Reset Your Money Habits with a Spending Cleanse

From Nathan Dungan creator of Money Sanity U®

No one is perfect with money; we’re all creatures of habit. When we’re stressed out or bored or unhappy, we spend more, which can become a vicious cycle.

A spending cleanse is a way to reset our money habits. It means paying attention to where our money goes, to determine if our spending aligns with our values and goals. We all need a periodic spending cleanse because it’s so easy to let good money habits slide. It’s surprising how quickly we get off track.

A spending cleanse is a time to step back and be intentional again. It’s a way to enhance your financial wellbeing and diminish your stress around money. A cleanse is appropriate any time you want to become more aware of your spending habits.

Here are a few options for how you can do a spending cleanse.

1. Take a week (or two) off of spending  

Buy nothing with plastic or cash. Purchase your groceries and pay your bills the day before you begin, and then stop. You might want to jot a note when you feel an impulse to spend.

2. Do a credit card cleanse

Put your cards in a drawer and don’t touch them for a month. Live off of cash only.

3. Spend only on needs

Don’t buy any wants—only purchase items that are legitimate needs.

4. Track Your Spending

Track every dollar you spend, using all payment methods. Before you start, create a spreadsheet or find an online tool to help you track your spending.

Remember: If you’re in a relationship or part of a family, get others on board with this experience. You will all benefit from the effort and the support.

Set a timeline for your cleanse. Once you are done reflect on your spending. What was the best part? What was the most difficult challenge? What new habits do you want to carry forward?

A spending cleanse heightens awareness about how, when, and why we spend money. It gets us away from mindless outlays and helps us focus on aligning with our goals and values; essential elements to an increased sense of wellbeing.

Whatever method you choose, make an appointment with yourself to evaluate where you’re doing well, as well as, discover any not-so-great habits.

Spending cleanse is one of many topics included in the Money Sanity U® virtual learning library—a resource designed for organizations to help their clients and employees get smarter about money.

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