Try a spending ‘fast’ to cut down on expenses in the New Year

Consumers looking to get out of debt and back on track financially are being urged by an expert to work towards their goal through a “financial fast” that involves cutting all but necessary spending for 21 days.

According to Michelle Singletary, a financial columnist for the Washington Post, users of the “21-day financial fast” are told to cut excessive spending out of their life completely for the allotted time and spend money only on the most essential items.

“During this fast you will not shop or use your credit cards. You must refrain from buying anything that is not absolutely necessary. I mean the bare essentials such as food and medicine. Even window-shopping is off-limits,” Singletary wrote. “No restaurant meals – fast food or otherwise. This includes buying breakfast or lunch at work. You can’t stop for coffee. Make it at home instead.”

The restrictions of the fast even extended towards personal events that would normally include a gift. Instead of spending money on a present for a social event, the fast suggests offering personal services such as cooking or babysitting instead.

With the financial market expected to improve only marginally in 2010, many consumers have shown a willingness to cut down on their credit spending during the holiday season and into 2010 to try and get their finances back in order.