Spending Fast Recap: What it was like to do a year long fast!

It feels so funny to be writing about this now, but as new readers have found my blog I get lots of questions about it! Also I wasn't super great about documenting things along the way because Mack was teething that whole year, we moved, and Mike worked out of town at the time. So it is fun to reminisce and reflect on this significant season of life.

I am honestly so grateful that I did this fast. I had no clue but it was preparing me to live a different way, that now, two years later, I am called to live every day. I no longer have access to the stores and restaurants I did when we lived in the suburbs. I think I would've struggled with a lot more frustration and bitterness adjusting to more rural life but because of the fast, it helped me give up "hobby shopping" and learn to go without things I thought I needed. (Also, thank God for Amazon Prime!)

I started my fast on a whim, in January 2014. I decided to do it as we were opening Christmas gifts and announced it to my family, who all laughed at me. A few days later, friend looked at me and said, "Well, how exactly are you going to accomplish this?" To which I just shrugged and replied, "Not sure! Just one day at a time."

The first few months were the hardest as I learned to reorient my thoughts and time. For instance, I didn't realize that while my kids napped, I often browsed social media, Pinterest, and online shopped. All three of these things fed my desire to accumulate more stuff. So pulling them out of my life was kind of like getting gum out of carpet.

Also I began to experience an edgy anxiety when I had a break from being at home with the kids and was given some alone time. I would head out of the house and instantly felt frustrated-- how was I supposed to feel refreshed and enjoy my "break" without getting a latte, wandering through stores, and treating myself to a little something to carry me through to my next "break?" I began using those hours to sit at a book shop in town, bringing my own hot tea or coffee in a travel mug (which had become my new sidekick in life) and getting my refreshment from books or being more in tuned with others. I also regenerated my love for being outside by taking more walks and driving to a park for an hour instead of the mall.

What was the hardest part? One of my biggest personal struggles during the spending fast sounds so silly now-- but it was joining a fancy gym! A Lifetime fitness went up in Des Moines and we joined as a family. The first few weeks I felt ridiculous-- during my last pregnancy, I had gotten frustrated by all my ill-fitting workout clothes and donated them all aside from a few things I wore to do household projects. Well once we joined the gym, I found myself wearing old sorority t-shirts and Soffe shorts with paint splattered across the bum while all the other moms looked super hot in their Lululemon spandex and neon colored Nikes! My sneakers were the same ones I had been wearing to mow the lawn. It was humbling and a great reminder that we don't need to buy the right items to fit in. I never really "fit in" at that gym but I sure did enjoy myself-- using the nursery so I could layout alone by the pool all summer long!

Did I ever cheat? Yes! One time. Mike and I were attending a wedding and I had that same old feeling of "gosh, I have nothing to wear!" So without skipping a beat, I got in the car, drove around the corner to T.J. Maxx, and bought myself the first cute black dress I saw. I wore it that night and did not feel guilty for one second. But the next day I really did start to feel like a cheater so I called my friend Katie to confess- she is so great she offered to buy the dress from me so it wasn't really breaking my fast!

Aside from that, I really did stick to my plan. One time I even drove backwards out of a Caribou drive-thru lane after remembering I was on a no-latte fast! It definitely helped to have accountability by announcing it on FB and keeping a little blog.

Did we save money? Not the first few months because I began buying more kids clothes and spending more on groceries to fill that void I felt. I also started buying more extravagant gifts for people getting married or having babies. When I realized what I was doing, I reeled that in and went back to the old budget. We did end up saving quite a bit of money by me doing the fast. Also during the fall, I started a direct sales business where I made a decent income and instead of blowing that on miscellaneous things we didn't need, I saved it to buy all our Christmas gifts that year as well as pay our mortgage!

After about 6 months, being on a spending fast felt like a way of life. I stopped talking about it to my girlfriends all the time and would often forget it had once seemed like the biggest deal. I made the most of holidays and my birthday by asking for things I had felt like I "needed" like jeans that fit and new tennis shoes. By the time Christmas rolled around and the year was over I felt like I could go even longer.  If you are considering doing one I highly encourage it and would love to answer any other questions you have!

1 comment:

  1. I found your blog quite interesting and the concern in the blog is really impressive

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