Yule Thank Me

its-time-for-the-spending-fast

The Spending Fast. It rolls on through mid-December. If you’ve been following me for the past few weeks you’ve no doubt seen my anti-shopping propaganda go up in blazing yellow glory every weekend. I have strong feelings. They show. Due to the financial component I suppose the Spending Fast falls under the category of Occupational Wellness. The Fast is all about eliminating bills. Most of us are working to pay the bills, right?

Let me go ahead and cut to the chase on the Spending Fast. I love it. I freakin’ LOVE it. I know that sounds crazy. I’m running out of things I won’t be replacing and everything is still going to be okay. I’m burning down my last candles. My hair is touching my shoulders. There are lots of reasons this should feel like a burden but it doesn’t feel that way at all. Watching the unspent funds go to double and even triple down on debt payments inspires and energizes me. Building this momentum from month to month compels me to stick with it. Why did I wait so long to do this?

Once I got the hang of it the Fast completely lost the overtones of doing without and instead became empowering to the household. Every few days it seems we discover some new way to cut spending, even essential spending. Like baking our own bread. Seriously, I don’t know why we didn’t do this before. We bake a loaf of bread every week now. No preservatives, no chemicals, and as you can imagine—YUM.

I found half a dozen yoga channels on the Roku for more free yoga. Never even knew they were there.

I started trimming The Chef’s hair at home with clippers so he can go longer between barbershop haircuts.

I rigged up a collapsible clothesline in my carport to save wear and tear on my ancient dryer. Heavy items like quilts and blankets get hung out in the fresh air now instead of wearing out the old Kenmore.

Three good cardigan sweaters; one white, one black, one grey to toss over warm-season clothes and poof! I’ve stretched my closet a little further. No more summer clothes vs. winter clothes. Dresses and skirts too; I can layer fitted yoga pants under them instead of tights. Add last year’s boots and I’m even warmer than before.

I cashed out my credit card rewards in the form a grocery store gift card to defray the cost of a Thanksgiving feast.

Since I’m still an Amazon Prime member I get a free book to download every month. Free books, y’all. Free books. I also get free music. Since I’m running on the treadmill more this winter than ever before, that blessed free music is keeping me sane and well.

So yeah, the Spending Fast rocks. And I’m rockin’ it. We are rockin’ it. But the family wants to celebrate Yule. The Chef thinks we should give each other one gift. ONE GIFT. We’d already agreed that we would skip Yule/Christmas this year unless he landed a new job before the holiday. He hasn’t, so we’ve been firmly and cheerfully dedicated to opting out of holiday gifts this year. But one gift feels important to him and it’s his holiday too, so I agreed. We would do ONE modestly priced gift for each other and each of his children.

Guess what happened next?

The Chef found a part-time position. It starts right after Christmas. It’s a small deal but the timing feels like a big deal. We aren’t breaking out the champagne yet but we are grateful and hopeful and as I mentioned above, cheerful. It’s a small-time gig but it will bring in enough to keep us from bleeding our savings while he looks for something better. As for the holiday gifts, I said No to my typical tendency toward extravagance and got it done for around $75, including edible treats to send to Florida and Georgia (I’m an aunt many times over).

Since we’re doing gifts I figured I would have to come up with a tree as well. No problem. I pulled the naked pre-lit birch tree out of my yoga room and hung ornaments upon it—there you go, recycled Christmas tree. I used recycled/repurposed boxes and paper to wrap gifts and cut up last year’s Christmas cards to make gift tags. Bingo bongo, we’ve got Yuletide savings out the wazoo here at the Jesus Crack House. I didn’t have to buy a thing.

My friends, if you are unhappy with your debt, please consider this. I cannot recommend it enough. I do not feel deprived. I feel inspired. The essentials still get covered; there’s no worrying about the Have To bills. You can have your Fast and your Christmas too. If I can do this, you can do this. Think about it. My husband is unemployed. We have a kid in college. We have a mortgage and a car loan and all that jazz too. If we can do this, you can do this. We shouldn’t be working to pay the bills. We should be working to change the world. Working to fuel our passions. Working to live in a richer and fuller state of wellness, should we not?

The New Year is coming. For some this seems like the perfect time to start something new. For me, right now is the perfect time but between now and the passing of this exorbitantly expensive season, give it some consideration. AndThenWeSaved.com got me motivated to start. And no, I get no kickbacks or incentives for the recommendation. Like all of the links I share, I’m just a believer sharing the love.

— Deb Butters

(debt buster)

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