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

Emmy Announcements Were Actually Revelations

There is no clearer evidence that I don’t watch as much TV as I used to than watching the Emmy Award nominations and not seeing my people.

Oh, I recognized the show titles from media coverage, hype or actors I love but have abandoned because I was doing other things – or they were on cable channels that don’t come with the basic package.

Take the drama nominees:

Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones on HBO, Homeland on Showtime, Breaking Bad and Mad Men on AMC and Downton Abbey on PBS.

I’ve never seen five of those six shows – and I missed the entire last season of “Mad Men,” a show I like but couldn’t watch on Sunday nights. I liked Don Draper the way I liked Archie Bunker. He was proof of what we knew and needed other people to know we weren’t lying about.

Where were “Justified (FX),” “The Good Wife (CBS),” “Blue Bloods” (CBS), “House (Fox) and “Smash” (NBC)?

And among the comedies, I can recite the dialogue from two nominees – The Big Bang Theory (CBS) and Modern Family (ABC). But I haven’t seen an episode of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in years. ¬†Larry David is Garry Shandling who was every other constipated unmensch who complained All. The. Time.

But I’ve never seen “Girls” or “Veep” on HBO – and the only time I laughed at “30 Rock” was at Alec Baldwin’s highly inappropriate impersonation of Tracy Morgan’s mother. I was so embarrassed I never watched again.

But just when I thought that no one in the Academy was watching what I was watching, my people showed up: Jim Parsons for Actor from “Big Bang;”

Jon Cryer for Actor from “Two and a Half Men,” not because I watch the show any more but because he deserves it just because;

Mayim Bialik for Supporting Actress from “Big Bang;”

Kathryn Joosten for Supporting Actress from “Desperate Housewives;” Continue Reading