Strategy: Go on a spending fast for a year
Advice: Get creative. There are endless ways to save.
NEXT: Lance Pickett
I had been spending over my means for a while. Every month I was spending at least $300, overdrafting my account and feeling horrible about it.
I realized I had all these wants and it was an insatiable thing. I would say, "Oh, I love this top from Anthropologie," and then as soon as I got it everything would be great... until I wanted something else. So I knew I needed to do something drastic. And one day, it clicked.
I decided to start a spending fast for the new year, which meant no spending on anything except absolute necessities -- like my mortgage, utilities, car payments -- oh, and hair dyeing. That was one "want" that I turned into a necessity as I started to see my roots grow in.
I can't buy clothes, no coffee out, no eating out. To save money, I've done the normal budgeting things like buying generic brands of groceries. But I've also started wearing all black and dyeing my clothes to extend the color. I've been re-gifting, growing my hair long to avoid haircuts, stuffing two loads of laundry into one and eating a lot of old canned food I've found in my cupboard. I also make random stuff to sell in my spare time. I have a store at Etsy.com where I sell zombie portraits of people, super cute baby onesies and banners, tags and shipping labels.
My year-long spending fast began on January 1, and so far, I have saved $5,772.25. $4,800 of that went to credit cards and the rest will go to paying my parents back the $3,247.97 I owe them and my $10,000 in student loans.