Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Financial Fast

I have participated in a few fasts from food. It was not easy. I love to prepare and to eat food. I did learn that if I can go without a necessity like food for a day or two, I can go without a non-necessity for a week, month, or even a year.

When I apply this idea to my personal finances, I call it a financial fast. It can include not purchasing soft drinks, not eating meat, not buying any new clothes, not eating out, etc. Everyone can benefit from a regular financial fast. It helps develop skills, and best of all, it helps you save money.

Self-control. Self control is essential to being successful with your finances (and in life!). But it isn’t something that can be developed overnight. It takes time. The key is to take small steps. Start out with a day or two. Then work up to a week. Eventually you’ll be fasting for a month without much effort.

Confidence. Sometimes we are fearful of doing anything because the risk of failure is overwhelming. So we stay in the same job, never try a new hobby, and don’t ever get out of our comfort zone. When I was successful in a small financial fast, it boosted my confidence and I slowly added the length of my fast. When I was successful in longer fasts, it built up my confidence until I gained control of my finances.

Money. At first I gave up something for short time, like a week. I didn’t see huge results from these short fasts. But as I developed more self-control and confidence, the results grew. Ten dollars I saved turned into twenty, which turned into fifty dollars. I discovered that when I completed a financial fast, sometime I never started purchasing that item again!

Just like with a fast from food, you have to be cautious when your fast is over. If you go out and eat a huge meal after a fast, it will be painful. I do recommend rewarding yourself when you meet a goal, but I don’t recommend splurging all the money you saved on your financial fast. If you give up buying soft drinks for a week, reward yourself with one soft drink at the end of the week. If you give up eating out for a month, reward yourself with one night out at the end of the month. If you decide you still want to!

What about you…what could you give up for a week, a month, or even a year as part of a financial fast?

1 comment:

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