NO, I’m not writing about spending money quickly. I’m suggesting a spending fast: refraining from spending $$$$$$$$ for the next 30 days.

 OH NO!!!!!?????

Does this make you nervous? Does this sound difficult? We sometimes spend money mindlessly. Impulsively. Needlessly. Depression, anxiety, boredom, and lack of self-love can feel like an empty self. Some people try to fill the void with alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, gambling, sex, power, control, and possessions. We’ve heard of abstaining from alcohol and drugs. We can also abstain from spending $$$$$$$.

Start today. You are allowed to buy food, toiletries, and gasoline or other public transportation. No clothes, no lipstick, no cologne, no books, no CDs or DVDs. NOTHING. Stay out of stores, malls, and outlets. Resist all the advertised sales you see on TV and in the mail.

You may feel deprived. You may feel angry. You may feel depressed. Notice your emotions.

Make a list of all the things you wanted to buy but didn’t. At the end of 30 days, look at your list. Buy whatever you want on this list. But you may be surprised that you don’t even want these things anymore. You’ll learn how mindlessly and impulsively and needlessly you spend or waste money.

And after 30 days, maybe you’ll break the spending habit and have more ability to manage your finances!


Kathleen Cairns, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in West Hartford, Connecticut. She works with adults, adolescents, and couples. You may call her at 860-236-5555 to make an appointment. She is the author of “The Psychotherapy Workbook.”  You may email her at and she will try to answer as many of your questions as possible.

Life goes on… and every day matters…

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