My little family will be embarking on a challenge for the month of February. A SPENDING FREEZE! I was inspired while reading Ruth Soukup’s book, “31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero” along with a few of her other books. Love her perspective! And nope, this isn’t an endorsed post, I really do just love what she has to say and what she’s about.
Her book is basically about the idea of instituting a spending freeze for the month, being resourceful, cooking from your pantry and freezer without spending a dime for a month! The result is saving money. She does this with her family twice a year and they save at least $1,000 each time. I decided I wanted to give it a go for the month of February because February is a short month and it would be a good month for our first time. So…
Starbucks Frappe? NO.
Target clearance jewelry? NO.
Dinner at Olive Garden? NO.
For one month. No. This is going to be the hardest on ME because I am the one who spends the most money in our family. And I know it. I calculated how much I spent at Target last year and the sum was shocking. While yes, some of that is on food, the majority all comes from going in for one thing and getting a bunch of other things I absolutely “needed.” Another area that we can cut down on is groceries. If I actually use what’s in my freezer and pantry, before going out on another grocery run, we can cut down majorly in that department. I used a spreadsheet to go through every ounce of our budget (I used the one from the LWSL website) and the numbers were alarming. There are a LOT of areas that we can cut down on. The ones that stood out to me the most:
- Frivolous spending – mostly my weekly Target trips. Not kidding. Basically, the majority of the time I go to a store I buy something. I won’t necessarily drop a ton of cash for each trip, but these little things add up each month.
- Eating out – this one is major! The funny thing is, we hardly EVER go out to eat officially. We don’t do sit down restaurants often at all. It’s all the little things – the Wawa coffee or hot chocolate, the Chick-Fil-A quick stops, the must-have Starbucks to accompany me on my Target shopping trip, the weekly pizza on Fridays, and the like. All of these things are typically unplanned, but it cuts into our budget more than I realized.
- Cable/Phone/Internet bundle – we have a bundle but we literally only use the Internet section of our bundle. We do the majority of our television watching through Netflix or Hulu. My mother-in-law uses the television portion to watch Spanish television. Once the school year is over, we plan on cutting out the phone and cable.
- Groceries – I need to get back on my coupon/shopping sales game. I fell way off the wagon when school started because I felt like I didn’t have time. I can make a little bit of time for this each week. Even if I don’t use coupons, but, at least, try to shop the sales, I should see a difference in our spending in this area.
- The unnecessary add-ons – Kindle Unlimited, Hulu AND Netflix AND Cable, Lifelock, etc. We don’t need all of these things.
Each day there is a sort of “assignment.” The goal is to freeze spending and in the process become more organized, eliminate clutter, become more creative, and make use of what you already have. By the end of it, I will hopefully see a surplus of money! HOORAY.
Getting my husband on board wasn’t as challenging as I expected.
Me: Hey, do you want to try this spending freeze?
Husband: Do I really have a choice?
End of discussion. Of course, he has a choice and if he was adamant about not doing it, there is no way I could go forward successfully because it’s a team effort! But he knows that once I get an idea in my head, I’m all for it and it’s hard to deter me from the course. Plus – how can you be against saving money! So here is what I hope to gain from this experience:
- Better budgeting skills.
- An ability to save money better.
- A push to become creative with my meals.
- A push to become more creative with my wardrobe.
- Better organization/cleaning skills.
One of my main goals during this freeze is to develop a cleaning schedule and become more intentional about it. I’ve come SUCH a long way, but I still have a ways to go. I’ve been using Ruth’s checklists here.
I’ve been prepping for the freeze by checking our inventory and making sure to snag some essentials so that don’t have to worry about spending during February. On Sunday, the day before the freeze, I will be spending time preparing some freezer meals. This will help curb our spending on the days we don’t have much time and are attempted to order out. I also mapped out our eating menu for dinner for the entire month. I intend to blog about this experience each day – Day 1, Day 2, and so forth…more for my own accountability than anything else! I think if I know I have an audience who knows what I’m doing, I will feel less tempted to spend!
You are “allowed” to buy items like bread, eggs, fruit, and such because they won’t last an entire month, especially with twins! Obviously, I can buy whatever I want, but the goal is not to spend unnecessarily. SO, Monday will be our first day. Wish me luck!