Cold Turkey vs. The Slow and Gradual Approach

tortoise and hare

When you’re ready to improve your financial life, how should you go about it? Do you immediately cease all unnecessary spending, slash expenses to the bone, and use all of your extra money to pay down debt? Or do you go about it gradually, making a couple of small changes at first and then adding on as you go? Which way gives you the best chance of success? There are drawbacks and merits to both approaches but here are some thoughts to get you started.

When you approach financial change aggressively, you experience an instant rush of success. When you slash spending and start throwing all extra money into savings or against your debt, you get to see those balances increase/decrease at


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4 Responses to Cold Turkey vs. The Slow and Gradual Approach

  1. I agree that it would be a personal decision and I do agree that if one takes the slow route they may be apt to make excuses. The way I look at it is if someone risks losing the roof over their head and they struggle to put food on the table then it’s time to suck it up and do what you have to do. I’m sure that means more than a few beers at the pub with mates or shopping at the mall. There are plenty of ways to smile in life and it doesn’t have to involve money. It’s not easy, no one said it would be but life throws us curve balls and we need to learn to balance our way through thick and thin. If $5 is all that is in the budget for entertainment be creative, find free things to do or frugal ways to spend the money. Personality plays a big role as does commitment if one is in a relationship. It’s a tough question to answer but only the person who needs to answer can make that call. Great post.

  2. Karyn S says:

    I think going cold turkey only works for when you have an unhealthy addiction. What you wrote in terms of finding a balance financially makes sense.

  3. Mark says:

    A method that works good for me is:

    Track each one of your expenses and you will have a clear idea of where your money goes.

    There are a lot of “hidden stupid expenses”, and the trick is… you need to know where they are to reduce them and save more money!

  4. Minny says:

    We discovered the endowment insurance would not pay the mortgage we went into instant ultra flugality. As the time went and we learnt more we saved more and more money. We treated it as a great and exciting challenge the payoff being the savings we discovered that we could make.

    Result, we more than covered out mortgage and saved enough to make our dream house in our chosen retirement city a reality.

    I will never regret the cold turkey approach as it worked very well for me.

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