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What can excessive spending lead to? Loads of debt, which can lead to sleepless nights, stress, harassment from debt collectors, and even bankruptcy.
While such a scenario may seem exaggerated, it’s not for plenty of people who give in to their urge to splurge. And if you’re one of them, here is how to keep such a situation at bay by doing a 21-day financial fast.
How to Do a 21-Day Financial Fast
Just like a dieting fast where you don’t eat, you won’t spend for 21 days during this financial fast. But if you think you’ll be starving or stuck on the street from not buying food or paying your rent, don’t worry, as it allows for necessities.
Impulse purchases on things you don’t need can take up a significant portion of your expenses. In fact, they may make up the majority of your costs and could be the most significant risk to your financial future.
By sticking to necessities for 21 days, you can avoid impulse purchases altogether to keep more money in your pocket.
While luxuries like eating out, going to the salon, or shopping for clothes you don’t need are out of the picture for 21 days, here’s another way to control your spending: Sticking to cash.
Think of the difference in how you feel when buying something with a credit card versus cash. When you use a card, you probably don’t feel much pain or separation since the transaction is quick and doesn’t touch your bank account.
When you pay with cash, however, you have to count it out. You have to take it out of your wallet and hand it over. And once the cashier has it, that cash is gone for good.
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This feeling of loss and separation can act as a deterrent to keep you from spending on non-essentials. By sticking to it during your 21-day financial fast, you can realize that paying with cash is the way to go.
It’s important to remember that this exercise is 21 days. Don’t cut its length to a week or two weeks to make it more convenient. Doing so will minimize its benefits and won’t make any changes to your spending lifestyle.
Tips to Make Your Financial Fast Successful
To ensure you finish the fast and reap its rewards, write down your expenses, thoughts, and feelings in a journal so you can read them later on.
If possible, get an accountability partner to do the fast with you. They can offer support and motivate you to finish.
Before you begin, make a list of needs and wants. Don’t be too lenient when making a list and place a ton of luxuries under your needs section, either. It’s meant to be a challenge that cuts unnecessary spending, so categorizing correctly is crucial.
Lastly, eliminate any temptations. For example, if you love to shop online, delete your credit card information from any auto-fill programs that make it easy to make purchases with one click. Or if you love window shopping at the mall, don’t go.