Each year after the holidays there seems to be a letdown that occurs. Whether it’s the fact that Christmas is over or the the fact that there isn’t something special to look forward to, there’s a little glum that sometimes follows the excitement of the holidays. And lest we forget one of the biggest letdowns of the holidays…
how much we spent.
I can’t complain too much this time. We actually set aside a Christmas fund throughout the year in hopes of making them a little easier to swallow. It helped for sure, but we ended up over-budget. And I made a lot of my gifts! I absolutely love to give. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a birthday, Christmas, or even just because. I love to give.
So after all of the spending this Christmas, I’m in the mood to do a little saving now. Not that we don’t already save every penny that we can, but we want to really buckle down and challenge ourselves now that the frivolous holidays are over.
I came across Michelle Singletary’s The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom on Google one day. That’s a link to her book if you’re interested in reading it. I didn’t actually read it myself, I just read over the main points of the fast to understand what is expected. It’s a very simple idea and I believe that it’s a great way to challenge your family and your spending habits.
On a summary of this book I found a quote that I wanted to share with you:
YOU NEVER SAVE WHEN YOU SPEND
Great job Captain Obvious, right?! Well it’s not as obvious as you might think. When I was hardcore couponing, I found that I would stock up on things that may or may not still be good by the time I got around to consuming them. When it was time to go through cabinets and try to use up what we had, there were things that weren’t even edible anymore. And sure I was saving money by stocking up, but if I never even consumed those items then was really just throwing that money away.
You might think about that quote and see how it applies to your situation. With the new year here, it’s time to reevaluate spending and make changes to better your bank account. And that’s the principle that my husband and I are going to be working on in the next 21 days.
We already have a pretty feasible budget that we follow each month. It works well, but contains some spending that we saw to be unnecessary. For instance, we each receive $20 each week to spend on whatever we’d like. Sure it’s nice, but during a financial fast we feel it’s not a necessity. And along those same lines, we also set aside $20 towards dining out for the family. Once again, this is not neccessary and it’s being cut.
Here are the rules that our financial fast will consist of:
We can ONLY use cash to pay for things during the 21 days. (We already do this, but it’s good to reiterate how important this is to saving money!)
We will ONLY purchase things that are essential during the 21 days. Essentials are: food, medicine, personal toiletry items, school supplies (if needed).
We will NOT shop online or shop in-store unless purchasing our essentials during the 21 days.
We will NOT purchase gifts for anyone (even if there is a party) during the 21 days.
We will NOT eat out or purchase coffee (this is a hard one) at a cafe or anything along these lines during the 21 days.
We will document each and every purchase during the 21 days to keep track of where our money is going.
We will read a daily Bible verse for encouragement and guidance during the 21 days.
And of course there are other things that will come along that we will deal with as they come. This is probably going to be most difficult for me since I find myself at a store just about every single day for one reason or another. This is a challenge that I plan to go forward with in hopes of learning to use my resources as God intends us to. And also to visually SEE how much money can be saved and how many things we buy on a daily basis that really are unnecessary.
I plan to give updates throughout our 21 days of this challenge. If you’ve never done something like this, I’m sure you’ll be interested to hear how it’s going. I’m curious myself!
Our 21-Day Financial Fast will begin on January 2nd 2013 and end on January 22nd 2013. Wish us luck!
I’ll leave you with a scripture to get you started!
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
-Proverbs 3: 9-10
Have you ever done a financial fast before? Would you consider something like this to encourage your financial discipline?