Sunday, October 12, 2014

31 for 21: Financial Fast

Today our family completed a three-week financial "fast."  We've done these from time to time over the past several years, and I considered blogging about it these past weeks.  But really, this time around, it didn't seem that extreme, and I didn't really have much to say about it.

The idea is simple -- no spending for three weeks.  Necessities are exempt (groceries, gas, continuing to pay the mortgage) as are reoccurring expenses that can't easily be shut off for a few weeks (internet, Y membership).

And that's part of why it wasn't much of a thing -- so many of our expenses are prepaid.  Can't go out to see a movie during the fast, but we can watch something on Netflix.  Our membership cards to the zoo still work.  Not going out to eat was our biggest hardship.  (And, to be fair, we each cheated to go out to eat with friends once -- getting social time away from the family is a rare thing.)

Still, although the impact was small, there was something freeing about walking into Target to buy some supplies for work, and knowing that I would not buy any extra Halloween clutter while I was there.

I described the process to some friends as a "reset," and as such it did it's job.  I'm back in the habit of packing snacks for the kids and bringing along my own coffee mug.  We invited friends over for dinner instead of going out.  We took advantage of the last weeks of mild weather and got outside.

And tonight, we celebrated the end of our fast with sushi -- oddly enough it's the favorite of 3 out of 4 in this household (Christer likes it, too, he just wouldn't call it a favorite).  The gift-giving holidays are arriving (including birthdays for the boys), and I'll start placing those orders within the next few weeks.  I need to pick up some underwear for one boy and pjs for the other.  The buying & spending of running a household is inescapable -- which is why doing this sort of fast, slight as it is, is always as much a retreat as a challenge.

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