How to Do a Spending Freeze (to Save Money FAST)

Get Out of Debt, Spending Freeze, Video

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 not only show you that it's possible, but tell you exactly how to save money fast!

Jordan holding money from spending freeze, from Fun Cheap or Free!

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.

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Here's the deal… We're about to break it down and make it REAL simple. This is what were 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!)
  • Form good habits, like being resourceful rather than buying things

As an added bonus, a spending freeze will boost your confidence because you're showing yourself that you can do hard things when you set your mind to it! Go, you!


A hand holding jar of money shows how to save money fast, from Fun Cheap or Free

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 just be real – 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.

That last sentence. Bingo.

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 savings trackers and debt tracker to make it easy to stay on track.


Ok, now that we're good on the WHY, let's move on to HOW to save money fast with a spending freeze!


Hands holding empty wallet, from Fun Cheap or Free

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 intact! Remember that the spending freeze is not forever… It's just ONE week. You can do anything for one week!


  • Start on a Sunday and end on a Saturday.
  • If you can't do it this week, do it next week! But 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.
  • Utilities and bills are NOT included. However, try to be smart with them! Turn off the 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 unexpected expense, 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!


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 shelf cooking 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,, which is dedicated to helping you cook delicious, homemade, down-home-cooked meals for your family without spending too much time 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've got this! Plus, there are plenty of fun things you can do at home. Have a family game night. Invent 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! Is it date night? We've got 20 great ideas for FREE at-home date nights!

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. Oh, and if you're looking for FREE date night ideas to get you out of the house, we've got you covered!


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, don't forget to also 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!


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 okay, just don't borrow from the next week's budget. Trust me, you can get a TON of groceries for even $100.

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!


One of the main purposes of this spending freeze is to save money fast! However, 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 and put that money toward:

  • Debt first, such as credit card, student loans, and medical bills. Car and home are also possibilities, but the other three are very important!
  • Savings second
  • Slush Fund third

Whether you operate with cash or a 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.

Image with text that reads "save money fast with a spending freeze," from Fun Cheap or Free

If you found this helpful but still need help with your finances, then you just have to check out Budget Boot Camp!

It's a fun video program that makes money easy to understand! However, if it doesn't work for you for whatever reason, it has a 100% money back guarantee. So really, there's no reason that you shouldn't try it! Plus, you can save 10% when you use the code FCFBLOG at checkout.

Looking for more great budgeting posts?

Have a great day!


  1. Lindsay Firzlaff

    I love this, an ironically, I just watched it this morning. In fact, I even sent it along to a few other people who I knew would enjoy it. As I’m in the middle of watching it, I was thinking to myself, “I need to ask her how this affects our monthly budget” and “Won’t I need to spend double the following week?” and then, BAM! You answered my questions. Thanks so much!

  2. Terri

    Awesome and needed in my life! I just set reminders on my calendar to do this one week each month this year, starting today! Brrr! We got this!

    • Valorie

      Are you going to make a calendar for February? I’ve been looking, but can’t find one. Thanks for all you do!

      • FunCheapOrFree

        If you sign up for the program it’s emailed to you each month!

  3. Amy

    I really, really need to try this!

  4. Megann

    This would be sooo good to do in my home!!! If only my husband would precipitate

  5. Shabrea

    Thanks for all the insight and all that you do! Here’s my comment for the challenge ?

  6. Thérèse Wadell

    I needed to watch this video again today because I’m currently trying to freeze my spendings, but it’s not always easy to keep your motivation up, is it? However, your video gave me the will to continue! Thank you! ?

  7. Rebecca K.

    I’ve tried “no spending”-days in the past but always failed. There was hardly any day that I didn’t spend at least a few bucks on SOMETHING that seemed essential at that time, the only exception being Sundays (but that’s just because the stores are closed that day over here in Germany, so it’s not much of an achievement). 😉
    But then I tried your spending freeze a week ago and totally succeeded! 😀 It was SO amazing and I felt so proud! We’ve used the money to pay off some of our debt and it has motivated me so much that I will soon do another week. For some reason your version worked so well and didn’t feel limiting at all. I really love your page and your tips have helped us so much already. Thank you! 🙂

  8. Kamryn Carlson

    This is something I have been needing to learn how to do. I am excited to apply it!

  9. Christy Richardson

    I have money in my account at the end of the month because of this! What?! That never happens! Thanks, Jordan!

  10. Diana Burk

    Great video and tips. I also just learned about the printable calendars you have, I have to try them out! Thank you!

  11. Nicole

    Love this idea of a spending freeze!

  12. Jennifer Bingham

    I totally did this last month, so I’d have spending money on a little getaway I just went on. What a great idea—how did I not know about it?! So simple, yet so effective! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Shelby

    totally tried this! SOOO HARD BUT SO WORTH IT!!

  14. Caitlin

    I love this idea. I am totally going to do this this week! I was seriously thinking “Won’t I spend twice as much to make up for it?” and then you answered it! Thanks.

  15. Miranda

    You really make it seem so simple and manageable. I’m interested in buying BBC!

  16. Sarah Davidson

    I never thought i would have the courage to do a spending freeze. However, I feel that you are holding my hand and cheering for me all the way through the process.

  17. Heather B

    I did a spending freeze late last year and it definitely saved me sooo much money!

  18. Tina

    Im starting WAY later than this came out, obviously, but we’re going to give this a shot! If it works out for us, we’ll keep it up!! Thank you! Like Shelby said, seems tough, but I bet it’ll be worth it!

  19. Madelyne McKee

    I have never thought of doing something like this. It’s a great idea! I love the idea of then putting that saved money towards debt— how empowering. You are full of wise ideas, my dear!

  20. Becca

    I love this idea! Trying to put more money towards a small debt & this will help tons!

  21. Brandy

    On my list to to try. You are so brilliant.

  22. J

    I tried this this week and you were right. We got creative and used what we had. It was pretty great and I would definitely do it again. I had to cheat a tiny bit because I did it spur of the moment when my gas was almost empty and I drive my kids to school so jay had to happen. Then my daughter got sick and needed medicine so I got that as well BUT i scrounged for change that would inerwise probably have been blown at the slurped store so I’m calling it a win. I have one more day to go until the spending freeze is lifted and honestly I think I could keep going! My only regret was that I did it because all the money was gone so I had to make it until the end of the month so I didn’t get so save the money however now that I see that it works next time I will save the money and it’s gonna be amaze!!

  23. Summer

    It is amazing how creative you can become with cooking when you shelf cook. It makes me feel like I have a mystery box challenge on MasterChef! While spending freezes have helped me save money, they have done an even better job of helping me learn contentment with what I have. Thanks for the great tips!

  24. Savannah Stout

    I love doing a spending freeze every few weeks.


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