Tag Archives: Michelle Singletary

Day 7: 21 Days to Financial Freedom

1 May

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness. – Bertrand Russell

So I guess you’re wondering how I’m doing on spending. Here’s an update:

My challenges
I’ve bought some snacks and grabbed fast food a few times this past week. I’d like blame it on my busy schedule but I know that I still lack some control. I’m also realizing that I’m somewhat of an emotional eater. I never thought so because when I’m really stressed, I don’t eat and lose weight. But I’ve noticed that when I’m mildly irritated or slightly stressed, I feel the urge to want to “reward” myself with a meal out.

My progress
I have some victories too though. Even when I’ve eaten out or snacked, I’ve chosen cheaper alternatives. Instead of a fancy hot chocolate and a muffin from the campus coffee shop (over $5), I settled for a pre-made Starbucks frapp and made my own oatmeal (about $2.50). And there were a pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans at the Macy’s where I work part time on sale for about $18! Man, that would have been a steal. I didn’t even go and try them on. Plus, there was a Facebook deal for a local steam room spa that I’ve been wanting to try for only $10. I passed that up, too.

I’ve also withdrawn cash to use for this week to avoid using my debit card.

The good thing is that I’m not feeling like I’m depriving myself. I have to ask myself, “Do I really need this?” Most times, the answer is no. I’m glad to see where I’m not wasting away money, even though it may only be a small amount at this point.

New discoveries
This past week I’ve created a new budget by using a new format. This format helps you determine if you are overspending in certain categories. For example, according to this budget, you should only be spending around 26 – 36% for your housing (rent, mortgage) or no more than 10% for debt (credit cards, loans). I’ve budgeted before but this is something new for me and I’m able to determine where I need to find more balance…my debt.

The book also has caused me to revisit the idea of tithing. It’s something that I’ve never done before. I thought I was doing it before but a true tithe is 10% of your gross income, not your net. Anything other than that is an offering. This is a challenging concept for me right now and is something like I’m praying about at present.

14 more days to go…

Advertisements

Day 1: 21 Days to Financial Freedom

26 Apr

“Times are hard.” You don’t know how many times I’ve heard that lately. And yes, I’ve been saying it, too. With gas at almost $4 a gallon, no cost of living raise in the last few year, and those unexpected expenses that pop up (locking my keys in the car), my pocketbook has taken a beating. But while I’d like to blame it on all things external, I’ve had to come to the realization that I need to take personal responsibility for not managing my money the way that I should. So, some changes will be made. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I know that I’ve got to do something different!

I’ve already made some changes: I got a roommate a year and half ago and I got a part-time job at Macy’s back in November. But despite those major changes, I still find myself strapped for cash. I’ve got to go a step further. A friend recently mentioned a book that he and his wife were reading called “The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom” by Michelle Singletary. He had some pretty good things to say about it and he mentioned the 21 day fast. He let me borrow the book and the fast is something I’m going to try. Basically, the book calls for 21 days of refraining from spending on anything other than necessities, eliminating using credit and debit cards, avoiding shopping or even window shopping, and more. And during this process, the book will help you to develop a budget and gain other tools, both practical and spiritual.

I’ll be chronicling my progress along the way right here on Emo Idiot. I’ve already read the first chapter and here’s my first assignment:

Make a list of any potential obstacles that may prevent you from sticking to the fast and then decide how to eliminate them.

I know that my biggest obstacle will be eating out. Most days when I get off from work, I don’t feel like cooking. Or, I may not have time to cook when going from my full-time job to my part-time gig. I’d usually just grab some fast food. And, I’m gonna have a hard time not buying snacks at the bookstore or coffee shop at my job or at the mall where I work. I’m going to have to plan, plan, plan! I’m going to need to make food on the weekends so that I can have it during the week. I’m going to have to carry my lunch including snacks everyday! Ugh, this is going to be tough! I’ve already started doing some of this but not everyday. At first I thought that I would just build some lunch money into my budget during this 21 days but eating out is forbidden during the fast plus I need to face my biggest financial challenge and that’s spending too much money on food! I’m gonna need prayer! lol