Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spending Fast: Getting Started

Yesterday I posted about the Spending Fast and how I got started.  Today I'm sharing the motivation behind the fast and how you can get started too!  I have adapted the spending fast a little bit to fit my lifestyle, however I've tried to stay as true to Anna's instruction as possible so as not to make any excuses to spend!  Please keep in mind two things:  1) I am not a financial advisor or professional by any means 2) I am not the mastermind behind the spending fast! Check out to learn more about the spending fast "OG".
First of, let's talk about the obvious:  What is a spending fast?  It's exactly what it sounds like.  You focus on spending your money on needs only and putting all of the "savings" towards your debt.  There are a few ways to do it.  The way that I'm sharing it pretty true to the original, but with a few modifications to fit my lifestyle. The next steps will show you how to get started. 

1//Determine your motivation

I have a few motivations for wanting to be debt free.  We're hoping to buy a house in the near future, i have a baby that I want to provide an amazing life to, and I'm tired of living pay check to pay check when I really shouldn't need to.

Ask yourself this:  How can I benefit from a spending fast?  What would change if I didn't have any debts?  

2// Identify your weaknesses

The way the the "Spending Fast" book tells you to do this is a revers budget.  This means that you take your bank statements from the last few months and you analyze them.  Determine where the money is going instead of towards your debts. This is also a good place to review how much your bills/payments cost you each month.  This will save you time when you create your Wants & Needs list later. 

3// Create a Wants & Needs list

Your Wants and Needs list should have two columns.  The graphic below shows what kinds of things you may have in your columns.  Keep in mind that a "Need" for you might be a "Want" for others.  Corey and I are moving to an apartment with a gym, so my membership is now a "Want" instead of a need, but if we weren't it would be on the "Need" side. 
4// Create your Debt Hit List
The debt hit list is the break down of your debt.  Just to pre-warn you, writing it down makes it very real very quickly.  You'll list your debts from highest interest rate to lowest. If you have a debt that weighs on your more for emotional reasons, that one could rank higher as well. This is a screen shot of my debt hit list:
I used google sheets for my hit list.  I put my Debt Hit List in one tab and my Spending Register on another.  We'll talk about the spending register next. 

5// Create a Spending Register

There are several ways to do the spending register.  Anna does it on an "old fashion" check book balancing pad.  Personally, I have poor hand writing and don't trust myself to keep great track of that, so I put mine on a google sheet.  On this sheet you become your own banking app.  You carefully enter in all deposits and debits from the account so that you always know where every penny is.  See the example below:

6// Decide your Cycle Length

I chose to make my cycle length two weeks long.  Each pay day marks the beginning of a new cycle.  I'm "zero balance" budgeting, so at the end of a cycle, I'll take all of the money out of my checking account and only have my paycheck, depositing the next day, in my account.  Because I'm carefully noting all deposits and debits, this is not a problem at all. Your cycle length might be different depending on what works best for your lifestyle or job. 

Once you get to the end of your first cycle, you'll take that amount the that you took out and put into savings and use that to pay towards your debt! If you're not paying debt and you're just saving, stick in savings and leave it there!

7// Start paying off that debt or saving that money!

The most important part of all of this is to stop spending on things you don't need.  You can see on my spending register there's still some fast food and things like that, but I'm working hard to make a change and stop spending on those extra things that I don't need.  And you can do it to!  

I'll be sharing my progress and more tips on making the spending fast work for you every week.  Stay tuned!


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