Are you crazy?  Why are you doing this?

No, I'm not crazy, but there a few reasons.  Have you ever gotten a paycheck, and about a week later wondered where all your money went?  I do this almost every pay period.  I make good money and I can't figure out where it all goes.  This will help me track my spending, as well as get rid of my demon spending habits.

So why don't you just create a budget?

I've tried budgeting hundreds of times... OK, well maybe not hundreds, but a lot of times and it just doesn't work for me.  I've created really awesome, idiot proof budgets, on paper, on Excel and online.  My mom has created them for me, I just don't use them.  I'm horrible about keeping receipts let alone inputting them into a spreadsheet.  With me, everything has to be a big production, all or nothing, go big or go home.  If I didn't do this the hard way, I wouldn't learn.

Is this a punishment for your debt?

Not at all, in fact I don't actually have any consumer debt, just student loans.  But I don't even have to start paying on those until December of 2012.  I'm just trying it, I've tried everything else, why not this?  At the very least I'll learn something, but I'm hoping, after this year, that I will have enough to either pay my loans or put a down payment on a house... Yes Suze Orman, I know which one I should do first...

Can you really do this for an entire year?

I hope so!  I think it will be really hard, and take a lot of discipline, which I don't have much of.  I once grounded myself from Target for two years and I did it.  I didn't even miss it.  I also recently grounded myself from buying make up for six months and I did that too.  This challenge is a lot more extreme, but I think I can do it..

What about movies?

I love movies!  I don't drink or party and so I have to get my entertainment somewhere right?  For me, it's the movies.  But I didn't put movies in my necessities so unless someone else is paying, if there's one I really want to see, I'll have to wait until it comes out on TV.

What about eating out?  You're really not going to eat out for an entire year?

This one is gonna be tough.  I already don't eat fast food, I haven't for almost five years, that stuff is toxic, but BF and I like to eat out.  He's a chef and we're both foodies, so we go out to eat at least once a week.  This is one of those things I may have to make a small allowance for... We'll see.  However, if my family is going out to eat, I'll either have to pass, or hope someone else is paying.  I hate being a mooch, but I fear I'm going to be a big one after this!

What about gifts?

I touched on this briefly in my description of this challenge.  Nope, sorry, no gifts.  I normally go all out for gifts.  For birthdays I spend approximately $100/person and Christmas can range anywhere from $250- $300.  It's a bit much, but I typically budget all year for this.  This year, my friends an family are going to have to be content with a home made gift.

What about trips?

I won't be planning any road trips or vacations, but if something important comes up like a wedding or birth, then I'll have to make arrangements for that.

No make-up?  You?!

Yep, no make up.  My collection is big enough to supply about one hundred young ladies through their lifetime.  I don't need anymore makeup, I'll be just fine!

What if you're at the grocery store, and you're starving, or just want a treat because you haven't had one in a long time?

Rule #1 of grocery shopping, never go hungry.  As for treats, on the rare occasion that I want one, maybe I'll swing up to my grandma's house.  She always has candy and goodies up there.

When you're done with the fast, are you going to buy something big to celebrate?

Uhh, no.  That's the point of the whole fast, to not spend.  If I go right back to frivolous spending when it's over, I didn't learn very much did I?

You're not going to have a very fun year are you?

I keep thinking this myself and then have to remember that there is a lot to do that doesn't require spending money.  Just last weekend I went to a free concert in the park, it was the best time I've had almost all year!  Remember how much fun childhood was?  Do you see a bunch of five and six year olds walking around with wads of cash in their wallets?  I didn't think so.  I'll just have to use my imagination.

Will you post when/if you mess up?

You bet!  I'm not keeping this blog to brag or try to impress anyone.  I think I'm bound to mess up, this is a whole lifestyle change, and I'll learn from my mistakes.

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