Just like there are an assortment of cleanses for your body, there are a variety of cleanses you can do with your money.

Wallet Pic
Photo Credit: Gerald Morales

The purpose of a financial cleanse is to shield your bank account from unnecessary purchases. If you are struggling to save money, or pay down debt, you may find a cleanse helpful. Americans should seriously look into budgeting their money better, especially since about 76 percent are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

A financial cleanse can last for however long you wish. During a financial cleanse you should only spend money on essential bills and expenses. That means you can only spend money on reasonable food purchases when you shop at the grocery store, gas, bills, and anything else that you absolutely need to live each day.

Financial cleanse ideas

Here are a few ideas for you to consider when thinking about cleaning your finances.

One-month cleanse: For one month, don’t spend on anything that is not considered an essential part of your living expenses. This is a good time to look at your monthly bank and credit card statements to see what recurring charges are being deducted from your account.

You may want to cancel unnecessary subscriptions such as Netflix and/or Hulu, or anything else you can live without. Instead of watching your television, pick up a book or get back into your favorite hobby. The same can be said about your gym membership. Unless you actually go to the gym four or more times a week, you may want to consider putting your account on hold.

Half-month cleanse: If you feel like one month is too much for you to handle on your first attempt at a cleanse, consider reducing your strict budgeting efforts to just two weeks. These do not have to be two consecutive weeks. You can choose to only spend money on essentials for the first and last weeks of the month, the first and third week, second and third week, or however you’d like. As long as you participate in essential spending for two full weeks, you will be able to save a great deal of money.

Weekday cleanse: A weekday cleanse lasts Monday through Friday, and it prevents you from buying things you don’t really need. Spending a few dollars here and there on your way to work or school can quickly add up. Two dollars every morning for coffee equates to $10 a week of unnecessary spending. Lunch and a snack here or there can dig into your bank account over the course of a week, month, and year. If you spend five dollars a day on lunch, and another two dollars on a snack, that adds up to $35 of unnecessary spending on a weekly basis.

According to the example provided, in one week you could save about $45 dollars if you refrain from unnecessary spending doing a weekday cleanse. Over the course of a month, you could possibly save upwards of $180. In one year, you could potentially pocket an extra $2,160 if you financially fast throughout the week. A full year might be difficult to do, but even if you cut that number in half it is still a good amount of savings that can go right into your bank account.

What to take away from a financial cleanse

Remember, cleanses only work if you remain committed to budgeting your money. The purpose of a cleanse is to help motivate you further to practice positive habits for your bank account.

Related Stories: 

6 Dumb Mistakes to Avoid When Saving

5 Ways to Stay Motivated While Saving

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  • Olivia Zhang

    I do things like this all the time… I’ve essentially cut my living expenses to almost nothing. Here’s some tips:
    1) Buy food in bulk and don’t eat anything else until you’ve eaten it all. You can buy big backs of frozen veggies, rice, chicken breasts, cereal, etc. at Costco or Walmart for cheap. Go grocery shopping once every 3-4 weeks and don’t eat anything else except what you buy there.
    2) Cut transit costs – Use Gasbuddy for gas (fill up for $20), Insurance Panda for insurance (I pay $30/month for full coverage), and Waze to avoid unnecessary driving in traffic jams.
    3) Ask for rent discounts.. say you are going to leave unless they lower your rent. I saved $200/month on rent this way.
    4) When you go out… leave your credit card at home and only bring a small amount of cash. You can’t spend it if you don’t have it!
    That’s all I can think of now. I love the financial cleansing idea though!