Debt Detox– A discussion on Debt and Dieting

Debt Detox- A discussion on debt and dieting

When I was writing Monday’s post about saving money by having a no-spend month, I couldn’t help but think about how it sounded like a popular cleanse diet.  You know, the diet where you only eat or drink [fill in the blank] for an entire week in order to rid your body of toxins.

I’ve never tried a cleanse diet (or any “diet” for that matter), but people describe the detoxifying effect as rejuvenating and freeing.  The body and mind feel stronger and better able to handle what life has in store.

After going for a month without spending, I feel freed and empowered by being able to live just fine without spending money for a time.  I am motivated by our success and happy that it is getting us a little closer to our goal.

The Danger of Detox

There’s always a danger in doing something intense like a detox diet or extreme frugality.  When you deprive yourself of something, whether it’s shopping or eating, the danger is that you will overdo it when the detox is done.  While a detox takes away the toxins, it might not take away the cravings.  It’s important to guard against falling back into old habits or budget-breaking binges.

Yo-Yo Debting

For many people, the battle with weight is ongoing.  When the motivation and hard work are up, the weight goes down.  When the motivation and hard work are down, the weight comes right back up.  Finding a balance is a challenge.

Much like dieting, living frugally and repaying debt often sets people up for a yo-yo pattern.  You realize you are financially flabby, so you set lofty goals.  You have success for a while, but the rigorous diet and exercise routine wears you out.  You slack off and leave your resolutions by the wayside for a while.  You end up right back at flabby.  This process may repeat a number of times before you achieve your goal and don’t fall back.


So far we are still going strong in our motivation and hard work for our debt repayment. We were pretty frugal before dealing with debt, so turning the frugality thermometer up a couple degrees hasn’t been unbearable.  In addition to not running faster than we’re able, we are making sure to have fun along the way.  Hopefully that will prevent any burnout, binging, or yo-yo-ing.

It’s Your Turn!

  • What helps you maintain consistency in working toward your financial goals?
  • How do you find balance to avoid yo-yo debting?
  • How is your spending or debt repayment like dieting?


  1. says

    Our debt pay-off is similar to dieting, in the fact that when we have a “bad month” (an emergency or unexpected expense pops up) it takes us a couple of months to get back to our original intensity.

    But so far we haven’t given up, so that’s what is important! I compare losing debt to losing weight so often, great post!

  2. says

    This is a really interesting analogy. Like most things in life, it takes small steps and consistency. Sounds like you’ve got a great attitude, though. I’m sure you’ll be through this before you know it.

  3. says

    I think this is a perfect analogy and I am really glad I found your site! I am finding your posts really insightful and helpful. I think this analogy spoke to me because a lot of times in dieting and binge-ing, there is a non-food related component to the behavior like stress or other emotions. Likewise, I think sometimes it is easy to fall off track of a budget or “binge” because of an inability/unwillingness to tell friends or family “no” when they want to do activities or go places that may be out of one’s budget. It’s a behavior that I need to change for the long term to have real budget success, kind of like opting for a total lifestyle change rather than a crash diet.

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