Curb Your Spending Appetite With an All-Cash Diet

Kathleen Elkins challenged herself to a cash-only diet.

ByABC News
July 29, 2015, 7:26 AM

— -- Freezing your assets –- like in “Confessions of a Shopaholic” -– shows us how some go to extremes to chill their spending.

Following that strategy is 23-year-old Kathleen Elkins, a “Business Insider” reporter challenging herself to a cash-only diet. She’s budgeting $125 a week for daily purchases outside of rent and utilities, which is about $21 less than the typical budget of a single American, according to the IRS.

“It's a great way to one, know exactly know exactly how much you’re spending, and two, know how quickly your cash can leave your wallet,” Elkins said on “Good Morning America.”

According to Elkins, her cash-only diet has her on track to save at least $50 a month – or $600 a year – and with the average single American living with about $5,000 in credit card debt according to TransUnion, she said this kind of savings can go a long way. But it can be hard to stay on track.

“I had to buy a wedding gift – you know, those things come up – but that’s $60,” she said. “That leaves me with $65 left for the week. It was really eye opening when three days in the week and I’m out of money.”

ABC News’ chief business and economics correspondent, Rebecca Jarvis, joined Elkins for week three of the cash diet in New York City. Groceries were at the top of her must-haves, but after buying just almond milk and eggs, she was already out $9.38, which was nearly a tenth of her weekly budget.

Elkins said food expenses eat up a sizeable chunk of her weekly allowances, so she’s learned to be more conscious of what she needs versus what she wants, but it’s taken some discipline.

“I did buy a pair of Sperry’s, and I was with my friend and we were shopping and there were obviously a lot of things I could have bought,” she explained.

Elkins plans to continue with her “cash is king” philosophy, but still stick to credit cards for bigger purchases.

“It makes you really think long and hard,” she said.