I am doing a spending freeze.
There. I put it out there. And now I have you all to keep me accountable.
What is a spending freeze?
And in case you are wondering precisely what a spending freeze is, here’s what I’m talking about: For me, a spending freeze involves freezing discretionary spending for a prescribed period. Personally speaking, I plan to abstain specifically from purchasing clothes, shoes, accessories — anything along those lines.
As for how long my spending freeze will be, I plan to do this from now until April 12 – which happens to be Easter. I thought about 30 days, a month, or more. And this timeline felt right. It’s 62 days in total. And it brings it back to a spiritual motivation for doing this. Plus, my birthday is April 15, so the spending freeze will expire just in case to celebrate my birthday. 😉
But the particulars of a spending freeze are up to the person doing it. You might want to try a shorter spending freeze or a longer one. You might want to go hardcore and cut out all spending, or you might want to concentrate on one category.
5 Reasons to Try a Spending Freeze
Allow me to confess… This challenge is going to be very hard on me. Spring is my favorite season, and spring fashion is my favorite fashion! Plus, I’m a blogger! As much as I try not to encourage excess consumerism, there is still a certain level of shopping that comes along with this job.
However, I feel like it’s the right thing for me to do right now. Here are some of the main reasons I am going on a shopping freeze.
1 – To get my budget back on track
Before I worry anyone, let me just say that we are doing fine particularly in the longterm. The balance sheet looks good; it’s the cash flow statement that could use a little work. I just know that I am not being as diligent with every dollar as I should be. I’m revisiting some basic budgeting practices that have worked well for me in the past.
2 – To become more aware of my spending habits
To go along with being more diligent, as I mentioned above, I’ve become lackadaisical with tracking the details of my spending habits. You know how it goes — you swipe, pay for a little something here, and then a little something there. And it all adds up!
I recently did an inventory of my spending habits, and I was shocked by how much I spent at Starbucks last month! And I couldn’t believe the number of recurring payments I had somehow accumulated. This subscription, that app, this service — next thing you know, you have hundreds of dollars automatically going out the door every month.
3 – To build those “delayed gratification” muscles
We are so used to getting what we want when we want it – especially in today’s culture! Can we even resist impulses? Sure we can. But we sure don’t exercise those “muscles” very often. So, I think this will be an excellent way to show myself what I am capable of in that regard.
4 – To appreciate what I already have
After my house flooded a year ago, I moved a bunch of stuff into storage – thinking at it would only be there for a few months. Well, here we are a year later, and I’m still living in an apartment for the foreseeable future. And I’m tired of paying hundreds of dollars a month for storage, so we have been slowly but surely cleaning out the storage unit.
I have found things I had completely forgotten about, particularly when it comes to clothes! Now, of course, some of those don’t fit – and I’m donating and selling things accordingly. But I also found some real gems.
So I am going to use this spending freeze to take inventory of what I have, shop my closet, and make things work! If I find a recurring gap in my wardrobe – i.e., something I think I need – I’ll make a note of it. When the freeze is over, if I still feel that to be a legitimate need, I can consider purchasing the item at that time.
5 – To focus on what’s truly important
Sometimes, the wisest action is to take control of our stuff – and stop letting our stuff control us. Sure – in theory, it sounds appealing to amass a lot of beautiful things. But with that comes the weight of taking care of all those things – storing them, washing them, caring for them. All of that responsibility can become a considerable burden rather than a blessing. “Less is more” is true in many instances.
And at this present time, my priorities are taking care of my little family, taking care of myself, and launching my new business. Anything outside of that can be essentially a distraction from these three priorities.
Plus, we need to be cognizant of how much we have. Truly, we have so much relative to so many in the world. What we deem as needs are most often just wants.
Bravo and huge props to you for challenging yourself in this way! I’ve always been a naturally frugal person, and since I don’t buy a lot of clothes, shoes and small stuff, it affords me the privilege of making more expensive purchases when I really, really want something nice and high quality. I also have a small house which means that when something comes in, something has to go out. It’s all about balance, right? You got this girl!
TOTALLY. Balance in everything. Moderation in everything.
Thank you, friend. I appreciate your comment.
That’s awesome to see your commitment to making a change that feels valuable! At the end of 2019, I definitely was less attentive to my budget and spending than I need to be (as a former non-budgeter…eep!); and I noticed it most in my eating habits. I didn’t feel like I ate out all that much, but then (similar to your Starbucks comment) I realized that a coffee here and a muffin there and the occasional lunch ordered in when I was “too busy” the night before to pack a lunch added up so quickly! So that has been a more conscious effort, to spend less on the unnecessary food and drinks, and I figure that’s probably a good health choice, too. Look forward to reading about your experience moving forward!
Thank you, Lee! Your use of the word “conscious” is spot on for me! It’s so easy to turn a blind eye to it. But knowledge is power. So I’m looking forward to resetting and becoming more conscious of my spending.
Yes to this, Carrie! And I’m going to join you on this spending freeze! You continue to inspire me, always.😊
Ah, I appreciate that so much, Erin!
Obviously, it is only temporary. And I’ll be making a list of “must-haves” when the freeze is over.
But my hunch is that a lot of the must-haves might not seem so enticing after two months!
I love this, Carrie! One of my 2020 goals was to not shop for an entire year. That’s nearly impractical, so maybe I’ll adhere to a 60-day trial period. That’s doable.
Would love to hear some budgeting tips if that’s a future post!
Thanks a million, Amy! Yes, feel free to take this “baby step” (relative to your lofty entire year goal) with me. 🙂
Love this! Since most of our budget is going towards our twins on the way, spending for myself has taken a backseat (as it should)…I started a policy when I got pregnant that if I saw something that I loved for myself, I would save a picture of it and wait about a month. If I still wanted it and it was within budget, then it would be worth it. Boy, has it cut down on returns for “impulse purchases”!
Oh I love that idea, Cayla! That’s a great idea – similar to what I intend to do. I’ll save a list of things, and then we will see what still seems so important two months later!
And best wishes with your pregnancy! So excited for you.
You will blossom more than you already do Carrie! You will gain so much more time for the three of you. Shopping our homes and closets creates new discoveries.
Thank you for the beautiful words of encouragement, Elizabeth!
Quality over quantity. Need vs. want. We are all so blessed.
Beautifully put so succinctly!
Thank you, Rosemary.