4 Quick Ways to Detox Your Spending

iStock
iStock

If a juice cleanse helps reset your diet, could a quick financial fix do the same for your spending? For some people, the answer is yes. We peeked at the pocketbook strategies of folks who have managed to reboot their budgets:

1. TAKE A FISCAL FAST.

“My husband and I moved recently, and we were basically hemorrhaging money to get the house put together,” says April Dawn of Richmond, Virginia. And shelling out so much on household items and furniture made it harder to stay prudent in other spending categories. So April laid down a challenge: Could they go seven days without spending a single cent? (Financial guru Michelle Singletary has a 21-day plan with followers nationwide.)

“We stocked the fridge, the paper towels, the tank of gas—all the day-to-day stuff we’d need to get through the week, and then we literally spent nothing,” she says. April had to keep the “fiscal fast” top-of-mind for the first few days, to make sure she didn’t spend on auto-pilot, but by the end of the week it felt natural. And when she and her husband got back to their budget, it seemed easier to stick to, she says.

2. PEN EVERY PENNY.

There are plenty of apps and programs that will automatically track your spending, but how closely do you scrutinize those totals? Christina Arnberger from Chicago realized she needed to go analog if she was going to radically revamp her habits. She grabbed paper and pen and literally wrote down everything she’d spent in the past month, tallying expenses into major categories. “When I saw that I spent $900 in one month on groceries, that scared me enough to make me extra conscientious the next few times I went to the grocery store,” she says.

3. PURGE YOUR PLACE.

That $20 sweater seems like no big deal—until you realize your closet is stuffed with similar sweaters you never wear and your budget is weeping. When Chicago resident Rebecca Resman was looking to make over her spending habits, she didn’t scrutinize her bank account or receipts, but instead spent a weekend looking around her apartment. She donated, sold, or swapped all of the clothes that no longer fit, toys her two kids weren’t into, and random dishware she’d accumulated. “Seeing all of the purposeless garbage I got rid of inspired me to buy less stuff in the first place,” she says. And since the massive purge, she has indeed noticed a dip in her spending habits.

4. GO ALL-CASH.

“When we need to dial back our budget, nothing beats cash,” says Angie Kooima of Villa Park, Illinois. And science backs her up: Studies show that people who pay with cash tend to spend less than those who pay with plastic.

When Angie noticed her family’s spending was spiraling beyond their monthly budget, she looked at how much they’d allocated for meals out, coffee runs, entertainment, and shopping trips, and then withdrew that amount from an ATM. “Everything but gas and groceries got purchased with that cash, and I knew that when it was gone, it was gone,” she says. Holding what was left of the budget in cold, hard cash made it easy to put that stray $10 or $20 into perspective—a perspective that’s lasted even when the family isn’t doing an all-cash cleanse, she says.

Amazon's Best Cyber Monday Deals on Tablets, Wireless Headphones, Kitchen Appliances, and More

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Cyber Monday has arrived, and with it comes some amazing deals. This sale is the one to watch if you are looking to get low prices on the latest Echo Dot, Fire Tablet, video games, Instant Pots, or 4K TVs. Even if you already took advantage of sales during Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday still has plenty to offer, especially on Amazon. We've compiled some the best deals out there on tech, computers, and kitchen appliances so you don't have to waste your time browsing.

Computers and tablets

Amazon

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet 64GB; $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet 64GB; $84 (save $35)

- HP Pavilion x360 14 Convertible 2-in-1 Laptop; $646 (save $114)

- HP Pavilion Desktop, 10th Gen Intel Core i3-10100 Processor; $469 (save $81)

- Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop; $973 (save $177)

Headphones and speakers

Beats/Amazon

- Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones; $200 (save $100)

- Sony Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones; $278 (save $72)

- JBL LIVE Wireless Headphones; $100 (save $30)

- JBL Charge 4 - Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $120 (save $10)

- Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker II; $79 (save $50)

- Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones; $200 (save $50)

Video Games

Sony

- Watch Dogs Legion; $30 (save $30)

- Marvel's Avengers; $27 (save $33)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

- The Last of Us Part II; $30 (save $30)

TECH, GADGETS, AND TVS

Samsung/Amazon

- Amazon Fire TV Stick; $30 (save $20)

- Echo Show 8; $65 (save $65)

- Nixplay Digital Picture Frame; $115 (save $65)

- eufy Smart Doorbell; $90 (save $30)

- Samsung 75-Inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $898 (save $300)

home and Kitchen

Ninja/Amazon

- T-fal 17-Piece Cookware Set; $124 (save $56)

- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Curved Round Chef's Oven; $180 (save $136)

- Ninja Foodi 10-in-1 Convection Toaster Oven; $195 (save $105)

- Roborock E4 Robot Vacuum Cleaner; $189 (save $111)

- Instant Pot Max Pressure Cooker 9 in 1; $80 (save $120)

- Shark IZ362H Cordless Anti-Allergen Lightweight Stick Vacuum; $170 (save $110)

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

Hate Brown Apple Slices? Use This Simple Trick to Keep Them Fresh

Jessica Lewis, Unsplash
Jessica Lewis, Unsplash

Though they're perfectly safe to eat, brown apple slices aren't the most appealing-looking snack. If you love sliced apples but can't stand that fading color, eating them faster isn't your only option. All you need is a bowl of water and a bit of salt to keep your apples looking and tasting fresh and crisp long after you cut into them.

This trick for keeping apple slices from browning comes from Reader's Digest. Before picking up your knife, prepare a bowl of cold water. Stir in roughly half a teaspoon of salt for every cup of water and set the bowl aside until your apple slices are ready. Soak the slices for 10 minutes, drain them, and rinse them off to get rid of any excess salt. You can eat your apples right away or store them in a plastic bag or container for later. Either way, they should keep their appetizing white color for longer than they would without the saltwater soak.

Discoloration on an apple slice doesn't mean it's gone bad. When the enzymes inside an apple are exposed to air, they produce benzoquinone and melanins in a process called oxidation. This chemical reaction is behind your apple's rapid browning. Salt inhibits these enzymes, which slow down the oxidation process.

The saltwater trick is great for keeping apples looking fresh, but it only works if they've been sliced. Here's a tip for stopping your whole apples from going bad after bringing them home from the grocery store (or picking them straight from the tree).

[h/t Reader's Digest]