Day 31 of the January Money Diet – Just the Beginning

Reduce your debt at Happy Simple Living blog

“All large tasks are completed in a series of starts.” ~Neil Fiore

Congratulations to all of you who have reduced or eliminated nonessential spending during the month of January. Many of you generously shared your comments about the different ways you participated in the challenge, and I hope it’s been a positive and worthwhile experience for you.

Pay off debt at Happy Simple Living blogWhen I started this month, I posted a photo (right) of the visual reminder of my total debt that I have on the wall in my office. Thanks in large part to this encouraging community, I’m happy to report that I paid that debt down this month by over $500.

Perhaps our participation in the January Money Diet can be the beginning of bigger and better things in the year ahead. When we control our finances rather than letting our money control us, we can be much more deliberate and thoughtful about how we spend, contribute and invest.

As this month of no spending ends, I’d love to hear about your own results and plans for the future. My hope is that your participation in this 31-day challenge marks the beginning of your most abundant year ever – financially and personally.


The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. Tomorrow morning I’ll use to draw one name from everyone who commented and participated in the January Money Diet. That person will win a gift basket filled with goodies. Thanks to all of you for your honest, insightful, enthusiastic, helpful comments this month!

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Day 31 of the January Money Diet – Just the Beginning

  • Sara

    Dear Eliza, Thank you for this challange! It was a true delight participating! It was almost like an advent calender but with frugality as its topic. My favorite post was the one about calculating ones net worth. I have been working for a few yeaars after college and I was happy to see the amount of savings I had in my retirement fund and that the student loans actually had been paid off a bit, so I was pretty close to having a net worth of 0, which was a pleasant surprise. The tips that positively affected my own economy was to do weekly meal plans and only go to the grocery store once a week. I also started bringing an addiitional “lunch box” to work, containing some sort of afternoon snack, such as keso, yoghurt, fruits in order to not be so hungry as I used to be after work and in this way I have been less likely to buy sweets and chocolate on the way home from work.

    I would also like to contribute a savings tips of my own, I like to volunteer at vacation time. This is a way to give back, learn new skills, make new friends and have fun. There are a number of great programs out thee, one of my top picks is service civil international, and European peace organization. You pay the cost of the air fare and then you receive free room and board. I went to Paris working for 10 days in an ecological garden a few years back, it was an amazing experience.

    Another thing I discovered is that ironing your clothes will make them look crisp and new again, and this can curbe the urge to go out shopping, so that is another of my favourite money saving activities- ironing. 🙂

  • Deborah Gore

    I have enjoyed the month. It has been exciting to find items around the house to re-purpose. our home is cleaner and less stressful. We have set several goals for the year. To spend approximately $25 a week for groceries and to increase the size of our garden. We have also started a Christmas/gift fund of $25 a week. We hope by cutting our food bill the savings can go toward paying off our credit card and preparing for next Christmas. Thank you for all of your suggestions.

    • Lyn

      Deborah – I love your plan to save a bit of money each week for next year’s Christmas, instead of spending the new year paying off the bills from the holiday. Great idea. Thank you.

  • Bobbie

    This was a great exercise — thanks so much for the tips and inspiration. I was able to pay down some debt and increase my savings account and am thrilled with the overall results. I’m continuing on into February with the goal of paying off my last credit card debt!

  • […] I didn’t follow the January Money Diet exactly (at Happy Simple Living), I did enjoy their suggestions and support through the […]

  • Carolyn

    My, the month sped by! Thank you so much for the challenge and your great personal examples! Like some others, this is my first blog experience – painless! I, too, plan to keep up with many of your thoughts – made coleslaw today from the broccoli stalks left after eating the florets; worked in basement (:() organizing goodies for summer garage sale(s); a charity called so I scheduled for a pickup of ???? Small steps, all, but in the right direction.
    Thanks and kudos, Eliza (and all you bloggers)!

  • Congratulations on being able to pay down so much of your debt this month. I really enjoyed your posts this month and learned a little about me. I tend to be the person who grabs a candy bar at the checkout, I love chocolate, but sitting down to make out tomorrows grocery list I realized I have no craving for chocolate bars, after a month without them, I don’t have a taste for those cheap chocolates. The month was trying, I had a hard time deciding what was necessary or not as it turns out I really don’t have much of a problem shopping for little things but rather things needed for my hobby of restoring furniture.

