Welp, it's time. Call your mama, lock up your car keys, and hang up the ol' shoppin' shoes because the SPENDING FREEZE WEEK is here!
For those of you who are committed to making January a #FocusOnFinances month (…and I hope you all are…nudge nudge…) then you should all be ready to give yourself the challenge of the lifetime. This spending freeze is important, and I really hope you are playing along! It will not only help our wallets recover from the Holidays, set a good example for others (namely family members!) and will help us form good habits like being resourceful rather than buying things, but it will also boost our confidence in showing us that we can do hard things when we set our minds to it.
Now, before I get into the “rules” for the challenge, I want to make sure you've squared away one thing first…the WHY behind the freeze. If you read How Not To Suck At Keeping Your New Years Resolutions post from today then you know why it's imperative to figure out what your deeper motivation is.
…this challenge is going to be hard. For some of us, really really hard. It's not going to be as fun as buying things. Eating out. Going out. Shopping. Let's call it, cooking food every night can be annoying. Staying home can be boring. Running out of something you want/need can be frustrating. Whatever your vice, the only way you're going to get through this week successfully is to set a WHY behind the WHAT.
Why are you doing this, really? I want to save money. Ok, WHY do you want to save money? So I can have more of it. WHY do you want more of it? So my husband is happy. WHY do you want your husband to be happy? So our marriage can be better so we won't fight over money so much. WHY do you want it to be better? Because I love my husband and care about him, and I want us to work together rather than work apart and this is a great way to start.
Whatever your situation is, you need to dig deep and get specific! Go Dr. Phil on yourselves here, folks! Be sure to set a goal for how much you'd like to save for the week, and how you'd like to use that money (see below for guidelines). Use our FREE PRINTABLE to make it easy.
Ok, now that we're good on the “why” let's move on…
Here are the rules for the Spending Freeze:
1. No spending money for 7 full days.
If you're reading this thinking of all the “but what about…” excuses you can come up with, your head isn't in the right place yet. You should be excited about this and be trying to think of every way possible to make this work, not finding the loopholes to get out of it. So just head back to the “WHY” section and come on back when you're ready, mmmmkay? Mwah!
- The challenge starts Sunday January 5 and ends Sunday January 11.
- If you can't do it this week, do it next week! Don't wait for a “good week” when you think it'll be easy, stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone!
- “no spending” includes: groceries, eating out, getting a babysitter, washing your car, you name it. However…
- Utilities and bills are NOT included.
- Gasoline is up to you. For me, it's like a utility – it's a “must have” and not a “want to have” item. However, just as with utilities, you can be smart about gas. Try to drive less, and only fill up when you need to.
- Basically if it's not a bill, utility, or emergency, it can wait.
- Got gift cards, vouchers, groupons, or coupons? Use them! BUT…if you have to pay tax or tip or anything else out of pocket, it will have to wait for another week.
Personal example…my dog needs to be groomed big time. Long story, but it was very complicated to finally get him scheduled for an appointment this week and I accepted, forgetting about the spending freeze coming up. I debated still taking him this week thinking, “one little appointment will be fine, it's not a big deal.” But no. “If you're in, be IN ALL THE WAY” is what I told myself. So I rescheduled his appointment, as annoying as it was, so I can stick to my guns and not spend any money this week.
Another example…we have a work dinner on Friday that we can't miss. Luckily we won't have to pay for dinner, but we'll need a babysitter. Rather than hiring a babysitter I'm going to trade with friends. Yes, it's more of a hassle to put them to bed at someone else's house, but it's worth the savings. “If you're in, be in ALL THE WAY”.
2. Use the saved money wisely.
One of the main purposes of this spending freeze is to save yourself lots of money in a short amount of time…but it won't do you any good if you don't make a good plan for that money you're saving.
- Take what your budget would be for the week (see what mine is HERE) and put that money toward:
- Whether you're doing the cash-only challenge or not, literally move the saved money into the proper place so it's out of sight, out of mind!
3. Post about it!
For heaven's sake, let us know how you're doing! We're a family here, after all! Instagram has been an amazing community of shared ideas lately, as has our Facebook page. Post photos of how you're avoiding spending money. Use the hashtag #FocusOnFinances and #Focusedin14 for a chance to win $100!
4. When the freeze is over…
Your spending will go on as usual. Please please pretty please do NOT run out and spend everything you just saved! Pause, take a deep breath, and go back to your typical weekly budget as if nothing happened. Use your budget and only your budget to buy what you need that next week.
- If your fridge is empty, no sweat. Use your normal grocery budget to buy as much as fits within that budget. Tapping into your “other” budget is ok – just don't borrow from the next week's budget. Trust me, you can get a TON of groceries for even $100 (see how HERE).
- The next week you shouldn't need groceries again (if you shop wisely and plan ahead) so you then can use your grocery budget for “other” expenses. The next week you'll need groceries again, and should be ok in the “other” department. And the cycle will continue that way much of the time.
- In general, if a pantry or freezer item is on sale, buy a few extra (as long as it fits within your budget). You will have a healthy stockpile in no time!
See? That's not so bad! I hope I covered everything. If you have a question, leave a comment below and I'll edit the post to clarify it better. Best of luck to all of us this week, I'm so proud!
LET'S DO THIS! *chest bump*
Ice block photo source