Her award-winning Washington Post column, "The Color of Money" syndicated to 100 newspapers across the country
Regular contributor to NPR'S Day to Day
MSNBC, CNBC, Nightline, The Oprah Winfrey Show and other popular shows
Graduate of the University of Maryland with a Master degree in Business and Management from Johns Hopkins University
Married with 3 children
Michelle Singletary: The Financial Fast
THE FINANCIAL FAST
As a part of a volunteer program at her church, money expert Michelle Singletary introduced the concept of a financial fast to the members of the congregation. She was inspired with the idea of this fast by looking at the prophet Daniel’s fast in Daniel 3:10. For three weeks, Daniel “ate no choice food; no meat nor wine.” She thought that if Daniel could apply this fast to food, these principles could apply to finances as well.
Daniel fasted as a way to get closer to God. The principle of the financial fast is also for the purpose of denying the flesh so you could get closer to God. Fasting is a way to separate yourself from worldly pleasures. During this time of separation and away from worldly temptation, you can begin to break the bonds that keep you broke.
This financial fast is for 21 days. You will not shop or use your credit or debit cards. This is to separate you from credit cards and debit cards too, which are the “kissing cousins” to credit cards. Debit cards are not the same as cash. Studies show that people spend more using both of these than they would with cash.
You can only buy necessities (food, medicine, bare essentials). You will refrain from any type of shopping. This includes window shopping, on-line shopping, or online browsing of any kind because these lead to the temptation to spend money on non-essential items. No restaurant meals of any kind. No buying meals at work or getting coffee. No spending on entertainment, such as movies. Also, no buying gifts or gift cards during the fast. You can have fun on the fast, you just can’t buy or spend on anything that isn’t a necessity.
For more information on the "21 Days to Financial Freedom", go to The Washington Post.
FIVE FINANCIAL FASTING TIPS
Here are five tips Michelle has for the financial fast:
1) Get a journal. Every day, write down your feelings, fears, frustrations, etc. about your finances. (Also record your progress of daily assignments found in The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom)
2) Review your progress. Review your journal notes to see what growth or insights you’ve had.
3) Get a highlighter. Highlight the specific Bible verses mentioned in each chapter of Michelle’s book.
4) Get an accountability partner. Michelle highly recommends being accountable to a person or group of people during the fast.
5) Start each day with the “P-A-Y” regimen. The “P-A-Y” regimen is to: Pray before you read each chapter of her book; Act on the pledge listed at the start of each chapter; and Yield to God’s will, not your own.
OTHER FINANCIAL TIPS
Fornication is couples engaging in sexual activity without being married. Financial fornication is when couples mingle their money before they are married. Her advice for financial fornication is to flee from it. This financial entanglement can lead to some of the same problems as sex outside of marriage.
Combining money binds people in a way that makes it hard for them to separate if the relationship is not all that God intends it to be. When two people are dating, they should share their values and views on money, and not their bank accounts. If you’re not engaged and preparing for marriage, you should not be sharing intimate details about your money. Michelle says, “Don’t play banker to your baby.” Don’t loan your boyfriend or girlfriend money. Don’t borrow money to help out your sweetie. Co-signing is something you shouldn’t do for anyone – parents, children, spouses, boyfriends/
girlfriends, friends, etc.
For married couples, money cannot be yours and mine – it has to be ours. You are working together to be good stewards of what God has given both of you. If you stay mindful of this, then selfishness can’t enter your marriage relationship. It is often said that money is the main cause of marital discord and even divorce, which is not accurate. What usually happens is emotional baggage gets stirred up when the subject of money is discussed - this is what usually starts the arguments. A way couples can avoid these arguments is by establishing house rules:
1) Agree that neither of you can make a purchase above a certain amount of money without first consulting each other.
2) Agree that there will be no financial secrets, bank accounts, earnings, etc. All assets should be disclosed.
3) Two “yeses” for any major financial decision – if one spouse disagrees, the other spouse can’t go ahead with it.
4) Join all your finances.
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