Detoxifying your budget

A few months ago I decided to do a body detoxifying cleanse. I’m sure you've heard about them and all the benefits they claim to produce.  They're suppose to remove toxins, increase energy and vitality, and help strengthen the body to fight off infection. In addition, you’ll get a flatter belly because it gets rid of the excess waste from your colon. Enticing, right?

The one I found required drinking a daily 64 ounce dose concoction of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and water for three days. Not this spicy-citrusy brew in combination with a sensible meal, but instead of anything else. Surely I can make it three days. Three days isn't that long, especially for a fully detoxed body, right? So I’m proud to announce my colon is now one-third cleaner than is was before starting this regimen. I guess- I’m not entirely sure how to gauge the results, so I’m just going to assume it worked. And yes, you read that correctly... one-third cleaner. I only made it one day-

Want to try a cleanse that you’ll actually have proof of the results, and is a little less bitter to swallow? How about giving your budget a 30-day detoxifying cleanse? I know just about all of us could benefit by a good purge from toxic spending…

Reviewing your recurring payments
First, look at your budget and review all of your recurring payments. I’m not talking about the important ones like your car and house payments, but more so the ones like Netflix and Ipsy. Decide which ones aren't really necessary, then cancel away. If you’re having a hard time deciding, try this little trick-calculate how much the service costs you per year. Are you willing to pay that full amount right now in cash? If not, cancel it.

Negotiating for a better rate
Next, see if there is any wiggle room for savings on your monthly services like utilities, auto insurance, cell phone, etc. How? Call and ask. Yes, calling does work. Many of these service providers will offer a special rate to keep you as a customer. Others may offer a free premium upgrade instead.

I hate to admit it, but a couple of years ago I took my own advice and made some phone calls. Yes, it took a few hours, and repeating information incessantly, but in the end I saved a little over $4,100 per year. It was definitely worth the time, and the mind numbing pain of hours worth of Muzak I was forced to listen to while on hold.

Not a good negotiator, or simply don’t have the time to make the calls yourself? There’s still hope for savings in your future! Billcutterz offers to do the work for you. You provide them the bills you’d like negotiated, and they will make the calls on your behalf. Whatever savings are generated over the next twelve months you split with them 50/50. If your savings continue after those twelve months, it’s all yours. And if they aren't able to get you a better deal, you won’t owe a dime. In the long run, you are giving up a portion of your savings, but some is better than none, so it is still a win-win.

Putting a hold on spending
Lastly is the fasting part of the budget detoxing cleanse. This will require the most willpower, as it allows for no new unnecessary spending. That means other than food, gas, utilities, and bills, you spend no money. No eating out at restaurants or picking up take out. No spending money on hobbies, activities, or entertainment. No buying clothes, shoes, or accessories, no matter what kind of sale you find.

If you want to get really die-hard, try hitting your pantry and freezer for dinner options. See how much you are able to clear out of both over the next 30-days. You’d be surprised how many recipes you can pull up online that include a can of black beans and corn.

The Unshopping Challenge
Going through shopping withdrawals? Give Yerdle a try. They’re asking people to do a 30-day “Unshopping Challenge” for an uncluttered life, to save money, and create less waste. It’s a free site where people can upload items they no longer need, earn virtual cash, and use those funds to purchase other items. It’s a really neat concept, and since it doesn't involve actual cash, it fully fits within the cleanse rules. <wink, wink>  I downloaded the free app and even received $25 for joining.

The money you save over your 30-day span can be used to pay on credit card debt, towards an emergency or vacation fund, or for a special evening out for a job well done.

While a cleanse increases vitality, and helps strengthen the body to fight off infection, a budget cleanse has some of the same effects. It strengthens your financial outlook, while warding off infectious debt, ultimately  increasing your fiscal survival. So detox away!

Want to see more ideas about saving money? Check out my other posts on The Money Dietand follow me on Facebook.

Photo by phasinphoto. Published on 25 September 2014
Stock photo - Image ID: 100290090

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