Don’t you wish one of the required classes for high school graduation was a personal finance course? There really should be a “Money 101” class where you learn about taxes, budgeting, loans, credit cards (and credit scores!) because these things can feel overwhelming once you’re out in the real world. I’ve had countless conversations with friends where we’ve discussed this very thing and we’ve all agreed it should be an option; I know I would have benefitted from it. And while many believe learning about money starts at home, sometimes parents are just as lost about the subject. I grew up in a household where we lived paycheck-to-paycheck and money was a source of stress (looking back I don’t know how my Wonder Woman mom did it sometimes) so learning how to manage my money came from a lot of trial-and-error once I was on my own.
For that reason, money is something I rarely discuss on my blog. The last time I touched on the subject was in 2017 (you can find my post here) and while it’s a very important topic, I’m not an expert so I’ve never felt comfortable giving advice on it. I’m a student in this field and that’s where I’m coming from when presenting this topic to you today.
Along with other personal resolutions for the New Year (which I’ll chat about in an upcoming post), a big one for my family and I is centered around personal financial goals. We started this journey last year when we decided to move to Arizona and we’ve made huge strides. We’re in a comfortable place but we still have a huge way to go to reach the lofty financial goals we’ve set for ourselves. Which is where my spending freeze comes in!
Knowing where to start with finances can be the most stressful part, especially if you know nothing. You know you have to spend less and save more but how? A spending freeze is a great place to start.
What is a spending freeze?
A spending freeze is a promise that you will not spend any money for a certain amount of time decided by you. Of course, if there’s an emergency where you run out of gas and you need to get to work, get gas. But try to prepare for such “emergencies” so you don’t have to spend money. Unforeseeable circumstances obviously do not apply to the spending freeze.
What’s the purpose of a spending freeze?
For me, it’s a way to recognize bad spending habits that are prohibiting me from achieving my financial goals. Am I spending $7 a day on Starbucks runs? Or Amazon Prime-ing too much? Small amounts quickly add up so this complete awareness of where I’d normally be spending my money is a great place to start so that I can work on creating better habits that actually contribute to my personal finances.
Rules of a Spending Freeze
1. A WEEK OF NO OUT-OF-POCKET SPENDING
Act like your bank account and wallet are FROZEN. You must make-do with what you already have in your home, your pantry, and your closet.
2. NO TAKE-OUT OR EATING AT RESTAURANTS
Eat the food you have at home.
3. NO COFFEE RUNS
Make coffee at home. Make any other kind of treat you purchase normally at home.
4. NO TARGET, NO SEPHORA RUNS
No makeup purchases, or any other kind of self-care services or products are allowed to be bought during this challenge.
5. NO EVENT PURCHASES
Attend free or family events around town, but buy no tickets or treats while you enjoy.
6. NO AMAZON BUYS
Nothing. Not even for good deals.
7. NO RENTING MOVIES ONLINE
Go for a walk or call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. I’m sure you can figure something else to do 😉
8. NO PAYING BABYSITTERS
Sorry, no date nights. Don’t plan a spending freeze if you have an event where you’ll need to pay a babysitter.
9. NO SHOPPING FOR GIFTS
Buy any gifts for upcoming birthdays etc. before the spending freeze.
10. NO PHONE APP DOWNLOADS
Free ones are acceptable on a spending freeze.
How do you prepare for a spending freeze?
You PLAN! Look back at what you’d normally spend in a week and plan ahead. Create a meal plan and purchase all the groceries you’ll need to complete your meals during the spending freeze. Plan activities to do on the weekend that don’t involve spending money. Pay any bills that will be due during your freeze.
This might take a little bit of time but know it will be worth it and you’ll have money in the bank to prove it.
Find a friend that wants to save some dough and do it together. If this is the first time you’ve ever thought about finances or it’s the beginning of your journey to improve your finances, a spending freeze can be hard – especially on the weekend when you’d normally spend money on activities. If you have a friend to do this with it can be a lot easier which is why I’m teaming up with two of my favorite Arizona bloggers and doing the spending freeze together.
Check out my dear friend Megan from TheHouseOfMag and Diana from DianaElizabethBlog for their jouney and more on Spending Freezes. They’ll also be updating you through IG stories so follow Megan @thehouseofmag and Diana @dianaelizabeth_.
So when does our spending freeze start? We’ll be spending ZERO money from January 12th through January 18th and we hope you can join! I’ll be sharing updates on my IG too so make sure you’re following along there too.
Will you join? Let me know your thoughts on spending freezes and if you’ve ever done one before!