Use Lenten Season to become a good memory

1962651_10152085125563381_1856722289_nNo matter what church I’ve attended for worship – AME Zion, United Methodist, Baptist, United Church of Christ, we have always commemorated the Season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday and is a time of penance, reflection and fasting to prepare for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.

That resurrection is the door He left open for our redemption. It represents the moment that even the greatest nonbeliever understood who He was and whose He was.

But fasting doesn’t always mean from food. Many of the Christians fast rom something for 40 days, a sacrifice that helps them be faithful to the season and to count down to redemption.

I’ve given up something every year.  This year is no different.

Except that I’m sharing my time of sacrifice with a friend.

This year, my dear friend, Melia and I chose each other’s sacrifice. I shall not reveal hers, but she chose for me something that means I will have more time and money to devote to worthier causes than myself: No movies for 40 days and nights.

kinopoisk.ruThat’s right – no matinees, no $8 popcorns, no films.

That means I won’t see The 300: “Rise of an Empire” until after it’s been in theaters for weeks.  I predicted the success of “The 300,” a brilliant re-imagined account of the Battle of Thermopylae, when King Leonidas led 300 Spartans  into battle against Xerses, a magically powerful Persian who led a 300,000 man army.  The film earned more than $450 million at the box office. Its sequel, while just as flawed and just as historically accurate, will be just as good, I think.

I also won’t see “Veronica Mars,” the film I’ve been waiting for for almost seven years. It’s based on a CW TV show that I LOVED, and I was thrilled by the Kickstarter campaign to fund its filming.

MV5BMTQ4MDc0Mjg4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODk3NjYyMTE@._V1_SX214_I am one of those people who sees movies on opening day, on Friday nights, before the social network has anointed or killed them. I go to premieres as often as I can to see movies before they’re tainted by opinions I don’t trust. Continue Reading

End of financial fast is beginning
of different economic living

So what happened to the end of the 21-day financial fast, you wonder?

I completed it. But more important, I paid attention to the things I learned on it.

I paid off my car (and am about to pay off one of the only two credit cards I have).

I do not buy anything major now without giving myself a week to think about it.

And I’m cleaning up my house and life, getting rid of all the crap and not replacing it with things I don’t need.

Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 12.09.35 PMWhen I began Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary’s 21-Day Financial Fast, I figured I’d save a few bucks, learn a few things and go back to business as usual.

I saved a lot. I learned more about myself than my money. And things will never be the same.

Example? I went to have my annual teeth cleaning. I’m a big baby at the dentist’s office. The hygienist said “You want nitrous (the wonderful gas, nitrous oxide that makes you not care that she’s in your mouth)? Rather than immediately say “Yes!”, I asked “How much?”

It was $40. I said no.

What?!

I needed a new wallet. I went shopping in my closet. I found one with the tag still on, and I have had great compliments on the style and color. I don’t even remember buying it.

My next task is to clean the garage, so I can take the stuff I have in storage and put it in the garage. That stuff has been there since April 2012 because I didn’t have time to deal with it. When I realized that the money I’d spent holding onto it would have paid for a trip to Paris, I got motivated.

checkbookSo I want to thank Michelle and the fast. And she’ll be happy to know that, unlike some people who might not have wanted people to know what they were doing, I talked to everybody. The best encouragement I got was a gift from a dear friend, who knew that I would be experiencing several special occasions occurring during the fast, including my birthday. She gave me a checkbook whose checks were actually dollar bills.

“Snack on these and stick to your fast,” she told me. Continue Reading

Co-signing credit is giving your reputation
to someone else to use and lose

It’s not that I’m selfish, but Days 13 and 14 of the 21-Day Financial Fast were easy.

Chapter 13 in Michelle Singletary’s book that accompanies the fast explained the curse of credit. That curse taught me a harsh lesson more than a decade ago. That curse kicked my butt.

Suffice it to say, after my foray into unlimited twentysomething spending, I soon learned to treat credit cards like alcohol, and I didn’t want to become an alcoholic.

I cut up all my credit cards but one, (My company gave me a second for business expenses.), and I began paying off my bills.  That was a huge step for someone who got her first credit card when she was 19.

creditcardsChapter 14 was one I didn’t even have to read. It was called co-signing is crazy. As I said, it’s not that I’m selfish, but I wouldn’t co-sign something for anyone, not even my mother.

What I would do is find a way to get what she needed, whether it was a car or a house without attaching my name to someone else’s credit.

It is a standard I’ve always had, but one that became a life mantra that speaks to a larger issue: Do not give your reputation to someone else to use and lose! If they mess it up, you can’t get it back – not for a long time.

So these days, these chapters, were easy: Do not get a bunch of credit cards. They are not money, and you’re still broke. And don’t let someone else’s poor credit keep you from using your own.

Got it!

ROCHELLE RILEY is a writer and blogger whose posts here are about her personal adventures. You can read her columns at www.freep.com/rochelleriley, and she hopes you will support her Kickstarter campaign to record an acoustic gospel album here!