Written by Mr. Crumbs
Remember the impromptu 30 Days of No Spending challenge we did last August? Well, we learned SO MUCH about ourselves, our habits (good and bad) and lessons we never thought would come out of this challenge, that we’re doing it again. Except this time we’re giving you plenty of time to prepare, and we’re giving it a different name: Fiscal Fast.
Consider this your official invitation! We’d like you to join us, and see how well you can do individually, and as a family, in saving money and cultivating contentment in your household.
What’s a Fiscal Fast All About?
Fiscal (adjective): 1) of or relating to the public treasury or revenues: fiscal policies; 2) of or relating to financial matters in general.
Fast (verb, used without object): 1) to abstain from all food; 2) to eat only sparingly or of certain kinds of food, especially as a religious observance
What we’re doing is taking a break from all things money related.
In other words: there’s no spending money for the month of February.
Yes. We’re creating rules and guidelines to adhere to. Rules we’re going to hold ourselves to, and invite you to join us in the process! Ultimately, we’ll be holding each other accountable through this fiscal fast, and encouraging each other during the month of February!
When we completed our 30 Days of No Spending challenge last year, we had a new appreciation for what we had. We became MUCH more content with what we already had and focused much less on things we wanted.
We had also saved a great deal of money and became much more selective when shopping for any item. Frivolous purchases were no longer, and plenty of time and thought went into every small decision we made.
Why would YOU want to do this?
Because everyone likes a good challenge, and everyone likes to save money.
Additionally, a fiscal fast will force the entire family to work together and build stronger relationships. You’ll spend more time as a family, and if you make it fun, it can be quite an entertaining month in your house.
At the end of the fast, you’ll start thinking twice about the onsie-twosie purchases that you used to make and instead, will likely use your funds on more meaningful items.
So, now that you’re in, here are the rules of a fiscal fast:
1. No stocking up!
Seriously. No stocking up. Just because you’re not going to be spending money for a month, doesn’t mean you can run to the grocery store and buy two months’ worth of groceries. Shop how you normally shop and work with what you have on hand once the fast begins.
So… what do you do when you run out of food? You’ve got some options:
2. Limit Transportation Costs
Ok, tricky one here. Sure, fill your tank up before February 1. However, see if you can make it to the end of the month on just that one tank of gas. For those with commutes and/or those with two cars, see if you can get creative with the gas you have available between the vehicles.
For example, we ended up toggling between our cars last challenge, depending on which one had more gas, or what the purpose of the trip was.
Ultimately, use common sense. If you need to fill up so you can go to work, fill up. We don’t want you to lose your job.
3. Be Creative and Start Selling
You know that old bicycle in your garage, the extra television in the third bedroom or the laptop you never use anymore since you bought an iPad? Yep, you guessed it, time to go. This is where the fun starts, and where you’ll really start making those hard decisions.
Since you’re not spending money on gas (because you’ve limited yourself to using your car for work and/or personal commitments), you now have a lot more time around the house.
Use all your spare time to sell those spare gadgets on Craigslist, Ebay, or your local paper. It’s time to purge those items you don’t really use. Most of us have a lot of unnecessary “stuff” lying around the house or in a closet that if it went missing, we probably wouldn’t care. Or even notice. Do yourself a favor and get rid of it!
Which brings me to my next point:
4. Can I buy anything?
Yes and no. Any money earned from selling those old and dusty items can only be used for items that will sustain you: food and gas. That’s it.
During our first challenge, we made over $100 by selling our old stuff. We could have spent it all on food and continued to eat how we normally ate, but we didn’t. Instead, we limited ourselves to $6 once a week and used it on milk, produce and ice cream (you know, the essentials).
In other words, we forced ourselves to live extremely frugal for the challenge. We pretty much emptied our kitchen cabinets and still did well. However, we did have a weekly CSA box at the time (that was a birthday gift and did not come out of our own pocket).
This year, we will not, and we’ll have to get even more creative in order to make it work.
5. Do I still pay my mortgage?
Yes, unless you want to live in a van down by the river. : )
Please don’t be so extreme and skip your mortgage payment, utilities and so forth. Use common sense, and pay “the man” what you need to in order to heat your home and meet your financial obligations. The purpose of this challenge is to live below your means, and be more content with what you have, not ruin your credit and become homeless.
So… now that I’ve scared you off… are you in?
Many of you joined us in our impromptu challenge last year, and the comments you left in the posts were so encouraging! Tiffany and I were cheering you on from afar, and hope you all will join us again.
PS – You can read about last August’s challenge here:
Fiscal Fast February 2015 officially starts February 1.
Looking ahead, it’s already going to be a bit more difficult this year since we don’t have a CSA box to help us in the kitchen. We also have a road trip scheduled to Oregon, so we’ll have to creatively sell a few items in order to fund it!
I’m looking forward to the challenge, and I hope you’ll join us!