Fasting, considered to be one of the best techniques to detoxify and improve your physical health, is also used to improve one’s finances. Only in this type of fasting instead of little or no food, you limit your expenses; this is a fasting of the different kind called as financial fast.
What Is 21-Day Financial Fast?
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- What Is 21-Day Financial Fast?
- Why 21-Day Financial Fast?
- Benefits of 21-Day Financial Fast
- How to Use 21-Day Financial Fast to Your Success?
- Day 1 to Day 21 – Never Miss a Day
- Identify Needs and Wants
- Spend On Essentials Only
- Pay Cash; No Credit Cards Please
- Avoid Sources of Temptations
- Maintain Expenses Account
- Turn Existing Ones to Suit Your Needs
21-Day Financial Fast is a book authored by Michelle Singletary, a columnist for Washington Post and a financial consultant. The aim of the book is to make the money diet practitioner develop financial discipline. The plan is to keep the credit card untouched for three weeks and use cash to buy – only essentials.
Why 21-Day Financial Fast?
If you have been used to spending recklessly, 21-day financial fasting is right for you. This type of financial fast curbs your excess spending habits. Your level of resistance, which may be pathetically weak, towards spending is improved by taking on financial fasting for 21 days. Even if you aren’t a high spender taking up the fasting will help you identify unwanted purchases.
Benefits of 21-Day Financial Fast
During the fast, you spend money only on essentials, which itself is a great advantage. It also helps to:
- Resist the temptation to overspend and avoid impulsive buying
- Identify unwanted expenses and avoid making them
- Control your finances instead of letting money control you
- Limit credit card costs
- Become mindful of how you spend the money
- Increase your saving for a comfortable future
How to Use 21-Day Financial Fast to Your Success?
You are aware of the need to have a check over your style of spending, and you are sure that 21-day financial fast will help you. But if you are unsure of how to use it to optimize benefits, here are a few things you need to know.
Day 1 to Day 21 – Never Miss a Day
Let us start with first things first. You have decided to do financial fast. Be dedicated in your efforts and remain with the same enthusiasm on the 21st day as you were for the 1st day of financial fast. Following financial fast for 21 days can be the right duration. A shorter period of financial fast does not give you much time to gain to the extent of your realizing how beneficial it would be, A longer period may be testing and the chances of quitting are more unless you already are not a spender.
Identify Needs and Wants
The essential aspect of financial fast is that you should not spend on anything that is not required for your survival. To make sure you spend right, begin with identifying your needs and wants and write it down. For example, buying groceries to make food at home is need whereas eating outside is want, meaning desire. The earlier one is essential, and the latter one is costly and inessential. Once you have it written down in advance, your 21-day financial fast will be a smooth three weeks during which you will never feel the guilt of having spent unnecessarily.
Spend On Essentials Only
If you ever had the time and the mind to assess your purchase bills and see how much unwanted purchases you have made, you would go on a financial fast, particularly if you have debts that disturb your sleep. While on the fast, the rule is never to buy a product unless your life depends on it. Some of the expenses you need to avoid by following the law include:
- Buying outside foods
- Expenses at the parlor
- Gifts to family and friends – of course, gifting on happy moments is a pleasure, but your affection can always be expressed in better ways
- Theatre and restaurant visits
Pay Cash; No Credit Cards Please
For every essential purchase, make your payments only in cash. it will help to keep a check on the expenses. It also contributes to avoiding making purchases for which you don’t have sufficient money. These are the times when one uses a credit card. By following the ‘pay cash’ rule, you don’t swipe your card thereby saving money, which otherwise would have been spent. By using a credit card, you not only owe money to the card issuer but you also pay interest, which often turns out to be more expensive. By paying cash, you avoid going into debt.
Avoid Sources of Temptations
Well, you have your office to go to and hence you cannot avoid passing by the malls and other shopping places that you frequent to for fashion update. Looking at them is sure to rekindle your interest and you may think that there is nothing wrong with just hopping in. If you feel so, ask yourself when was the last time you walked into a store and came out without buying anything. If it is real hard to recall, it is best to avoid entering.
It would be even better if you don’t look at it mainly. So are the websites tempting to make some quick purchases with discount offers, gift coupons, the festival offers and much more. Remember you are in a 21-day financial fast and avoid browsing such websites. It not only takes your quality time or your hard-earned money but also makes you break your promise to financial fast.
Once you manage to avoid visiting shopping centers and browsing websites you will soon realize that you have been overspending all along. Realization helps to improve your spending habits.
Maintain Expenses Account
Maintenance of accounts is an age-old practice, which helps to limit your expenses within your income source and increase your savings. If you have not been maintaining accounts so far, 21-day financial fast recommends you to get started with accounting your expenses. Entering every expense you make during your financial fast will serve as a reference to improve your spending habits in the future. You will be able to identify all that unwanted spending and plan on avoiding it.
Turn Existing Ones to Suit Your Needs
It is going to be a challenging financial fast for you if you are the type that makes frequent purchases for any new requirement that arises. For the conventional spenders who turn everything old to new to suit their need, completing three-week fasting is just a formality. Assuming you need a writing table with comforts that your existing writing table does not have, instead of going for a new one, transform the existing one to suit your interests. Your carpenter will not charge you the price of a new table. Before selling any unused furniture check if you can alter it to another form to suit any other purpose at home. For example, if you intend to sell your old dining table, see if you can use the wood to make drawers for your table or transform the wood into wall shelves.
Just as a diet fasting gives you benefits even after the fasting session, 21-day financial fast benefits you even after the fast is over. Your mind is now trained to look for alternative ways to anything before spending money on a new purchase. You become mindful of your spending habits, which helps to cut unwanted costs.