Many people associate fasting with spirituality and religion, and basically think of fasting as going without food for a period of time in order to get closer to a higher power. The principle of fasting can also be applied to your finances, and this principle can go a long way in helping you save money. A “financial fast” happens when you choose to avoid spending money for a certain amount of time, usually a week every month. In the week of a financial fast, you do not spend at all – no bills, no small expenses like bus fare, no morning Starbucks and most importantly you make no compromises.
You can choose to take a financial fast in the middle of the month, say the third week. During this week, you will not spend a cent. Spending is not limited to taking money or your credit card out of your wallet; it also includes partaking in activities that will cost you money that you have already spent, or are likely to spend. Financial fasts need some nominal preparation to ensure that the week is not entirely torturous, but rather an opportunity for you to increase your general functionality, creativity and to avoid wastage.
Steps to take during your fast
If you own a car, during your financial fast you will not do any driving. You can substitute your mode of transportation and use a bicycle instead. In this way, you will save on fuel and maintenance of your vehicle (an example of a payment that you may incur before or after use)and you will also enjoy the added benefit of doing something positive for your health.
Purchasing of food is also prohibited during your financial fast. This week gives you the opportunity to get creative with items that you have left in your pantry. If you work in an office, rather than purchasing food from a cafeteria or fast food restaurant during the day, you can prepare a homemade meal and eat that while at work.
Plan your financial fast around the times you need to pay your bills because you do not want to go without some of your fundamentals. If you do receive any bills during the fast, you will need to put them aside and pay them once you complete the fast.
Making it work
To help you stay focused, you must take certain steps during your financial fast. First, put aside all your credit and debit cards. Do not carry them anywhere with you, and do not use them to make any online purchases. The same applies to your cash. In your wallet, you should only carry your identification information.
If the idea of a financial fast for an entire week seems daunting and impossible, you can start off by trying the fast for two to three days and building up from there. At the end of this fast, you will be pleasantly surprised as to how much money you have been able to save.