Last January (2015), I read through 21 Days to Financial Freedom by Michelle Singletary. I wrote about my journey on Facebook (it was before I started the blog) and prayerfully considered whether I wanted to do the same thing again this year.
When the fast started last year, I was vacationing in Arizona with my sister. She was a great host and went along with my crazy ideas as I searched the web for free entertainment in the area. In addition, she also packed a fabulous lunch for me so I wouldn’t have to buy any food at the airport for the trip back home.
Here are a few other highlights.
The Day 4 Topic was tithing. Since I have been tithing for several years, I thought this would be an easy chapter. Then Michelle asked if I actively look for ways to bless people. Or if I give sacrificially trusting that God will provide for me. The answer then was no and no, but I have made some progress here. There’s still room for growth, however.
The Day 6 Topic was contentment and cleaning the house. That’s when all the purging started and it really hasn’t let up yet. On the bright side, I did make a little money selling and consigning some of my things.
Day 7 was budgeting. Though I know it adds to the things that make me lame, I love budgeting and tracking where every penny goes on a spreadsheet! That being said, it was sobering to tally up what I spent over the year and where things were clearly out of alignment.
The Day 8 Topic was saving. Following Michelle’s advice, I put aside at least 5% of my salary every month for the entire year even though it wasn’t very exciting or entertaining. It was nice to see how it all added up at the end of the year, and it was enough for the downpayment on my retirement home!
Day 16 was about caregiving. I went to www.naic.org and www.medicare.gov and even www.longtermcare.gov to check out my options and ultimately decided I am going to do everything within my power to stay healthy, eat right, exercise, try to get more sleep. But if my good health fails me, I trust that Ben and Joel will be fighting over me to see who gets to have me move in with them. Boys, please break the news to your wives.
Day 19 was about Stewardship. Here’s the part that hit me hard, ” . . . one day you are going to have to give an account of how you managed the resources entrusted to your care. Could you defend your actions and provide proof that you managed your time, talents, and treasures in a way that glorifies God?” There are a lot of things that I can’t defend let alone give proof.
I got through the entire month without spending any money other than on necessities. I lived off the food in my cupboard and freezer. I had some preeeeetty interesting meals and had to limit myself to 10 chips a day so my one bag would last the whole month but I made it!
Ultimately, I’ve decided not to do a formal fast this January. My financial goals are really aggressive and now that I’ve learned how to go for days, even weeks, at a time without spending any money, it’s not difficult to say no to things and avoid temptation.
What are your financial goals for 2016? Are you going on a spending fast or are you fine with where your money is going? Please leave a comment by clicking the link at the top of the page.