Five Steps to a Spending Detox
Updated: Aug 26, 2022
Do you often wonder where all your money went at the end of a pay period? Are you living from paycheck to paycheck? Is your spending out of control?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, a spending detox might be just what you need to get your financial life back on track.
A detoxification process doesn’t just apply to your body. It can apply to your finances as well. Detoxification is a good word for the process, as the discomfort and challenges of spending withdrawal can feel quite real, just like a physical detoxification.
However, in the end, you’ll experience the comfort of being able to live within your means and the peace that comes with financial security.
Are you ready? Let's get started.
Tip #1 - Locate the cause(s) of your financial challenges:
The first step is to go over your bills and bank statements carefully. If you see something you don’t recognize, mark it and investigate it.
• This is especially true for any online purchases. There should be a phone number you can call. Call them to get the details of the charges.
Tip #2 - Admit the truth.
1. You probably already know where your spending weaknesses lie. If you didn’t before, you should recognize them now.
· Look over your spending and search for areas where you’re being wasteful. Are you spending $100 a month on your morning coffee? Are you going out to eat five nights a week? Are you buying too many magazines at the checkout? Too many beauty treatments each month? Too many beers with the guys? Admit the truth.
"95% of respondents believe that people in the United States waste more money than they should. " - Study: The Most Wasteful Spending Among Americans (The Ascent Staff)
Tip #3 - Ask yourself ‘why’?
Why do you think you’ve been spending money unnecessarily? Are you bored? Are you sad? Do you simply want more than your income can support?
· One big challenge in life is dealing appropriately with feelings of anxiety, boredom, and sadness. Some people overeat. Some overspend. Others find other outlets.
· What are some alternatives that don’t have negative consequences? Wouldn’t it be great to be ‘addicted’ to exercising instead of spending? Think of some other habits you can develop that you might enjoy doing. Going for a walk might make you feel better when you’re stressed. Walking is free and good for you, too. Call a friend or family member.
Tip #4 - Start the detox.
Here are three ways you could go about your financial detox:
· Go cold turkey. Simply decide to eliminate all the unnecessary expenses from your life, starting right now. This is tough but doable. You’ll have to be strong.
· Eliminate a few expenses. Maybe you’ll skip the weekly massages and buying lunch every day. You’ll keep some of your optional expenses but eliminate others.
· Cut back on everything, but don’t eliminate it. Maybe you’ll decide to cut all your discretionary spending in half. This way you still get to do everything, only not as much.
Tip #5 - Take steps to make it permanent.
If you’re going to take away your spending habit, raise your odds of success by replacing it with something else you enjoy.
· Evaluate your spending and general sense of well being every month. How are you doing? If you’re having spending withdrawals, you might need a different substitute. However, like being on a diet, it’s never totally without its challenges.
A spending detox might be just what you need to get your spending under control and help to guarantee a positive financial future. Try these tips today. Be strong. Change is challenging, but you can do it!
Feel free to share other ideas that might be helpful for a spending detox.