Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Financial Fast

{rural chapel - Oaxaca, Mexico}
I know I can't out-do the Pope (Holy Quit! as Jon Stuart exclaimed), and I know Lent started last Wednesday, but I haven't had a chance to post about this year's Lenten sacrifice until now.

I was raised Catholic, but am not religious. Spiritual, but not religious. I prefer to live my life through the wise words of the Dalai Lama, "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."

But Lent is a wonderful time of year. A chance to cut back on the indulgences and the decadence of the holidays, an opportunity to re-assess and re-group in a new year, a time to usher in the re-birth of spring with the mindfulness of a personal cleanse that I think is a healthy practice for all.

This year, Flavio and I decided to make a Lenten sacrifice together: we are doing a Financial Fast.  My husband and I were raised in very different financial circumstances. He grew up low-income and I with too much. I spend liberally while he is conservative. As with most couples, money is our major difference.

We spent most of our 20s traveling the world with a We Only Live Once! mentality and while traveling is still a long-term priority, someday we'd like to buy one of San Diego's overpriced homes, pay off all credit card and student loan debt, and have a healthy savings in the bank. To make these things happen, we need to spend some time in our 30s getting serious about our joint money management.

Here's the plan:

:: We made a full budget to track our net income, our expenses, and our debt. We have a budget for the 40 days of Lent we're going to stick to it!

:: Use only cash (no plastic) for every single purchase.

:: Total shopping hiatus. No shopping. This means deleting all Anthro emails and tossing the Anthro catalogue before reading. No window shopping. No Forever 21 binges. No trips to Target or Trader Joe's unless we have a list of essentials, a budget, and cash in hand.

:: Record every single purchase that is not deemed essential (i.e., cheats). I will keep a running tally of any cheats and will post on my blog at the end.

:: Essential purchases include food, toiletries, gas, etc. -- necessities only. Extra bottle of wine at the grocery store? No. Mani/Pedi? No. Starbucks? No.  Essentials only.

:: Planned exceptions -- Go out for our First Date Anniversary (March 15) and other date nights as that enhances our relationship significantly and is important to us. Go out for friend birthday weekend on March 2. Date nights/eating out NO MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK.  All planned exceptions will have a pre-arranged budget that we must stick to! And we will pay for these planned exceptions in cash.

:: Meatless Fridays -- Good for the body and the environment.

Full re-cap after the end of Lent (March 30).

Let the deliberate simplicity begin.


  1. I love your post. It is similar to what I am writing about right now. (We do a financial fast in February) Would it be ok if I quoted you? I would give you credit of course with a link to your blog.

  2. Of course! I'd be honored. Thanks for asking and for linking back to me.

    I'd also love to see your post when it's up. :)


  3. Thanks. Here is the post I wrote: www.groovyawesomeness.blogspot.com/2013/03/february-financial-mini-make-over.html


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