Going on a spending diet will open your eyes, says Michelle Singletary, author of The 21 Day Financial Fast: Your Path to Financial Peace and Freedom (Zondervan, $15.99. “It makes you see how much unconscious spending we do.”

During the fast, Singletary, who writes “The Color of Money” column in the Washington Post, is trying to help Fierce readers and the rest of the country do a better job of watching their wallets and curtailing unnecessary purchases, whether they’re rich, poor or in between.

Here’s a 21-day countdown of inspiration, instigation, insight and other information from Singletary and participants to take you through the three weeks toward being financially fierce! Share your tips and experiences, too!


Q: Any tips for managing social dinners/drinks on #financialfast? – @staceyfalardeau

Michelle: On the 21 day #financialfast you can’t go out to dinner. So find another way to socialize for free.

@pgogoi suggested: my advice is eating your way through a #financialfast deliciously by cooking at home. @epicurious for recipes

Q: What are some ways to live rich (while being frugal)? – @mikedelgado

Michelle: How do you live rich? Look around and see how much you have. Then stop spending to get more.



Inspiration of the day:

Going out naked! No plastic & no checkbook. No coupons for temptation. @SingletaryM pray for a Sista this am – @Alimarcia


ready for day 2, not so good yesterday, but I will do better today. If at first you don’t succeed – @gowilli1718

Michelle: Right. Even if you fall off the fast get right back on. It’s a journey and you will have bumps!

Question of the day:

Q: During the fast, is it ‘cheating if I use plastic (giftcards)? – @tricee71

Michelle: Yes it’s cheating if you shop with the gift cards during the 21 days. No shopping even with a gift card!

Big change of the day: Packed lunch

At dinnertime I’ll be across town, kid in tow, between appointments. Planning now to take BLTs for a parking lot picnic. #financialfast – @RotterWrites


Inspiration of the day: Why do you want to prosper?

There are those who’ve helped me and I never said a word about my need. I want to be able to do that for others more. – @TairTutorTime 

I have a long list but primarily I want my kids to have a better understanding of money – @natural_beauT

I want to be able to leave a inheritance for my children’s children, help single mothers with kids and seniors & enjoy myself. – @GODZGD2ME

I want to prosper to show my kids a different way to live! Financially free (as much as possible)… – @tragirl79

Question of the day

Q: can I still make contributions to charity or my Alumni organization during #financialfast? – @dijon_rolle

Michelle: Good question. Yes. Still give, especially if you already committed or planned to do so. 

Successes of the day

B/c I am not buying lunch & coffee, I deposited +$20 cash into my account during my lunch break yesterday. – @empiresesquire

There’s something so satisfying about something as simple as pulling one of three already prepared lunches from the fridge – @debtblag

3rd day of the fast. deleting all emails that are trying to sell me something as soon as I get them–Groupon, nomorerack, etc – @jmoogie68


What’s working so far

A simple tip is working for many people joining us on Michelle Singletary’s financial fast — buying groceries. Keep a journal to track how much you save on takeout meals and deliveries, restaurant tabs, lunch at eateries near your job and those vending-machine runs.

Surprise of the day: freezing credit cards!

Questions of  the day

Q: You ever sacrificed paying bills on time (credit score risk) to Tithe? – @BPRES2

Michelle: I have never sacrificed paying a bill to tithe or give. I work my budget so that I can honor my debts and give.

Q: I’m just curious to know, why did you choose 21 days for the financial fast? – @Knockknockdino

Michelle: The 21 day #financialfast is modeled after the 21-day Daniel fast, which many ministries in my church do every year.

Inspiration of the day

I think I’ve managed to spend $5.47 this week; being limited to cash on hand does help you to make wise purchases. – @Berkgirl_10

Forgot my lunch – coworkers fed me ’cause they know I’m doing #FinancialFast Yeah! – @Wanda_Lucas


Pledge of the day

“Today, I’ll think about something in my life that I did or purchased that I now realize was giving in to a sense of entitlement.”




 Realization of the day

Just realized that I plan/execute for vacations, parties, social life better than my Life and finances. sad – @crtconsu


@naturaldesi: A budget on a sunday? Who does that?

@SingletaryM: @naturaldesi If you are lover of budgeting you don’t rest on Sunday 🙂 #financialfast

Inspiration of the day

#financialfast day 7. Bought needed food at @AldiUSA Coloring my own hair. Went to laundromat instead of sending it out. Found $13 in pants. – @allthingsstupid

Partying in the #financialfast = Getting to the club before 10 for free admission. Positive side effect: Getting seats. My feet are pleased. – @DioniLWise

Plan errands so I don’t drive in circles wasting gas. Combine errands & choose 1 day 2 do several at once. – @SeverineTaxGuru



Ever since our first babysitting jobs, we’ve been advised to pay ourselves first. Just think how large our portfolios would be if we had listened. You still have time to make a difference. Here’s a pledge: “I will commit today to set aside a percentage of every paycheck for my savings.”

Inspiration of the day

Yesterday I ate wrong, brought junk food ugggg but today is a fresh start! #FinancialFast #onlycarrycash – @Alimarcia