Going Without – before the pandemic and a better strategy after. 

Back in January I wrote an article with tips on saving money using a periodic fasting strategy, financial fasting that is. Now that the critical need for an emergency fund has been brought home to millions of Americans perhaps it’s time to take another look at this strategy. Be sure and use the link below to read the full story on HumbleDollar.com where it first appeared.


Going Without

I RECENTLY READ about a trendy way to lose weight: intermittent fasting. Supposedly there are also health benefits. That got me thinking. I’ve been roundly criticized for bashing the financial independence/retire early movement, otherwise known as FIRE, and for arguing that average Americans spend unnecessarily on all kinds of stuff, thus hampering their long-term financial security. My point of view hasn’t changed.

But I’ve found room for compromise: Think of it as periodic financial fasting. I maintain that this strategy can work at virtually all income levels. Alas, it’ll still be an uphill battle to make converts. Surveys show most people would rather cut back spending in retirement than spend less today. No doubt that sounds easy—until you’re retired. At the same time, however, 87% of Americans appear willing to make tradeoffs to catch up on retirement savings. What’s my strategy? Start by tracking every penny you spend over a 30- to 60-day period. Once you have your list, check off each item that isn’t essential spending—and be honest.

This exercise will also help you figure out if living paycheck to paycheck is more about your spending than how much you earn. Here’s an idea of what counts as essential spending: food, housing, clothing, transportation, utilities and health care, including those insurance premiums. Everything else is discretionary.

That said, there’s also a great deal of wiggle-room within the essential category. A case of soda at the grocery store or leasing a luxury car are questionable for the essential category. Streaming services and premium cable channels are not utilities. Next, decide which of the items on your list you can do without—not forever necessarily, but for a period of time. You may decide to alternate your fasting.

For example, give up designer coffee for two months and then give up eating out for the next two months. For many people, that could easily yield a few hundred dollars over a couple of months. When it comes to a big item like vacations, tone it down for a year. Whatever works for you. After you’ve accumulated a pool of savings, it’s time to invest.

READ the rest of this strategy at the link below  

Source: Going Without – HumbleDollar

2 comments

  1. I think now is also a good time for those who are still in the workforce to determine how safe their job is. If you were told to stay home because you were non-essential, maybe it’s time to think about another career or additional training to make yourself essential. Even if you worked from home, was that really essential? For 32 years I worked only at essentials jobs. No snow days, force to work OT during hurricanes, etc.. and if I was still working, through pandemics too. I asked my dentist when he was finally permitted to see patients again by the State if he ever thought that he would be unemployed while in medical school. Makes you think about that emergency fund even for those who “thought” they were essential. The next pandemic might not have such a nice bailout because in reality, our government couldn’t afford the extra unemployment they gave out this time. A three month emergency is no longer enough. I think 6-9 months might be in order now.

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