Setting initial buffer for Do Less goals?

I’m trying to set up a couple of Do Less goals to track my spending. The initial amount that you’re allowed (i.e. the amount I could spend on the first day) seems to be set by the rate, although I’m not sure what the formula is. I’d like to be able to set the initial buffer amount myself, so that I could e.g. pay rent on the first day of a total spending goal without derailing. Is there any way to do this directly, or do I just have to hack it by setting a high initial rate, immediately correcting it, and then retroratcheting a couple of times?

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iirc, the formula for the initial rate on a do less goal is double the usual rate, but that doesn’t really help with lumpy spending.

It could be that your best bet is to start this goal off after having paid your rent this month. But however you slice it, at some point you’re going to pay rent again, and that big chunk could easily derail you, which would be terrible.

I’m not sure that the goal is well framed. Many people are tracking their discretionary spending using do-less goals. Maybe you could devise a scheme whereby any reduction to your non-discretionary spending benefits the goal.

It might also be interesting to control discretionary spend using a do less goal and total spending with a do more goal, where the slope is set to your fixed spending each month. The divergence of the road and the datapoints would show very visually how much you’re spending above the baseline.

Funny, most of my spending goals seem to be do more. e.g. spend at least 1k on courses and professional development each year, with a 90 day auto-ratchet.

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I probably picked the wrong example – I’m actually also tracking my discretionary spending, and have the same problem there. (I want to start off with $x that I’ve already budgeted as discretionary money and then accumulate at $y/day.)


Thanks for the clarification! If you email us at, we can make sure that you start off with $x safety buffer on this goal.

If $x is too large, of course, you might find that the goal doesn’t constrain you as much as you might hope. An awful lot of us live on the edges of our yellow brick roads…

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