How to do a Successful 21-Day Spending Fast

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Do you need to reset your budget? Are you sick of irresponsible spending habits? Have you had a sudden change of income and need to cut costs? Are you trying to save money for a special purchase or event? If so, a 21-day spending fast may be just what you need!

How to do a 21-Day Spending Fast

I announced on Instagram and Facebook earlier this week that I was planning to do another round of my 21-day spending fast and many of you sent messages letting me know that you want to join me! I’m so glad accountability definitely helps you to be successful!

My 21-Day Spending Fast will begin Monday, April 15th and extend through Sunday, May 5th.  I’m happy to share my story and what exactly brought me to the point of doing a spending fast.

Why do a 21-Day Spending Fast?

I am doing this fast not out of desperation, but out of disgust. I am simply fed up with my irresponsible spending habits. Specifically wasting money on things like eating out {multiple meals/day}, continuing to buy groceries despite the fact that we end up eating out all. the. time, Amazon Prime and my book addiction {reading is a good thing, but y’all, I have more books than I could read in a year!}, Hobby Lobby trips {buying things simply because they are cute}, clothing {my closet is literally bursting at the seams, Starbucks and fast food, hoarding homeschool curriculum {that we will likely never use}, and the list goes on. I’m done! Fed up. God has blessed us with a healthy income and we squander it. I need a reset.  It needs to be extreme and a 21-Day spending fast is just the way to do it.

How to do a 21-Day Spending Fast:

  1. Set a start date. I chose Monday, April 15th because that gives me time to plan and ensure that I’m setting myself up for success.
  2. Get your family on board. Communicate with your spouse and your children. This is a family affair.
  3. Lay down the ground rules. Here are my rules of the spending fast:
    –NO eating out except for prescheduled out of town overnight trips.
    –NO Amazon orders.
    –NO Starbucks or fast food runs.
    –NO frivolous spending specifically: clothing, make up, home decor, office supplies, etc.
    –NO trips to Target or Hobby Lobby
    –NO money spent on entertainment outside the house {ie- movies, etc}
    –NO new books
    –NO new homeschool curriculum
    –NO nail/spa appointments
    –NO random spending on the kids {outside of necessities}
  4. Specifically spell out any exceptions or prior commitments that you will spend money on during the spending fast. Set budgets for these things. Here are my exceptions:
    Easter baskets $100 budget
    –Groceries $150/week budget. With an additional $75 budget for Easter dinner.
    –Giving, tithing, helping others- NO budget limit.
    –Business expenses
    –$50 date night budget- because date nights are a priority in our marriage!
  5. Identify wants vs. needs. Obviously things can come up during your spending fast. You could get ill, your child could get ill, this could require doctor’s visits and the need to purchase medication. This is clearly a need. Don’t hesitate to spend money on these things. On the other hand, your best friend calling and asking you to go to lunch is a want. Invite your friend over for lunch at your place instead. Knowing the difference in a want or a need will help you to stay successful.
  6. Avoid areas of temptation. Plan ahead- pack snacks, avoid going to places that you will be tempted to break your spending fast- Target is my area of temptation. I MUST stay out of that store during my spending fast!

My amazing Facebook and Instagram communities have chimed and in and shared their best tips for a successful spending fast. Check them out…

  • Announce your spending fast at the last minute and begin immediately so that you aren’t tempted to go buy everything you want before it begins. ~Susan W.
  • Keep a case of bottled water and a box of granola bars in the car to prevent unexpected stops. ~Carrie B.
  • Utilize Crock Pot meals if you know you’re going to be gone most of the day so that you aren’t tempted to get takeout because you’re “too tired” to cook. ~Jessica O.
  • Use cash! It’s easier to see where your money is going. ~Sonya S.
  • Don’t go to the places where you tend to impulsively spend money during your fast. ~Tiffany S.
  • If you’re prone to “cheat” give yourself a “spending budget” of a small amount, when it is gone, it’s gone. ~Tiffany S.
  • Meal planning is key! ~Tiffany S.
  • Research recipes that are restaurant copycats so that it seems like you’re eating out. ~Janalyn C.
  • Spend one afternoon meal prepping for the week ahead. ~Janalyn C.
  • Don’t go into stores to “kill time”. ~Janalyn C.
  • Put credit cards in a lock box. Only keep your bank card on hand for emergencies. ~Brenda C.
  • Make a list of “no cost” entertainment options before the spending fast begins so that you can reference it as needed. ~Heather G.
  • Use a grocery pick up service. It cuts down on impulse spending. ~ Tiffany S.
  • Whenever you leave the house, pack a cooler with lunch or snacks so you don’t have to grab food when you’re out. ~Melissa D.
  • Meal plan for groceries, but also have a stand-by like a box of mac and cheese or canned soup, so if the day gets away from you – boom! ~Nicky M.
  • Use everything in your freezer or pantry before buying more! Get creative! ~Shannon C.
  • Write down every dollar spent, no matter how small. ~Ginelle S.
  • Planning will equal success. ~Laura G.
  • Reward yourself by putting money you would have spent in savings or toward debt. ~Anna
  • Use a zero balance savings account and overtime you would have purchased something, transfer the you would have spent into the account so you can see what your spending fast led to.
  • Unsubscribe from sales emails. ~Rebecca
  • If you struggle with Amazon Prime addiction, put items in your cart, but wait one week before you checkout, this helps you to determine if it is a want or a need. ~Becca E.
  • Write a list of all the things that you CAN do that won’t break your spending fast. It’s a positive list. ~Melanie W.

Will you be joining me for this 21-Day Spending Fast? If so, let me know in the comments below. On Monday of each week during the fast, I will share 100% honest updates on my progress. 

Reset your budget with a 21-day spending fast. Here's how you can set yourself up for success from the beginning...

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Hi, there! I’m Heather Bowen, and I am so glad you’re here.

My passion lies in helping homeschool moms balance marriage, motherhood, homemaking, and homeschooling all while remaining sane!

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