Senior Editor Tanisha A. Sykes takes you on a 21-day journey to becoming debt-free, as prescribed by author Michelle Singletary.

Day 4:

“Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped.” –Calvin Coolidge

This is going to be my breakthrough year! As I wade through the financial fast, which on some days have been easy, while others feel like flat out deprivation, I think about my lofty goals to pay off $7,229 in debt this year and tackle a $15,000 renovation. Can it be done? Who knows! But what I know for sure (very Oprah of me) is that I’m committed to making this life one that is full of things that make me happy. That said, I need to tighten up on the weekends. Even though my family ate out once at Blimpie’s for $27.55, I felt like “Here I go again, cheating.” Then I read this quote from Michelle Singletary’s book, The 21-Day Financial Fast: “People often want God to fulfill his promise of prosperity, but they don’t want to change. They don’t want to make the hard choices, which might mean giving up cable TV or their cell phone or eating out, or getting a roommate if the mortgage or rent is to much for them to bear alone.” I thought, wow, that’s me. I know now that my excuses about being in debt are tired, and I’m ready to face it, fix it and move forward. It’s time to give the bills another once over–again.