It’s a rainy Saturday morning, and as I sit and have my coffee searching the internet, I am seeing all kinds of 52 week money challenge posts with all kinds of levels of savings. I decided instead of focusing on the entire 52 weeks, I want to take a look at the next 4 weeks and see what I can save by the end of March. Back in 2013 we completed a 21 day financial fast. I am going to use this outline for the month of March and see how much we can save. Below are the rules of a 21-day financial fast as noted by Michelle Singletary, author of the book The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom.
- You can spend money only on NEEDS not wants.
- You must use CASH to buy things. You cannot pull out your credit card or debit card for any purchase.
- No dining out or purchasing coffee from restaurants or cafes during the 31-days.
- Tithing and giving to charitable organizations is permitted during your financial fast.
- Journal and record every penny you spend during your 31-days.
First, we have to define NEEDS. Some people have asked me if they buy chips and dip at the grocery, is it considered a need because they purchased it as part of their weekly grocery list? I believe each person must define a need for their family. I can tell you that growing up in a poor household, chips were not on the grocery list! The original money challenge says essentials only.
My rules for needs will be:
- Gas purchases
- Food purchases for breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snack items per day. (This may include ice cream)
- Household products (Toothpaste, toilet paper, soap, etc.) Not items for home décor (sheets, lamps, rugs, etc.)
- Items not included in the challenge are fixed expenses (daycare, mortgage, etc)
Next, for this money challenge, we will not be taking our usual weekly allowance because we won’t be purchasing any wants. Instead we will have a total budget of $930 or $30.00 per day. We have a family of four, and I am interested to see if we have any money left over at the end of this challenge. I believe the challenge will be our food bill. I buy organic, fresh produce as the majority of our grocery items; it will be tight for sure.
Lastly, an important step to the money challenge is writing down every penny we spend. I wrote about tracking your spending in a post Living Through Your Budget. This will let us know if we are on track and if we slip up at all. (This may very well happen!) I am using my Spending Tracking Log to assist us in keeping track of where our cash goes.
Have you ever done a money challenge? How did it go and what were your struggles? Who wants to join us? Please post in the comments below.