Intentional Spending vs. “Impulse” or “Luxury” Spending

Don’t worry, we are not talking about selling your car and home and living out of a box or moving back in with Mom and Dad. It is an entirely different thought process that should be considered in validating that your home, car and other long term spending commitments are appropriate and not excessive. Today’s exercise is focused on getting a reality check on your short-term spending habits for discretionary spending.

Think of it like a “fast” from discretionary spending. Choose a month each year, perhaps January is a good month to start with as many are recovering from over-spending in December. For that month, make a commitment to avoid discretionary spending. Minimize or eliminate eating out at restaurants, avoid impulse purchases of clothes or electronic items or really anything. Clearly define “need” vs. “want”. Even be intentional in buying groceries to stick with what you need, rather than a bunch of extras like snacks or expensive luxury items when less expensive basics will suffice. Avoid going out to the movies or sporting events or concerts. Follow through to the point that you feel you are giving up things you like.

At the end of the month, evaluate your spending and see how much less money you spent than your typical month. Then you can reflect on where you should make permanent adjustments to your spending habits to reduce your monthly spending, perhaps reducing below what you thought practical. Even if you change nothing outside of one month of lower expenses… you will help offset your likely over-spending in December. If you did not over-spend in December… you can dedicate the money saved to pay off debt, or set up an emergency fund, etc. Even donating the extra money to serve someone in need can be very rewarding and in keeping with God’s instructions for our life.

Are you willing to take the challenge? or are you addicted to discretionary spending?


Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit .