In a pinch and need a few extra bucks!? It might be time for a spending freeze. You might think it's too daunting or maybe even impossible. We're here to show you that it's possible to save money fast!
If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I love me a good SPENDING FREEZE! Does the phrase give you chills? Get it? See what I did there? #ImSoFunny
In fact, we do a big spending freeze challenge at least twice a year. Once in January to help you start the year out on track with your finances! And once in October to help save money for the holidays… cause you know the holidays can be the most expensive time of the year.
Here’s the deal… we’re about to break it down and make it REAL simple. This is what we’re covering in this post:
- Why you should do a spending freeze… today.
- What is a spending freeze?
- How do you successfully complete a spending freeze?
You've got two options. Option 1 – Watch this quick video online or click and watch below. (Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!) Option 2 – Keep scrolling to read all about how to save money fast!
See, that wasn’t so bad, now was it? It’s really not as scary as it sounds. A spending freeze will help to prepare your wallet for important things that you have coming up (like buying a new house, car, or the holidays), set a good example for others (namely family members!) and will help to form good habits, like being resourceful rather than buying things. As an added bonus, it will boost your confidence in showing yourself that you can do hard things when you set your mind to it!
WHY YOU SHOULD DO A SPENDING FREEZE
Now let me warn you right now, a spending freeze can be hard. For some of us, really really hard. It's not as fun as buying things, eating out, going out, or shopping. Let's call it, cooking food every. single. night. can be annoying and taxing. 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. Use our FREE PRINTABLE to make it easy.
SPENDING FREEZE RULES
Ok, now that we’re good on the WHY, let’s move on to HOW to save money fast with a spending freeze!
NO SPENDING MONEY FOR 7 FULL DAYS
The most important rule is to set a length of time. For our purposes, we'll start with ONE week. So in that case, the number one rule you need to remember is – 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 trying to think of every way possible to make this work, not finding loopholes to get out of it. So just head back to the “WHY” section and come on back when you're ready, mmmmkay? Mwah! 😉
You back!?! You ready to fill your wallet up!?!?
Great! Here are a few words of encouragement: Keep your perspective in tact! Remember that the spending freeze is not forever… it's just ONE week. You can do anything for one week!
BACK TO THE RULES
- Start on a Sunday and end on a Saturday.
- 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. However, try to be smart with them! Turn off a light if you don’t need it. Take shorter showers. Wash your laundry in cold water. (Check out how I do my laundry the unconventional way!)
- 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, tip or anything else out of pocket, it will have to wait for another week.
If it's not an emergency, it can wait!
OVERCOME SPENDING FREEZE CHALLENGES
One of the biggest expenses most families have is groceries. So that's probably going to be your biggest challenge during a spending freeze.
If you’re a seasoned shelf cooker (Not sure what that means? Check out this post.), then you’ll have no problems with a spending freeze at all! But if you’re new to shelf cooking, then this is a great excuse to try your hand at it. Basically, you're going to raid your pantry and fridge to see what you have on hand that you can use to help you make it through the week!
Make sure that you check out our brand new site, ShelfCooking.com, which is dedicated to helping you cook delicious, nutritious and budget-friendly meals for your family without slaving away in the kitchen! Basically every parent's dream, right? Join our Shelf Cooking Community today!
Worried about being bored? That's okay, remember… it's just one week, you got this! Plus, there are plenty of fun things you can do at home. Have a family game night, do a fun family competition where everyone scrounges to come up with the best dinner idea, you can even start a new family tradition or invite some friends over for a potluck!
Okay, so maybe you're not a homebody and none of those things work for you! Is that even possible!?! Check out this post for how to find fun, cheap and free things to do near you.
HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Find someone – anyone – to help keep you accountable. Your spouse, family members or friends. Ask them to check in with you to see how you're doing or even to do it with you for extra motivation.
For heaven's sake, let us know how you're doing with your spending freeze! 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. We'll encourage you along your way!
WHAT TO DO AFTER THE SPENDING FREEZE IS OVER
Your spending will go on as usual. Please, please, pretty please, do NOT run out and spend everything you just saved! Let things thaw a bit… 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).
- 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!
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 operate with cash or card, literally move the saved money into the proper place so it's out of sight, out of mind!
See? That's not so bad! Best of luck to you whenever you choose to try your hand at a spending freeze, I'm so proud! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.
Looking for more great budgeting posts?
- Get 7 other great ideas to save money quickly once you finish your spending freeze!
- Find out how to get out of debt in 3 simple steps.
- Learn about the top reasons that couples fight over finances and HOW TO STOP!
- What is an HSA?…and why the heck should EVERYONE have one??
Have a great day!