Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fiscal Fasting

Amongst the upper classes, there's a term called Fiscal Fasting. The idea is to not spend any money at all for a set period of time as an exercise in self control. To the rest of us, it's known as running out of money before you run out of month. Since I only get paid once a month, I'm frequently, reluctantly "fasting".

I know I can survive on by salaryh but the true challenge is managing to live WELL on my salary. While living in Boston back in 2001-2003. I would get through the work week with $40 in my purse. I worked on Newbury Street, a very expensive part of town. Commuting was a cinch, a token for the T cost $1.00 each way. I brought lunch or food at the 7/11 outside the T stop. You could always get a hard boiled egg, banana, coffee, food bars, etc. pretty inexpensively. Lunch out was an occasional treat. Dunkin' Donuts was an occasional treat as well, and quite affordable.

Nowadays, getting by with next to no money most of the month is getting harder. Here in southern California my commuting costs are rising, along with gas prices . In the past I've always tried to figure out in advance exactly what I'll need to survive for the next month and bought it all the weekend after payday. The trouble with that plan is feeling flush for a few days and then broke and unprepared for emergencies the rest of the month.

My goal is to avoid fiscal fasting via better budgeting.