January Financial Fast

Starting January 1st we’ll jump start our finances with a financial fast. See below for more information on how it works. Click Here to join the community of fellow participants in the FGF Financial Fast Facebook Group.

How It Works

1) Commit

Admittedly a full month is a long time to commit to a fast. Typically fasts last 21 days, with the logic that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit. I’m challenging everyone to dig a little deeper and commit to a full month of fasting in order to super-charge your year with better habits, a fresh budget, and a healthier savings account.

2) Needs Only

The key here is to limit your purchases to needs only. What does that mean? Food, bills, necessary transportation, shelter…only the bare essentials. Before you spend any money, always ask yourself “Is this a need?” Throughout the month there will be instances where you’re exhausted or busy, and are tempted to cheat by grabbing takeout. Although food is a necessity, do you need to spend money eating out? If the answer is no, pass on it. If you need someone to hold you accountable, refer back to the group, we’ll keep you on track.

3) Toss the Cards

Using cards for purchases generally makes it easier to lose track of how much we’re spending. Throughout the fast, use cash as much as possible. There will obviously be times when it’s simply not feasible, but try your best to plan ahead.

4) Keep a Journal

Throughout the fast keep a detailed journal of every dollar you spend, and review it DAILY. This is important because reflecting on how you spend your money will give you insight into why you spend your money. We all have an emotional driver behind our spending habits, and journaling will help you understand yours. Also, this will aid in creating your budget for the remainder of the year.

Helpful Tips

Meal Prep

Prepare your dinners, lunches, and snacks ahead of time (I prefer Sundays). This will eliminate the difficulty in cooking after work or overspending on vending machines and convenience stores throughout the week. An added bonus is this will also help you make healthier choices! Click here to download free weekly and monthly meal planners.

Cut Back on Gas

Take efficient trips while driving to limit transportation costs. Plan your errands so that you make the most fuel efficient trips as possible. This will help reduce your gas or train fare.

Trim Your Grocery Bill

Use this month to eating what’s accumulated in your pantry and freezer before buying more food. Meal prep will also help in this area.

Find Free Activities

The goal is to avoid expending money, which means not letting other people spend money on you either. Instead of letting your friend, or significant other pick up the brunch tab, find a free activity to enjoy. You’ll be surprised at how creative you can get. Check the facebook group for ideas that other fasters have found.

Avoid Window Shopping

This month plan on avoiding HomeGoods and Tar-jay because let’s be honest, you’re not coming out of there without overspending. This includes online shopping as well.

Check In

I’ll plan on posting daily status (or as close to it as possible) updates in the FGF Financial Fast Support Group on Facebook. Join, and check in often to let the group know how your fast is going, and what free activities you’ve found.