"Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish."
The Fast of Esther commemorates the victory of the Jewish community against their enemies. Esther, the queen of Ancient Persia ruled by the King Ahasuerus had requested Mordechai, the Jewish leader to fast for three continuous days along with the then Jewish communities to earn favor from God. This is to save themselves from getting prosecuted based on the evil decree proposed by Haman, the Jew hater and the Prime Minister of King Ahasuerus.
The same principle can be used to overcome any modern day challenge and what better one to discuss than your own financial woes that can be resolved by leading a frugal life. Yes, this is no doubt a challenge for someone like you who splurges recklessly on end-of-the-season sales, eats out at expensive restaurants frequently and spend mindless hours at Starbucks sipping away $4 coffees everyday.
The central idea of using the Fast of Esther is to show you how a determined human spirit can pull down a mammoth adversary like that of Haman. So, why cant you, as a human being overcome your own impulsive spending desires and live a Zen-like life?
Speaking about frugal living, there are certain aspects that you must be aware of - ones that command due diligence and consistent performance, just like those 22,000 Jewish children surrounding Mordechai owing unadulterated allegiance to the noble cause of saving their community from Haman's atrocities.
"We shall remain here with our dear Mordechai until we are torn from him by force," the children declared.
To start with, you'll have to inform your kids about day-to-day challenges they might face in future, particularly the financial ones, and how they can overcome those with a smile on their face. Actually, when your kids and relatives are on your side, then they'll provide you with the much needed moral support to live up to the challenge of living a frugal life.
Frugal living lessons for your children
Here are four basic lessons that your children must learn so as to embrace a life of true frugality:
1. Teach them about balancing priorities - Basically, you shouldn't ever buy your kids costly shoes or high-end branded clothes. This may run through your mind, but it doesn't have to be that way. As a parent, you can very well strike a balance between a lifestyle where there's a lot of importance given to materialistic pleasures and a frugal life that would lead them to the ultimate financial success.
2. Teach them about money - Even at this Internet Age, speaking about money with the children is considered a taboo. Moreover, a lot of people find it easier to discuss about their work-life, relationships and their health-related concerns, but not in case of money or other financial issues. This is one of the bigger challenges that you'll have to overcome keeping your kids in the tow. That said, you may sit with your children and discuss how you plan to spend and not to spend your money. Have the heart to say âyesâ or ânoâ, but with proper reasons.
3. Teach them about savings - Make sure your children have a solid understanding of the importance of saving money, not just for the rainy days, but also for their retirement. In order to make them imbibe this essential life value, you can throw them a challenge to save at least 20 percent of whatever amount of money they get or earn. Picture this, when your kids have grown and they're out on their own with a firm financial foundation, then a thought may cross their mind that, âSurely, my Dad did know what he was discussing with me about when he spoke of all those frugal living stuffs. He has been a good guide. â
4. Teach them about entrepreneurship - Children will learn the true value of dollars when they are made to work for it. As a kid, they have a wide variety of jobs to do that would suit their age. However, their place of employment could either be their home or outside, depending upon their job preference.
These were some of the lessons that you'll have to teach your kids. Now, its time for you to act on those that you're in direct control of.
How will you eat, sleep and live frugal?
Here are some of the frugal living tips you may start using from this Fast of Esther week:
1. Eating out - The lunches you eat outside daily cost you a lot of extra dollars. However, carrying your own food at work or wherever you go can actually save you around $25 a week. That savings would translate into almost $1,300 a year, or over $50,000 in a span of 40-years of your work life.
2. Buying books and magazines - As per the recent data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, an average American household spends more or less $200 every year on books alone. A majority of such books could've been borrowed at no cost at all from some of the 17,000 public libraries spread out across the nation.
3. Consuming expensive gasoline - A lot of car experts opine that many consumers basically waste their hard-earned dollars by purchasing higher grade of gas than what the car-makers recommend. The fact is premium graded gasoline will cost you around 20-40 cents more per gallon than usual, unleaded ones. Hence, you can rake up your savings by almost $5 a week on filling your car's fuel tank with unleaded gasoline. That savings might add up to more than $250 a year, provided you fill up just once in a week.
4. Walking to work - If your place of employment is nearby, then you may think of walking to and from there on a daily basis. This way you're not only giving your body a splendid amount of free exercise, but you're actually saving quite a lot on conveyance too. According to the AAA, a normal commute to work in the country by car costs more or less $4,000 a year. Consider it this way, what if you could invest that sum at the rate of 5 percent profit, then after the end of a 40-year career you'll probably have a retirement saving of not less than $535,519.01, along with a sturdy pair of legs.
This week of the Fast of Esther, you really need to think of fasting like Esther. Though it does not have to be a literal fast per se, yet if you were looking for an opportunity, a source of inspiration to go beyond your usual self and traditional mindset, then this is it. Let this Fast of Esther, bring you the strenght to achieve your frugal living goals.