WBEZ’s Natalie Moore begins the 2011 financial fast!

WBEZ’s Natalie Moore begins the 2011 financial fast!
WBEZ’s Natalie Moore begins the 2011 financial fast!

WBEZ’s Natalie Moore begins the 2011 financial fast!

The holidays are over and I feel like I need a financial cleansing. I’m embarking on a 21-day financial fast. No restaurants, fast-food, after work drinks, gifts, shopping or even window shopping. You can only buy the essentials: groceries, health/medicine, school and work supplies.

The fast is for people who are overwhelmed with debt and people like me - not debt ridden but want to curtail consumption. The new year has also brought about new expenses. Last year I did the fast and the exercise taught me to curb impulses. A few kind souls did take me out to dinner. There are plenty of creative ways to have fun especially in a city like Chicago. I look forward to taking advantage of the Art Institute’s free days.

Once again I will be joined by my sister and some of her friends in the fast. A couple of my friends have decided to take part as well. The timing couldn’t be better for my sister; in order to renew her vehicle registration today she had to pay off $400 parking tickets. She may not save as much money as she wanted during the fast, but a looming bill is now resolved. On a brighter note, someone is a taking her to the movies tonight.

I’ve already loaded up on lunch and snack food. Working in a food desert makes it hard to avoid the pitfalls of fast food. My picture is of the weekend Trader Joe’s excursion. I have a long day today so I already cooked my dinner yesterday to eat late tonight. I plan to call Comcast and AT&T to reduce my bills, which probably means getting rid of some beloved services. A friend invited me out for another friend’s birthday this Saturday night. I declined, citing the fast. The friend said drinks on her. Does that count?

Like last year, I imagine our intrepid web editor Justin Kaufmann will frequently weigh in on what is and isn’t essential (editors note: You can count on it.) But I do anticipate some questions arising from all of us and would love our readers to weigh in. And if you feel so inspired, join us in the fast.

There’s one expense I know I can’t avoid - the parking meters.

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