What is a spending freeze? Its an amount of time that you chose to not spend money on unnecessary stuff for a designated amount of time. It is popular after the holidays when people are tapped out financially and need to recover some ground. The grand concept behind a spending freeze is that you get to make up your own rules!
Are you thinking about doing a Spending Freeze? I gotcha! Here are my top tips!!
Pay attention. Take notes!
Find your ‘why.’
Why do you want to embark on a spending freeze? Are you trying to get control over spending? Are you trying to get out of debt, plan for a vacation, or go to college? Why is it that this concept of no spend appealed to you? You need to get excited and passionate if you want to do this. It can be a pretty big commitment if you plan on doing this long term. Make a promise to yourself, like you are your best friend in the entire world at that moment. You would never break a commitment to your BFF, would you?
Set a time limit.
How long? A day, a week, a year? This depends on how focused and fierce you intend to be. It also has a lot to do with your why. Mine is a year. Go big or go home!!
Set rules or guidelines.
Each story is different. Therefore each set of rules can be different. This is your game, so you get to come up with your own rules! Are you intense and want to do a zero spend on everything for one week? Or are you doing this for a whole year and you are focused on not buying any clothes, shoes or accessories? Your circus, your monkies. But make it attainable. Not buying any food for three months might be a stretch if you don’t have the resources to do so.
Write it down.
Put it on post-it notes all over your home. Print it up on your computer or write it by hand. Add some stickers and color. Make it pretty. Create a vision board. Start a blog about your challenges, successes, and experiences. Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself every minute that you are doing this and WHY you are doing this. Then, read it every day!!!
Take an inventory of what you already have.
If you are thinking about a short-term spending freeze, then this step may not apply. I am sure most of us can get through one day or one week with what we have on hand. We can ‘make do.’ But if you are planning on doing it for any longer than a couple of weeks, you may want to take an inventory of what you have and see if your supplies for life will last you to the end. I went through everything.
I made sure I had enough undergarments for a year. This means I checked my sneakers and winter boots to make sure I could get through this time with them. If you are doing a shorter “No Spend” that includes groceries, take a look at all the food in your refrigerator, freezer, pantry, and cupboards. Then get real creative. Type in some ingredients into a search engine and see what recipes pop up. Don’t be afraid to substitute other ingredients.
Find a buddy or an accountability partner.
Someone that can text you back when you are standing in front of the PERFECT pink jacket for spring, and it is ONLY … FIFTEEN DOLLARS!! Find someone who will talk you into walking away — walking away because – You. Don’t. Need. It. This may be the difference between failure and success.
Not only does it give you accountability in your moment of weakness, but it also gives you someone who gets it and understands what you are doing here. When you decide to undergo this experiment or challenge, many just don’t get it, and it might be hard to come forward when you want to chat about it. Your buddy can be there for you in those moments.
Don’t get bored and go shopping. Go for a walk. Go, volunteer. Organize your closet. Color with your kids. Read that book. Just DO NOT GO SHOPPING because you are bored. Don’t get bummed and feel you deserve a little retail therapy. Find another way to deal with those feelings, as long as it does not involve shopping!
Also, as I know you can still shop from home, unsubscribe to all your favorite store’s email list. The ones that promise you 50% boots because they know you are a sucker for a great pair of boots. Give them “the boot”- right out of your inbox. Don’t be tempted!
Plan, plan, plan!!!
Plan to stay away from your favorite stores. Plan to have a list of specific things you are allowed to buy at Target and carry enough cash for ONLY those things. Freeze your debit card. Plan out how you will respond when someone invites you to any kind of at home shopping parties. Unsubscribe from your favorite store’s emails. Call Land’s End and tell them not to send catalogs. Set yourself up for success BEFORE you even start!
Doing a spending freeze not only creates a great way to get back on track after the craziness of the holidays or to save up some extra money, but it also creates a sense of accomplishment and changes habits. Recreational shopping could be a habit that you need to replace with a better pattern of behavior. Saving money and being intentional are good goals to have. I love goals. I am very goal oriented, especially when I feel a season of new beginnings or rebirth. There are techniques that can help you achieve the goals that you can read about HERE!