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Take one month every year and strip your spending down to the bare essentials. Act as if you have
next to nothing (moneywise) and need to survive for that month.
This sounds like a strange way to live, but it works. It works because it shows you how difficult (or
easy) it is to do so. It puts your priorities—your wants and needs—in order. Do you need to go out
for dinner twice a week? Can you bring lunch from home instead of getting fast food every day? Is TV
as good as a movie? Is it nice staying home and just hanging out with your friends?
It is also a good time to call your cable, cell phone, Internet, and other providers to find out if you’re
getting the best deal. Tell these companies you’re looking at switching to other providers and see
what happens!
Believe it or not, emergency month can actually be fun. My wife and I have been doing it every
January since we’ve been married. Not only do we save money that month and alter our long-term
spending habits, but we also get more in touch with our relationship.
January is a good month to do this because of the rampant spending that occurs during the holiday
season. It’s sort of like beginning-of-the-year weight-loss programs, only, in this case, it’s “expense

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