No this isn’t a post about deli meat (I know, I know, so clever). Instead, I want to talk for a minute about why going cold turkey on spending isn’t necessarily the best debt relief or savings plan for the LONG TERM (it can be, but it’s not for everyone). Sure, not spending ANY excess money would certainly net you the greatest savings overall, but it might also make you miserable and less likely to stick with your financial plan. Instead, making small tweaks and adjustments, and being reasonable about your own expectations, may be a more sustainable alternative.
If you’re like me, you want to save money and/or pay off debt as quickly as possible, but you also want the freedom and flexibility to enjoy your life. So how do you do that?
First of all, I think it’s a great idea to make space in your budget for excess spending money and STICK WITH IT. This way you will have money built in that you can go ahead and enjoy guilt free, but by setting a budget you will make sure the “fun” spending doesn’t get out of hand and cut into your overall financial goals.
Second, you can shave smaller, less noticeable amounts off of several areas of your finances to distribute the savings “burden”. All those little bits will add up to big savings, but because you are just taking a little bit from several areas, you will hardly feel the difference. There’s been a lot of talk in some financial circles about the 10×10 rule (as in save $10 from 10 areas of spending and you will put $100 back in your pocket without much effort). This is a great rule, but doesn’t really work for me, because I don’t really have ten areas of spending. Instead, I use a 25×4 rule and cut $25 per month from each of four areas of spending. Ultimately, as with anything, you have to do what works for you!