  • Lyn

    Eliza – As I wrote in my first post on my first real blog, being part of the January Money Diet has helped me not only repurpose stuff, but also repurpose my life!! My creativity is flowing and I am excited to sustain many of the daily practices your introduced. While not all new ideas to me, participation with others and the fact that it is January, inspired real action. Thank you.

  • This month has been great. So glad I found this. It’s made a huge difference around here. I think before I purchase anything now. I was able to rationally think through our bad habit of eating out more than eating in and help the kids come along in that area. In fact, the other day my dh picked them up and school and forgot to take them food (they have ballet right after school so they need to eat) he drove them through McDonald’s and my 11yo gave him a lecture. 😀 The same day I was on a trip and had to eat out dinner. I was shocked how much just one meal cost me. In the old days I wouldn’t have blinked, just would have figured it comes with the territory. Anyway, thanks for putting this together. It really was encouraging.

  • Mariah

    Thanks for a great month! Instead of wanting to go buy new items, now I want to reuse and make what I need with the materials that I have on hand! I’m feeling very creative. I’m looking forward to continuing this challenge throughout the year.

    • Lyn

      Mariah – Me too! Although we ended up having to spend more money than we had hoped, we are on our way to a more balanced year. I love looking around at all that we already have and figuring out how to use it. Such fun!!

  • Dina

    I was able to scrape together $200!!! Thank God! Our computer took a dump this month and it was $140 to get it fixed and that would not have happened without putting it on our credit card! THANK YOU!!!

    I do wish our debt number was the same as yours… then maybe it would not feel so overwhelming and neverending!

    February is our anniversary… we keep saying we will do something special ‘next year’ when we are in better financial shape… (finally go on our honeymoon!!!) … still not going to happen… and I think it would be fair to say that it is not going to happen next year either and I am going to prepare myself now for that being the case for the next 4 years, as long as my health holds out and does not cause us more debt as it has been doing in the past… I am very grateful I am better today than I have been in the past few years and still alive to talk about it!!!
    My dream honeymoon/family vacation would be volunteering for OSSO:

    God Bless you and your loved ones!

  • Anja

    I have loved this challange and it’s great to have participated with like minded people which made the whole thing so much easier. I have had an amazing but tough month. I have spend a little over 250 Euros this month, which included the insurance that I had to pay. The fact that I had lot’s of canned & frozen food from the last harvest that could be turned into delicious meals and no rent or debt to pay helped immensly with it, yet it was still tough to go past certain things when shopping. At the same time I sold quite a few things on ebay that I no loner need, which increased my income by around 150 Euros. I am very proud of what Ihave achieved this month and will continue to try this. It’s been one of my goals for this year to live as frugally as possible and I am off to a good start on this. Now I just need to continue…

  • Stephanie

    Well done on reducing your debt by so much this month! I have really enjoyed taking part in the challenge and have mostly used cash this month to make my purchases, which is a real change. And the non-essential spending has been very low, not perfect! But much better than normal 🙂
    I feel it has really set me up for the rest of the year and I will continue into February now. Thank you.

  • Victoria S Andrews

    I want to thank you for posting the January challenge. I loved most of the posts and felt it helped me with more than just saving money. I want to try to do some of your suggestions frequently especially the clutter post, cleaning post, and using up what you already have. You have been very helpful. Thanks again. Sorry it’s over.

  • Judy

    Eliza – I followed your advice to spend 30 min. uncluttering one spot and finally unpacked a box that had been sitting in my home office, annoying me each time I looked at it, for the last 18 months since we moved. Thank you for reminding me that uncluttering in small bites conquers the overwhelming feeling that comes from thinking about ALL that needs to be done. This entire “diet” process has been great for our family. Thank you!

  • ElainieMay

    The beautiful truth to paying attention/being frugal is that we realize our quality of life does not suffer for it at all…in fact it definitely has improved.
    Thank you for an enlightening month!!!

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