January 13, 2014

Financial Fasting

I went to Target four times last week. Which meant that as of last night, Mary had more Target trips under her belt than her age in weeks.

That's kinda pathetic.

In my defense, two of those trips don't really count. I went on Monday, but forgot to bring an item I needed to return. So when I was in the area on Wednesday I just went to make the return and left as soon as I did. Then I went again on Saturday because Giada's cookware was 40% off on cartwheel (still is if you're interested) and they had an additional 25% off with their mobile coupons. We needed a new wok so I wanted to snag up this good deal. I also bought her cast iron dutch oven for $35 - score! But I realized the 25% off only came off the dutch oven and not the wok (which was the point of Saturday's trip in the first place) and since I had another 25% off coupon I got with my receipt, I took the wok back on Sunday to get it at the super discounted price.

Anyway, all this to say that I got a heck of a deal - but when I brag about these things to Miles all he hears is "I bought more crap at Target."

So it's really good that today I started a financial fast. I got the idea from Brooke who recently blogged about it and shared this NPR podcast about a 21 day financial fast. The idea being that for three weeks you can't buy anything that is not essential (groceries, medicine, etc) and you can't use your credit and debit card - you must pay in cash for any essential purchases.

I wanted to give this a shot as it will be interesting (potentially depressing) to see just where I am spending money that I really don't need to be. We are pretty good about tracking our finances closely anyway, but I think this will give me an even clearer picture of  what is truly necessary. It also is good because it requires that I really plan things out. For example, I can buy groceries, but I need to go with a more detailed list which will mean that I will need to do a better job meal planning so as to avoid buying food that we don't eat, or that's not essential (like ice cream - though the necessity of ice cream is probably debatable).

I know right now there will be times I will cheat. But I plan to track all those cheats/justified purchases so that I can tally up how much they cost during the three week period. Tomorrow I am mailing out a gift to a baby shower I'm unable to attend. I made the gift so it didn't cost me anything, but the postage to mail it will and that isn't essential. So little things like that will be little cheats I'll have to track and try to limit.

I'm also cheating by not letting this impact Finn. We go to open gym once or twice a week and it only costs $5 for an hour and a half. Sure it's not essential, but I'd say that getting out of the house and letting him burn off some energy is essential to my sanity and you can't put a price on that!

I'm interested to see if we have a little extra money this month when the three weeks are up, but mostly curious how this will impact my future spending habits.

So for the next three weeks - please don't talk to me about any good deals or cute finds at Target, or anywhere else for that matter.

Also, I went ahead and bought ice cream yesterday before the fast started. Just thinking ahead.



  1. Hahahaha! Smart woman! Ice cream is most surely a nice "extra" to have around. I usually have a scoop or two IMMEDIATELY after tucking in my daughter. It's the one time during the day I don't have to share my food and it's glorious. Debate here, is that ice cream is most definitely a necessity!

  2. We are going to feel so rich in February! Target might feel the hit, though.

  3. I think this all sounds entirely reasonable. I'm interested in trying that app, Minted, to see whether tracking every little purchase shames me into not purchasing EVERYTHING I want. But, problem is, I want things for Piper and for Grace. ha. It's not even things for me anymore! ha!

  4. Good for you. We really need to do the same. But I'll have to pick a different month so Target doesn't go under completely ;) Is it sad that I always re-stock on my "ice-cream" (Almond Dream) at least two pints at a time long before I finish the one at home because I want our grocery store to keep stocking it? I like to tell myself I'm doing them a favor...

  5. Glad you were thinking ahead with that ice cream. Think even more ahead and move to Chicago and I will personally supply for your ice cream needs. You are breastfeeding after all. ;)

    And $5 for Finn to play is totally necessary, IMO. Kids need this. It's our job as parents to provide stimulating activities for them.

  6. I love a Target find as much as the next person, but I have to say, I've been really careful since our IVF cycle in the fall (we had to pay for a good chunk of it out of pocket), and overall it's been a good thing. I really haven't bought anything for myself or anything extra at all (beyond reasonable Christmas presents), and there's been something really freeing about it. When I get emails from stores or daily boutique sites, I don't feel obligated to look at them. It's kind of nice. I hope you find the same with your fast!