Fasting for prosperity

Today is the kids’ last day of school. Next week I start school, and they start summer camp. They are very excited.

Well, we’ve been spending like it’s going out of style. We went through our two week allowance in about three days! I think it’s time to go on a spending fast again. For the next week I’m not going to spend any money at all. Thankfully we didn’t do too much damage. We just didn’t save any money this pay period.

For the next week, if we run out of a particular food, it goes on the grocery list. If I need entertainment we’ll go out back and play with the hose or I’ll read. Goodness knows I have enough books to see me through.

We have a horrible tendency to go on a spending spree as soon as the paycheck hits the bank. We pay all of our bills, we buy groceries, we give ourselves our allowance and do debt. Everything else, we spend. And we tend to spend most of it that first weekend. B. A. D. Bad idea.

We had, like many people, been living paycheck to paycheck, blowing any “extra money” as soon as we got it. We’ve gotten better and the excess (over my preset spending limit for the period) gets put toward debt. We’re still living paycheck to paycheck, but we are paying down debt now as well. Once we’re out from under it, we’ll increase our retirement savings and start saving a safety net of about 4 – 6 months expenses. All that money that went to debt will be going towards that.

This is long term thinking that I wasn’t able to do when I was younger. The amount of money we frittered away beore we were 30 is blinding. But, we are starting and doing what we can. In about 4 years we’ll be debt free and have a 6 month safety net for expenses and spending. That seems like a long time, but it seems to be going by faster as I age. Once that’s done, we are golden. We’ll have a significant retirement fund growing, 6 months of safety should anything happen, and be able to play with the rest.

I am not a fan of the so-called “prosperity gospel” that says that it is our God-given duty to become rich to keep the money out of the hands of the bad guys. I am, instead, a believer that it is our duty to make the world a better place if at all possible. Yes, we will get to play with our money, but I will finally be able to have a regular charity budget as well. I’ll be in a better position to help my family and friends. There are reasons beyond financial security for us. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a really good reason, but not the only one.

So, to get back on track, a spending fast is in order. We’ll start with a week and see how it goes. After that, it may just consist of being mindful of where our money is going and what it’s doing for us, after all, my husband needs a new gym bag.

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