October Spending Freeze Update
Last month I implemented a week long spending freeze to close out the month of October. It was a decision I made because I felt my spending habits were becoming too loose and I needed to give myself some necessary limits. Saving money is a priority in my marriage and something we both value. While we’ve been saving regularly each month I felt as though certain categories in our budget were still pretty high and could be significantly cut if I was to curb my spending. Having committed to month long spending freezes in the past I wanted to see how a zero spend week long freeze would go. The month-long freezes gave me the opportunity to really push myself, but due to their length I had to make exceptions for things like gasoline and groceries while a week long freeze would have zero exceptions.
The first day of the no spend week was Sunday October 25th and I went 5 days spending $0. I decided to end the freeze a couple days early due to the fact I had family coming to stay with us over the Halloween weekend and I didn’t plan well the week ahead with my grocery shopping. During those 5 days I learned that I have a tendency to justify many of my purchases. It had become easier and easier to justify buying a book instead of waiting for my turn at the library. I was justifying spending money to buy lunch out instead of planning ahead and so many justifications around buying a coffee when I was out running errands or heading into work. While my freeze only lasted 5 days, I was able to identify my constant justifications and have created a better rhetoric in my mind around spending.
Going forward I plan to put myself on weekly spending freezes each month. I’ll pick a week during the month ahead that will set me up for success. It is important to note that while you do want to do some planning around things like making sure you have gas in your car the point isn’t to stockpile and blow your budget prior to the freeze. If the freeze doesn’t present you with any challenges there won’t be any opportunity for growth. These are a few of my spending freeze tips:
Let your family and any friends know about your freeze so they can help support you.
If you have to end your freeze early that is okay, celebrate and acknowledge the days you didn’t spend and look at what you can do next time to go further.
When you are first trying out a freeze pick a week that’ll make things easy on you. Stay away from weeks where you will have a lot of temptation.
Work on recognizing the difference between an emergency and a failure to plan.
If you decide to take part in a spending freeze I'd love to hear about your successes and challenges, you can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org