Published by William Morrow/HarperCollins on April 26, 2016
Genres/Lists: Economic, Non-Fiction
Length: 7 hrs, 34 mins
Read synopsis on Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
Not long ago, I sat down and had a chat with the financial advisor we have access to through work. I’ve always been wary of financial advisors because they oftentimes give advice based on what will make them money but because ours has a fiduciary responsibility, I decided to see what he had to say. The conversation was a bit worrisome because although I’m on the right track with regard to retirement, I’m also well-versed in the changing retirement landscape and know that today’s money won’t go as far as it will later. So while I’m doing all of the right things, I left thinking that I could be doing more to secure a better financial future.
Also not that long ago, I listened to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and it started me on a path of being better about my stuff. So in my quest to do better, overall, particularly after that harrowing conversation about my financial future, The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living: How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get from Broke to Badass in Record Time by Anna Newell was a logical next listen. The book is part memoir and part how-to and chronicles how Newell went from being in $24,000 in debt to not having any. Now, I had double open hip surgeries in undergrad and went to a private grad school, not to mention some credit card debt, a car payment, and a nasty habit of spending money on useless items (which I’m better at after Kondo’s book), so I assumed there was no way Newell could encompass the entire spectrum of debt that people have. I was, of course, wrong.
Newell is the founder of AndThenWeSaved.com, a savvy website helping those who want to get out of debt to do just that. It’s very interactive and her followers can garner support from other followers by joining the Facebook group and pledging themselves to get out of debt. She also keeps a running tally on her site of the debt people have paid off, in part, from following her advice.Read this book by @andthenwesaved and learn how to save money NOW. Seriously - it's amazing.… Click To Tweet
Her advice is actually quite simple – go on a spending fast. Whether it’s one month or one year (but the longer the better), don’t buy anything unless you need it. That means downgrading or cancelling cable, giving up the pumpkin spice lattes, and skipping dinners out. Of course, not everyone in your life will be onboard with this new habit, so she spends a good bit of time explaining how you can explain it to others – and it all makes sense! Whether it’s how to get out of those awkward social events where everyone splits the check evenly when you only had a salad or how to explain to your coworkers why you can’t go out to lunch every Friday, Newell has an answer at the ready. She also avoids giving specifics for what qualifies as a want or a need, acknowledging that what is a want for some is a need for others (like books and a personal trainer).
It was six weeks ago that I finished this book and went on a self-imposed spending fast and I have to say, it works. Here are a few unexpected things that have happened:
- Because I give myself a small coffee budget, I celebrated the kickoff of #30Authors with a pumpkin spice Frappuccino, which was launched the same day. I was so excited that I got the coffee for free.
- Meal planning means I’m actually cooking every night, so my husband and I have more quality time when we sit down for a home cooked meal (which he appreciates). It also means we both always have leftovers, so he’s saving money, too.
- In just one month, I was able to pay double what I typically pay on my credit cards and put more into savings.
- I lost 3 lbs, probably because I’m not eating out or buying sodas from the machine downstairs.
- I’m not cluttering up my house after decluttering it because I won’t spend any money to fill up the “empty” spaces, which is particularly helpful because we recently bought a house and only moved the important things.
- I’ve begun competing with myself to save even more money. I downloaded the Digit app, which scans your bank account and moves a few dollars over at a time when it thinks you don’t need it (you can move it back and it’s all free). Plus, you can move money over manually, so I can “tip” myself. Any time I skip an impulse purchase, I move that amount into my Digit account. If I cave, I move over double that cost as “punishment”, which both saves me money and leaves me less to spend.
If you, like me, are looking to save money but feel that it’s too hard or that you have to give up too much, then you should definitely give this book a listen or a read. Because she also gives advice for ongoing maintenance (the spending diet), you may hear from me again about this in a year when I start phase 2.
Recommended for: Everyone who wants to save money or pay off debt faster.