One of my personal goals is to continue to improve my finances. This is the second year I began the new year with a 31 day financial fast. What is a financial fast? It is where you don’t do any frivolous spending like dining out, shopping for clothes, purchasing entertainment (movies, concert, zoo, plays, sporting events, etc.) outside of your home. You don’t use any debit or credit cards and must only use cash. Yes you can pay bills electronically. You budget for the month. You can create a meal plan for the month as well. You are able to buy food but only in the grocery store or farmers market. No restaurant food.
Why would I ever participate for a second time in such a RESTRICTIVE activity? I moved from a 3 bedroom house into a 2 bedroom apartment. I have so much STUFF! I gave away, donated and trashed so much stuff prior to my move. Yet I still have so much STUFF!
This is why should you do a financial fast too.
- Abundance – when you stop shopping and are forced to use the items in your home. You will notice the ABUNDANCE of items you own. You will notice how many pairs of black pants you have, bottles of ketchup or even tubes of toothpaste. Once you realize how much you have but not used you will be surprised. Now you can shop only to replenish.
- Emotional Spending – Many times you don’t realize how your emotions are tied to your money. When times are good, you celebrate by going out to eat, shopping or take a trip. When you are sad or upset you will go out for a drink or shopping to feel better. Spending money is your therapy. It shouldn’t be your therapy. Granted you should reward yourself and shop from time to time. During the fast you will begin to note when you feel the “need” to shop. Now you can develop non-financial methods to feed that “need.”
- Planning –“ if you plan to fail, you plan to fail” The fast makes you truly look at your finances by using a BUDGET. I know you hate that word. But here is the key word “YOUR” budget. You can make it work for you. You can also plan your meals by creating a menu. Simply create a list of foods in your house and review your local grocery store sale ads, then you can pair foods together to create meals. Remember leftovers are great for lunch!
Participating in a financial fast is very introspective. It makes you think, evaluate and modify your behavior. You will grow in your financial views.