I’ve never been one to diet. In fact I only lasted 4 days on the the only real diet I’ve been on (I went on a detox once so that doesn’t necessarily count because it was about toxins and not fat). Still, I’m not a moderation person. I’ve only been able to lose weight by drastic measures – whether it was living in China, running a marathon, going on that no-carb diet (ugh the worst), or that detox (that was pretty bad too).
That being said, I’m great at financial diets. I love them. I once spent -$2 as my total food budget for one month because the only time I went out for food in the frigid cold was to the grocery store was to return some spices (yeah I’m that person). The problem with diets is that even if you starve yourself for a period of time, you lose all your gains within a very short period of time if you don’t maintain that diet. You gain nothing without maintenance. Of course, with money, if you save some money one month, you’ll have that money next month, assuming you just keep your normal patterns of spending. And I would much rather live sparsely for a certain period of time so that I can live more freely or even indulgently later. If I can spend a month of the year living like a monk so that I can have no guilt for spending the rest of the year, or so that I can get a steak dinner the next month, I will.
An integral part, in my mind, of eating or spending, is the lack of worry. I don’t want to worry all the time about what I should eat for lunch or how much each one should cost. It would be much better than missing out on a party or a happy hour later.
At this point in my life, I don’t need to clip coupons or have spendings fasts. It does help me stay sharp and keep the lifestyle inflation in check. But a huge part of my ease now is that I lived so modestly in the past. I can spend freely now because I have earned that right.
In keeping with that spirit.