washingtonpost.com

  >  

Business

  >  

Personal Finance

21 Days to Financial Freedom

Power to Prosper

Michelle Singletary teaches you practical ways to financial freedom by putting you on a 21-day financial fast, where you are prohibited from using credit cards and cannot buy anything unless it is a basic need for survival. » Read an Excerpt

Resources

The book features several budget templates and journal pages to help you analyze your spending and savings.

Track your money

  • Guide: Budget templates
  • Weekly template | PDF
  • Biweekly template | PDF
  • Twice monthly | PDF
  • Monthly template | PDF
  • Net worth statement
  • Quit Claim Deed
  • Journal Activities

  • Daily Spending Journal
  • Daily Journal Summary
  • Multimedia
    Video

    Your take on the fast
    Sound off via YouTube on how you're making the program work.

    Video

    Television commercial
    Michelle explains how her new book will empower you.

    Weekly E-letter

    Where is all your money going? How can you save for the things you want? Plan for the next step in your life with practical advice from Michelle Singletary.

    Color of Money Book Club

    Want to know which personal finance books to read? Join the Color of Money Book Club.

    Video Series

    Color of Money Video

    After her web chat on July 22nd, Michelle will debut "Color of Money Video," a new multimedia series featuring more of her personal finance advice.

    Live Discussion

    Talk Personal Finance

    Singletary will host a live discussion on personal finance with Color of Money Book Club author Paula Span. Submit a question.

    » Read transcripts of previous chats

    In The Media

    » VIDEO: Michelle appears on "The 700 Club."

    » VIDEO: Michelle discusses the 21-day fast on Fox 5 News.

    » VIDEO: CNN interview with Michelle Singletary about "The Power to Prosper."

    » VIDEO: Michelle Singletary interviewed on ABC News Now.

    About The Author
    Michelle Singletary

    Singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column, "The Color of Money," which appears in The Post on Thursday and Sunday. Her award-winning column is also carried in more than 120 newspapers. In her spare time, Singletary is the director of a ministry she founded at her church, in which women and men volunteer to mentor others who are having financial challenges.

    About the Book

    In the "The Power to Prosper," Michelle Singletary has a financial challenge for you. For twenty-one days, you will put away your credit cards and buy only what you need for survival. With Michelle’s guidance, you’ll discover how to break your spending habit and your bondage to debt, make smart investments, and be prepared for any emergency.
    Buy the book at Amazon.com.

    Advertisement
    FAQ: You Ask, Michelle Answers

    Question: The fast was somewhat successful. I didn't stay on track. I did learn to make coffee before I left home and to take my lunch to work. I did not do any shopping week one. I brought the book but fell behind in my reading and just got off track. I going to start over in March. Do most people have to do this more that once to complete it as your book recommends? Should I start again? As I was reading, I kept thinking I should have read the book before I started. -Mary

    First, congratulations for getting through most of the fast. Don't be too hard on yourself for not doing the fast perfectly. It's hard to shut down unnecessary shopping and credit use for 21 days because, in this country, we have been so conditioned to shop and use plastic.

    As for your first question, yes, many people have to start and restart the fast again. This is a tough challenge and it goes against the consumerism we've come to love in the U.S. I do the fast at least once a year and I still mess up too!

    So yes, go ahead and give it another try. And no, you don't have to read the book first and then do the fast. The way to do it is to focus on reading just one chapter a day. Then try to do the daily tasks listed at the end of each chapter.

    Additionally, it might help you tremendously the second time around to get an accountability partner. Find someone to do the fast with you. There is power in numbers. If you have a partner, you can cheer each other on and call each other when you are tempted to go shopping or use your credit card. Most important, even if you get off track again, even following the fast a little will help you become a better money manager.

    © The Washington Post Company