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I'm Fasting - Financially, That Is

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I’m embarking on a 21-day financial fast. Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary advocates this fast to improve your money management. The fast only allows buying the essentials: groceries, medicine, hygiene (think deodorant, not perfume.) No eating out. No fast food. Find free entertainment. Credit cards, even debit cards are shunned.

Today is Day One. I am not dwelling in a financial quagmire. My finances are pretty good. My debts are a mortgage and student loans. Neither is going away anytime soon. I usually buy what I want within my means; Singletary says fasting shows us how we over-consume. For me, this exercise will be more about self control and curbing immediacy. It took me several weeks to decide to do this fast. Better now than the summertime, I figured. One friend who did it said she spent more time listening; her socializing took place at her home or visiting friends’ homes. I do take issue with no-buying-gifts edict. I have two baby showers this month and showing up empty handed looks tacky. If I “make” something, I still have to buy materials. I don’t have used baby items loafing around my house. I’ll cross this bridge later. I breezily walked past Starbucks this morning on my way to work. But I’ve already had my first challenge: co-workers are going to the new Harry Caray restaurant at Navy Pier after work. I casually mentioned that I can hang out if someone buys me a drink. Still waiting for a response... One friend asked me if there’s clause in case I see my favorite designer on sale. Nope. Singletary forbids window shopping - online included. I will have to ignore these daily emails. I’m doing this fast with my sister - who lives in Washington, D.C. - and a good friend -- who lives in New York. We have formed a support group. One question I’ve asked is about paying court time for tennis when I already pay a monthly fee at the club. And said friend took a cab today because she had so many heavy bags. Is that cheating? Luckily, I have already bought Girl Scout cookies.

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