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

Day 5:

“This fast ain’t for the meek.”

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not writing about the fast in real time. Between the holiday and the long weekend, I’ve fallen behind on my posts. But my mind is still good, so I’m going to keep posting. Anywho, Day 5 of this fast was an interesting one and a true test of my commitment to the fast. I had an afternoon doctor’s appointment, which took about two hours longer than it should have. It was in my town, but on the other side, and you know it’s cold as spit (my mom’s crazy saying) outside, so how was I going to get home? My hubby had to take our daughter to gymnastics after work, so he came to get to scoop me up. Of course, that’s when the doctor ordered more tests (yes, I’m fine, in case you are wondering), leaving me to utter: “Just leave,” to my husband. It’s too far and too dark to walk from one side of my town to the other, so now what? My first thought: ‘Call the cab company?’ Oh no, that’s miscellaneous spending. Was I really willing to wait an hour and a half for my husband when I had already felt like crap that particular day? I was willing because of the fast and that’s what I did. Wait. But not before I trotted down to the diner for a turkey sandwich and soup. 20 bucks. I know what your thinking: This chile just can’t not spend. But I can and I do. I would normally spend 40 on some other silly, but appetizing, fillers that my body didn’t need. Why did I do it? Because I was hungry and feeling less than 100%. I also realized that I have to stop making excuses to eat out even under what felt like a dire circumstance. But looking at it another way, I am making different and better decisions now and I’m proud of myself.  

Five days in, I’ve officially stopped:

*Taking cabs (Even when it’s 6 degrees, I take the subway)

*Buying Starbucks hot chocolate (Who needs it anyway?)

*Buying the newspaper (Read: Online) 

*Eating at delis (I make better sandwiches at home)

*Going to ATM’s (My bank is literally a block away; Just being lazy)

*Paying bills separately from my husband, the official bill payer in our home (Money talks are now our best friends.)

*Misplacing things that would cause me to buy more on a whim (i.e. Scrunches, tights, bobby pins)

…And I’ve officially started:

*Clocking every penny (I better or my behind will be in a perpetual state of wanton.)

*Looking for additional streams of income (Always did this; but 2014 is THE year!)

*Bringing my lunch to work every single day (Yeah!)

*Organizing our bill paying system (A necessary way of life. Oh lawd, I’m a paper hoarder, but I have one box and file bills every week. Life is looking up here.)

*Sticking to our debt reduction plan (Writing it out was a Godsend. Will share in the next post.)

*Paying attention to what I do well and what I need to do better (This will help me get to the end of the fast with flying colors.)