. I’ll change all identifying info so no one will know it’s you but me and you. I most likely won’t be able to answer every single question but I’ll try to let you know ASAP if your question will be getting selected for inclusion in a post.

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


4 thoughts on “Reader Question – Spending Diet #Fail

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  1. Jane

    Hi DBC–

    I share your pain :). Like you, I am very wobbly when it comes to consistently following serious saving/spending diets. What I have noticed, however, is that I am asking myself more questions about what I really want/need and getting rid of a lot of excess stuff. This is helping financially, but even more emotionally as I move to a more conscious way of living overall. Keep at it–you will see changes!


  2. Sarah Wakely

    It took me several years to find a good way to budget. Honestly, its not one size fits all. MY biggest problem was not being able to socialize.. so what I do now is bring a flask when I go out and order some cheap beers. I still have a great time and I spend waaay less than I used to. I have started utilizing credit card points and take advantage of free offers.. Anna is very right though, you have to think “How can I do what I want to do without spending any money?”
    Good luck!
    Sarah :)

  3. MomofTwoPreciousGirl

    I think often we fall off the wagon because we are not realistic. Could I budget zero for Starbucks? Sure. Will I last a day? Nope!
    The great thing about budgeting is you have the chance to decide what you will spend on. You don’t have to put zero on the things you enjoy but you can strategically cut back on them. So maybe I move from a venti to a grande for a month. Then to a tall. Slowly cutting back can help keep you going.

  4. ashley

    I think it’s easy to fall into failure when we’re too strict on ourselves. You should be realistic about what your needs are – what are things you really need to even enjoy life (maybe it’s a haircut every few weeks or a bottle of wine). Don’t cut everything out – but cut out what truly can go and won’t leave you feeling like you’re missing out on stuff!

    I also have a lot of pop-up bills that happen from time to time. Like medical bills or I just volunteered to sponsor a kid as Secret Santa. I try to make sure I have some wiggle room so I can do things here and there without charging anything – but just remember you can’t do everything.


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