As promised, today's blog will be all about Just Saying No to excess. Just in time for the holiday! (I'm a Jewish mother. I'm a master of guilt.)
For the month of January, J and I plan on going on a financial fast. I've been wanting to do this ever since I first heard of money fasts earlier this year. But just like planning the best time for a diet (I'm going to a wedding in July and I'll want some cake and I can't start a diet with Halloween only three months away and what's the point of dieting when there's all these Arbor Day treats around?), finding the right time for a financial fast can be somewhat difficult. Add to that the amount of time necessary to convince other members of this household that we can go an entire four week period without spending money on beer (and I'm still not sure that I've won that particular battle), and it's taken quite some time to really commit to one. But commit we have. Here is our challenge:
From January 1-31 (or thereabouts, we might end up doing a straight 28 day challenge) we will not spend money on anything that is not a necessity. Wanton tickets to Seattle: off limits! Milkshakes on days when ice cream is the cure for all ills: no more! Impulse buys due to the fact that my son and I share the magpie gene: it is to laugh! Stupidly easy purchases on Kindle, Audible or Amazon: no more for you, buckaroo!
I'm not entirely sure how difficult this will be for me. I know that I tend to overspend in two areas: food and gifts. (And herein lies part of the reason why we're doing this fast after the holidays). So one of the things I will be trying to do is month is avoiding grocery purchases for the month so that we can eat up all the odd cans of garbanzo beans and olives filling our pantry. I plan to allow myself about $40 for the month for fresh produce and milk/creamer, since health (and its corollary, coffee) is not optional. But instead of deciding that I can't figure out what to make with what we have and order a pizza or go grocery shopping, I'm going to reach down into the depths of my culinary creativity and make some truly odd meals.
I also will stop treating myself to lunches out. As a busy mom, I always make certain that I have enough food/lunch/snacks/juice for my son at any given moment of the day, but I sometimes forget to do the same for myself and will find my car making an unscheduled detour through a drive-through. In January, leftovers will be eaten, pantries will be cleared, and perhaps my hips will return to a former state of svelteness. (A mensch can dream, right?)
My goal is to have $550 at the end of the month to send to our credit card in order to pay for an upcoming trip. Even if we miss the goal by a little bit, I still think we'll benefit from learning new recipes, figuring out how to make do with what we have, and forgoing beer for a few weeks. (Although I still haven't convinced various members of this household of the benefits of that particular sacrifice). As they used to say in WWII, "Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without!"
I'll be blogging about the fast throughout the month of January. Please check back to see how we do. Feel free to bet on how quickly we become feral without our usual luxuries.
Will anyone else be starting 2012 off with a financial fast? What will be the most difficult sacrifice for you? What will you do with the money you're freeing up by fasting?