Due to its weight, a train leaving the station goes very slowly. It takes time and momentum to gain speed and hurry down the track. In the first few miles, the train could stop relatively easily if it had to, but once the train reaches full speed, it takes time and a lot of track for the train to come to a full stop. In the same way, spending can be managed when things are moving slowly but once it starts speeding up, it can get harder to stop. Sometimes spending habits get out of control when there is too much momentum behind them.

The cycle of earning and spending is part of life. Life costs money and our daily routine is filled with purchases that we need… and want. Sometimes the lines between the two get blurred. What we need and what we want start to feel like the same thing and spending can get out of hand. The solution: a spending fast.

What is a spending fast?

You’ve probably heard about fasts. They are an abstinence of food, activity, or behavior for a specified length of time. Generally, fasts are done for health benefits, religious purposes, or to modify a behavior. In the case of a spending fast, the goal is to stop all non-essential spending to reset and recalibrate your spending behavior.

How a spending fast works.

Simple enough – a spending fast requires zero spending on non-essential items for a set period of time. The goal being to stop the spending habits and reframe how you prioritize your spending. This can include actions like:

  • No fast food or eating out
  • No alcohol or coffee
  • No shopping other than essential groceries
  • No online shopping
  • No visiting stores
  • And more…

By stopping spending altogether, you give yourself time to experience life without impulse buying or rationalizing purchases in your mind. As your habits stop, you can see with clarity the patterns you’ve been repeating with your money – what triggers them, what motivates you to spend, and what items you can live without. Getting a fresh perspective while you abstain from spending can make all the difference. You may find you’ve been habitually spending money in an area that is destructive or unnecessary.

The habit of spending money on items you don’t need can be broken. A fast is a great way to get ahold of your behavior and modify it so you can be more intentional and responsible with your money.