Why Do People Go On Food Diets But Not Financial ‘Diets’?
The term “financial diet” probably isn’t one you’ve heard very often.
Hell, if you’re like me, there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard it period, which, if that’s the case, you’re about to get a little bit of a crash course in what it means — and how it can better serve your spending habits.
Look, no one likes being the person who has to tell friends “no” when it comes to going out.
Sure, we’ve all got responsibilities and our own reasons for staying in every so often, but when the reason is due to lack of money, that’s when it can be even harder to explain to friends.
To be blunt, nobody likes talking finances, especially when you don’t have any.
That got me thinking about a financial diet, because so many people say they’re going on a food diet, but don’t understand that taking some time off of spending can be a major benefit, too.
So, whether you’re familiar with what a financial diet is, are learning about one for the first time or think it might be something you’re willing to try out, keep on reading to see the benefits — one of which is still being able to eat sweets.
What Does Financial Diet Even Mean?
While there isn’t an exact definition for financial diet, in hindsight, it means you’re going on a diet from spending.
Yep, I’m pretty sure you already figured that out on your own, right?
That said, there’s something I really like saying to people in situations like this, so here goes: There’s a difference between knowing, understanding and doing. Knowing and understand what a financial diet is and how it works, actually putting one into action isn’t as simple.
Sorry to break it to you, but, as humans, we’re creatures of habit. Those habits can be good or bad, but one thing is clear, these things can be difficult to mask once they become routine.
If you’re regularly going out on Friday and Saturdays with friends, actually refusing to stick with that schedule may be more difficult than you first think.
Can It Really Save Me That Much Money?
As anyone who has ever gone a long period of time budgeting and taking control of their finances knows, a financial diet is vital to saving money and putting it aside for a rainy day.
I know that doesn’t sound sexy, but life throws you curveballs all the time, and you’ll want to be financially prepared when something unexpected comes up.
Sure, stopping at Starbucks for coffee each morning and then eating out at lunch may seem harmless when you’re making a regular salary, but when you give both up and decide to bring coffee from home and make your lunch each day, you’ll see the benefits over time.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so neither will your savings right away.
What About FOMO? That’s DEFINITELY A Real Thing
I get it, social media and constant communication with text groups will make you feel like you’re missing out on something awesome.
But get that out of your mind and refuse to feel as if a financial diet is a bad thing.
Remember, just like a food diet, this is supposed to be a benefit for you, not something you have remorse over.
When you go into financial diet mode, find hobbies that fill your time and are inexpensive.
For instance, you can teach yourself new skills that could help with your career, join a volunteer group or be a mentor. Maybe it’s time to learn photography, get really good, and then sell your pictures and/or services as a side gig to make even more cash.
It’s really up to you how you spend your time, but just remember not to feel sorry for yourself for financially dieting, because, really, you’re not missing out on all that much anyways.
OK, Any Examples Of Successful Financial Diets?
Do you really think I’d write an article about financial diets and not give you an example?
As someone who is currently going through a financial diet, I can tell you I’ve never been happier. Sure, it takes a lot of time to adjust to saying “no” to friends and give up social situations like bars, restaurants and such, but setting a budget and sticking to it is rewarding for so many reasons.
Remarkably, over the past six weeks, I’m spending about $10 per day — which includes a cup of coffee (and free refill) at the coffee shop by my house where I can work from each morning, as well as the $60 per week I spend on groceries.
For comparison’s sake, this is down from about the $40-plus I was spending over the summer months, where I was going out to eat or cozying up at Happy Hours more frequently.
Nowadays, I’m finding myself cooking more, exercising more, spending less and drinking less — OK, so sharing a bottle of wine I bought at the store every week is still my guilty pleasure, but it’s still much cheaper.
Our Financial ‘Diets’
Much like a food diet, a financial diet takes discipline, adjustment and self-awareness. It takes pride knowing that you’re giving up something now to create something better for yourself later.
It’s re-investing in yourself so that you can ease the anxiety about finances. And it’s still doing things you love without ever having to give up a pint of ice cream every so often — which might be the best perk of trying a financial diet.
Nick Dimengo is always “all about the story,” interested in telling and hearing experiences to help inspire others. He’s a sports encyclopedia whose written for various men’s lifestyle sites for over a decade, but slowly transitioned to “Uncle Nicky” territory and finds himself focused on stories related to money and business these days.
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