The act of fasting has long been held by many to be an effective and cleansing period of time where the act of reducing or stopping eating altogether is done. Often, this is done for purely religious reasons; a pilgrimage of willpower and spiritualism.
Health-wise, fasting is sometimes a course of action for those who wish to clean their body of anything inessential. At the end of the fasting period, the purpose is to reach a much higher place than when you started, either in body or in mind.
It was only a matter of time before the idea was transplanted to other areas of life, namely, finances. If it can work for the body, why can’t it work for the bank account? This is the question many asked and now, fasting financially seems to becoming quite popular.
Working in pretty much the same way, financial fasting requires a person or household to follow some or all of the following when it comes to expenditure:
- Do not use credit cards
- Do not shop
- Only purchase the bare essentials i.e food and medicine
- Do not visit any retail or shopping stores. Do not even window shop
- No restaurants, fast food or cafes
- No buying coffee, breakfast or lunch when at work. Must be home-made
- No gifts to be bought for anyone. At all
Now, you may think that’s a little extreme, but that it the whole point. Rather than dieting, where you scale things down slowly, this is a complete and total withdrawal from spending.
How To Do It
To begin with, you need to plan for all essential items that need to be paid for. This means utility bills etc. Once you’ve got those allocated for funds, then list down everything that you consider a luxury. List them from most expensive to least expensive.
Now you have table of things that you can start to fast with.
Here are some examples;
- If you have a morning coffee from a shop before work, either make some at home in a flask or use your company’s coffee supply (if you’re lucky enough to have one!)
- Same for lunch. Instead of going out on your break, take a pre-made lunch with you to work. Simple but the money saved on a daily basis will surprise you
- If you usually take classes at the gym, try to work out from home. Going for a run or using existing exercise equipment at home can save you a regular monthly amount
- Soft drinks? You want them but you don’t need them. Invest in water filter jug and try only to use this for refreshment
Try to keep a diary or spreadsheet of your expenditures and savings over the fasting period. It will help motivate you when you see just how much you are saving each week.
Of course, it takes common sense and an ability to recognise when it isn’t working. When doing without food for an extended period of time, your body can suffer in a lot of negative ways. This is the same with your money if you don’t manage to adjust to the massive difference in spending.
You might find that it’s simply not possible to abstain from spending your money to such an degree.
If a complete and total schedule is simply not practical, then consider fasting for one or two days of the week. For example, make every Tuesday and Thursday the days where you absolutely do no spending whatsoever. Maintain this discipline and then try to gradually extend to three days, then four if possible.
So the real questions are…
Do you have the strength of mind to fast financially?
Can you cut back to the bare minimum to curb your expenditures?