With a new year comes new goals, resolutions, and excitement for the days to come. How can we reinvent ourselves and make our lives better? Many people chose weight loss, financial, relationship, and exercise resolutions for the upcoming year. And most only last about six weeks. It’s time for a no spend challenge.
A no spend challenge or spending freeze is just that – a freeze on all unnecessary spending for a designated amount of time. Since it is your challenge, it is your rules. Decide on what you will not buy and be specific. Then pick a time frame. It could be a weekend, a week, a month, or a year! Find an accountability partner to help you when you are faced with temptation.
I have committed to going an entire year without buying any clothes, shoes or accessories! For the whole year, I am not buying any unnecessary items!
When you commit to doing a spending freeze for this long, you need to be healthy and firm in your convictions on why you want to attempt and succeed. What is “your why”?
Why do you want to do this? Are you trying to catch up on bills? Are you saving for a vacation? Do you want to pay off debt? Do you realize you just have too much stuff?
If you feel like your spending is out of control, I encourage you to consider a Financial Coach to guide you through this.
Our niece Cindy was here with her family for Christmas and was telling me she went through the entire year without buying herself ANY unnecessary clothes! She was proud to admit that she was successful. And that got me thinking.
WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!!!
I know I could do this. I know I have too much stuff and there isn’t anything that I need.
No Spend Month To Catch Up On Bills
A spending freeze when you are behind on bills might be a must. There shouldn’t be any shoe shopping when the electric bill isn’t getting paid!
It might be time to put all shopping on hold until all bills are entirely caught up. Make do with what you have and realize this might just be temporary.
Also, if you are finding the urge to shop is greater than you think it should be, you might want to seek outside help for addiction. Shopping addiction is a real thing.
Spending Fast To Save For A Vacation
Imagine how much extra money you would have if you did a spending freeze for an entire year!!
If you have the energy, look back through the previous year to investigate how much money you spent on clothes, shoes, and accessories. Then decided that you could take that same amount and put it aside for a fantastic vacation! That might be some great getaway! I love the idea of collecting all the money you would have spent and doing something substantial with it.
How To Spend Less To Pay Off Debt
Like the vacation concept from above, the money you pile up from your spending freeze could put a considerable dent in your debt. Let’s face it; many Americans have an average of 4 store credit cards in their wallet. This permits us to spend more at department stores that we usually might because we know we don’t have to pay for it right away. A shopping freeze will be a double win for these credit cards! Not only have you stopped adding to the balance, but you could take the money that you have stopped spending and pay off the cards! Then cut them up and close accounts!!
Spending Freeze And Too Much Stuff
I live in a small house by choice. I love my little house, and it has great potential. But because I live in a small house, storage is very limited. When the closets and cupboards are full, its time to get rid of things because there just isn’t any other place to stick stuff. By doing a shopping freeze, that limits the number of things I bring into my little house. It also makes me stop before I buy, second thinking my decision. I write about decluttering in another blog post if you are interested HERE.
Cleaning Out Stuff
My father passed away on March 1, 2017. His wife passed away the June before that. I am an only child which means it has been up to me to handle all the stuff that goes along with one’s dad passing away. Dad and Deb (my stepmom, his wife) led a pretty simple life.
They lived frugally with zero debt. No credit cards. No car payments. No mortgage. Their investments were not huge, but they had some investments.
They lived in a single-wide trailer purchased in 1984 after my Gampy passed away on land that was part of Deb’s family land, about 2 acres. Dad and Deb had a Tahoe, a camper, and a boat.
They loved their church family and came to visit us every Sunday after church and they were good people.
Deb passed from cancer and Dad passed from complications after a heart attack. I miss him every day.
Because I am an only child, it was my duty to clean out their house. There were 40 plus years worth of stuff in their home. Although the house wasn’t overloaded, it was still full of stuff.
Find Your Why
Because of the way my dad and stepmom lived their lives, I was blessed with a fantastic gift after the estate was closed. The check equaled the amount left on our mortgage…Almost down to the penny. So we paid off our mortgage.
I listen to Dave Ramsey often. I have read every book he has written, and I am working my way through all of his team’s books as well as any book he recommends.
A small fact about me: I have not always been good with money but boy I have gotten better. I have always been frugal but not necessarily good at paying the electric bill.
So, I started to listen to Dave quite a few years ago, and I made a Budget Binder. My BB is my BFF. Thanks to Dave, all of our money has a designated home. I know when things are due, so they don’t get behind and I know which bill comes out of which paycheck. Money is set aside for things like Christmas and repairs, haircuts and vet visits.
I have always had this fantasy of being completely debt free. I would get on the bandwagon, get excited about it, and then get bored. But, I was certainly not willing to make the sacrifices needed to get the job done.
But then I learned something. As I was going through my Dad and Deb’s estate process, I learned that we really could do this. Dad had given me this amazing gift, and along with the knowledge I already had, I could do this. Dad had taught me so much in these last months, and I am forever grateful. I hope he knows this.
We have debt. But I believe we can pay it off. I believe it down to my core! I believe we can be completely debt free and never go back. Because going back would be like my dad’s passing in vain and leaving me these gifts for nothing. I want US to be his legacy!
So that is where the Shopping Freeze comes in to play. I am the bill payer, the food shopper, the clothes buyer. It is my decision whether we need new towels or toss pillows. I am the keeper of The Budget. This also means that I control what goes out. I control whether or not we NEED new towels or toss pillows.
That, therein, lies the most important question…do we need it?
Final thoughts on no spend challenge for 2021
That is how I got to this point and the blog. No shopping year. Shopping freeze. Spending freeze. Keeping my pennies frozen. Frozen Pennies.
Being able to share my year here will give me the joy of sharing as well as the accountability I need to see this through.
And being able to share all the tips that I have always done with you to show you how to live the life you were meant to live without spending too much money and being in debt.
I thank you for reading the blog and hope to save you SO MUCH MONEY, get you out of debt and live intentionally. Build your legacy!