By Tiffany Davis
I love the TLC Extreme Cheapskates. I am fascinated with the extreme measures these people take to save a few cents. Past episodes have included dumpster diving, using old bath water to wash dishes, bartering at Walmart and forgoing toilet paper. While most of these are way too extreme for me, I have adopted one principle from this show- the fiscal fast. This is a regular occurrence for Jeff of Extreme Cheapskates. He spends one week several times a year and spends no money. He uses up things around the house like free body care samples, cleans out the pantry, finds free activities or just does without.
See for yourself here
(Make note of his sweet moustache)
If you have credit card debt, if December hit your budget hard, or if you don’t have as much in savings as you like, January is the perfect month to try a fiscal fast of your own. Typically these fasts last one week and include refraining from buying groceries and gas. Pay all of your bills but cut down your usage as much as you can by turning off lights, taking shorter showers and putting your newspaper on vacation hold. Also, skip your morning coffee and bring your lunch from home. It will take sacrifice, planning and some dedication but your budget will thank you.
You can also boost your budget by picking up temporary work or selling items around the house. Give blood, offer to shovel someone’s driveway, advertise as a maid on KSL.com or sell last semesters textbooks. I’ve posted all of mine on amazon and half.com last week and have already sold two books and made $230.
I’ve decided that I’m going to do a fiscal fast for the whole month of January. It is a little bit harder to not spend money for an entire month and I will still purchase gas, fresh fruits, vegetables and milk but I am limiting my total spending to $50. I won’t be taking unnecessary trips to save gas and I’m still going to clean out my pantry and freezer, but not sacrificing healthy foods either. The hardest thing for me will be not spending money on clothes, not eating out and no impulse shopping at the grocery store but it will all be worth it!
The most important part of a fiscal fast is to set a goal that will motivate you to stick to your fast. I plan to pay off my credit card in full this month which I am very excited about. For you, you might need to plan a special night out after you reach your savings goal to motivated you or save your money for a Spring break vacation. Whatever your goal is, write it down on a post it note and stick it to the cash in your wallet, your credit card or your computer so you remember when you are tempted to spend money.
You too can do a fiscal fast and we believe in you! Good luck and feel free to share your experience with us on our blog and on Facebook!