“Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” What exactly does that mean? When the Israelites heard that command at Mt. Sinai, it was to rest and not do any work the 7th day of the week. This means not making money, spending money, or doing anything that causes somebody else to work. In the 21st-century, is the money sabbath concept still relevant?
Taking a Sabbatical…
No, I'm not taking a sabbatical. I sorta kinda did that with an adult gap year already. The term sabbath really isn't used in our everyday vernacular, but, we are familiar with the word sabbatical which is when somebody takes an extended absence from work or a commitment.
In financial terms, I refer to a sabbatical as a break from work or retirement. With this article, I'm focusing on a money sabbath that lasts for 24 hours.
Taking a Money Sabbath Challenge
You are probably thinking it's impossible to go an entire day without earning or spending a buck. After all, you work Monday through Friday, have soccer or baseball games to go to on Saturday, and go out for lunch or shopping on Sunday afternoon.
I'll admit, that my wife & I haven't been intentional of trying to take just one day off from work or spending money as we once were. While it's often been difficult to do nothing for one day except rest, I think it's even harder today when you can literally buy anything with the tap of a finger on your phone, your boss expects an instant answer to an e-mail he sent you on your day off because it's “urgent,” or do all your shopping on one day because you are too busy the other 6 days of the week.
How To Take a Money Sabbath
So how do you successfully pull off a money sabbath?
Seriously, it takes some preparing. Just as the Israelites had to do a little extra work on Sabbath Eve by cooking their meals (no open fire cooking permitted) to have their home prepared, you need to do the same for your money sabbath. Just like you frantically scurry to get everything done before going on vacation.
For us, we try to take Sundays off. That means no work e-mails, visiting other blogs, preparing lesson plans for the upcoming week, online shopping, etc. Sometimes we succeed, but, most weeks we don't even though it still is a relaxing day.
So the Money Sabbath isn't a rote & begrudging routine, make all your actions intentional. Just like when you want to spend an evening alone with your wife, you will make sure that your company phone is silenced and the kids have a babysitter. For 2 or 3 hours, you feel relaxed & young again, right?
Aim For One Money Sabbath Each Month
Depending on the week, I have said we don't take time like we probably should except during vacations.
To start off with, aim for one day a month where you don't do anything work-related or buy anything. Spend the time with your family, reading a book, or even doing some DIY around the house.
I might be a little liberal with the allowances, but, we all “get away from it all differently.” Find a day when you can just stay home (going to the park or church are exceptions).
What Not To Do On a Money Sabbath
If you are digging one day of nothing money-related, here's some ways to make sure you follow-thru on the money sabbath.
Don't Go Out to Eat
It might be your tradition to eat lunch after church or bring a rotissierie chicken home. Skip it and make something from scratch at the house. Homemade food costs pennies less than what a similar dish costs when going out to eat.
Tip: Read more on how to eat healthy & cheap to save even more money!
Don't Shop Online or In-Person
My wife & I usually kill time by surfing the web looking for good Craigslist deals or online sales for items on our wish list. This past weekend, I made our periodic order from Boxed.
In our consumer-driven world, it's no wonder so many retail establishments & restaurants are open 24/7 (including major holidays) and consumer debt is on the rise once again.
Don't Check E-Mails
Only use your phone for phone calls & texting, no e-mail apps. You know, what you did in 2007 when you thought unlimited texting was as good as a cell phone plan could ever be.
Why not check personal or company e-mails?
It causes you to work & if you personal inbox is like mine, you get at least 5 e-mails each day from people & companies asking you to buy something.
The Benefits of Taking a Money Sabbath
It is possible to take a money sabbath, even though it seems overwhelming to us. How many of your relatives or friends have talked about taking a sabbath?
More Energy/Focus for the Other 6 Days
As I've mentioned before, I don't take one during the busy times of my work (it's sometimes feast or famine), but, I will say I do feel more energized when I start again on Monday when I take Sunday (or Saturday) off.
More Disposable Income
By taking a day to not spend money you can increase your disposable income. Especially if you dine out or go shopping just because you are already in town for church and not in a hurry to get back home. If you have savings goals you are trying to accomplish, a sabbath is an easy way to stay on track.
It's Okay To Rest
We don't have to constantly be making money, spending it, or checking our account balances. When we love money too much, it tends to make every aspect of life more complicated. Not just when the bills are due.
Will You Do The Challenge?
So, are you up for the Money Sabbath?
Will you commit to at least one no spend/ no work day per month?
You need to be intentional about getting your work & personal to-do lists completed ahead of time, but, it's possible. And, it might be more healthy & productive than you imagined!
Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.