For those of you who aren’t familiar, the 5-2 diet (also known as the Fast Diet) is a type of intermittent fasting. The gist of it is that 5 days a week you eat normally. On the other 2 days of the week, you eat no more than 500 calories for a woman or 600 calories for a man. I’ve used this method to drop 15lbs and hold it off for a while. Just like all diets though, they work until you stop doing them (Blah Holidays). I like this diet above others because it leaves 5 days of the week to not worry about calories or carbs or eating only 80% lean lion meat or whatever other crazy diet. Believe it or not, the off days don’t make up for all the missed eating. You actually don’t feel all that hungry the next day and don’t want to lose the hard work from the day before. Either way some consumption is eliminated vs. delayed.
It works for me. I’m down about 10lbs this year without changing any other routines.
And it got me thinking, might a 5-2 diet for your wallet work? Funny enough, I think the 2 could work together.
Both a cause and an effect of doing a “diet day” is that we don’t go out. You aren’t going to eat out at a restaurant on a day where you only get 600 calories for the whole day. So why not take it an additional step and spend no money on diet days?
Here is my theory, most of the spending will occur anyway and its not like you aren’t consuming. You’re still using Food, Gas, Heat, etc. But some of the expenses might never occur. Certainly if you’re also doing the 5-2 food diet at the same time, cutting out lattes, afternoon vending machine snacks, and meals out will save some. What about other spending?
Might a 5-2 diet for your wallet defer impulse spending long enough to rethink the need? In these days of 1-click purchases, even a 24 hour cooling off period could do the trick.
For the next month we’re going to try it out and we’ll report back. Try your own 5-2 diet and let me know how it went for you in the comments.
SO HOW DID IT GO?
We tried to cut out spending on “Diet Days” for 1 month and reviewed the results. At the time I wrote the article I thought I knew how it would all pan out. I thought the result would be a small if any drop in overall spending. We’re pretty frugal anyway so the change shouldn’t be much.
What really happened? I cheated on my diet. Darn diets, all end the same way. In this case, we had family come to visit. We went out to dinner and that day I not only ended my budget diet but also my food diet.
What it all comes down to is that diets are all the same. They all end badly. You don’t need a gimmick in order to keep your budget in balance. Once in a while you’ll splurge a little and that’s ok. And doing a little less another day will make up for some but not fully. Try to measure spending in terms of utils, that’s the best way I can think of to know you’re spending on the right things. Spend on the things that give you the most happiness per dollar!
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