How To Do A Monthly Spending Freeze and Save Money
How To Have A Successful No Spend Month
If you’ve been looking at your savings account and wishing it were more in there, stop wishing and take action by doing a spending freeze. You’re not broke. You’re just pre-rich.
The best and fastest way to save money is by not spending.
We all have different household incomes and expenses, so the amount you’ll be able to save on a spending freeze will vary on a couple of different factors. Some examples are if you’re single, married, or married with kids.
If you’re interested in ways to boost your household income to save more money, check out our most popular article 10 Best Side Hustle Ideas You Can Start Today and 10 Best Passive Income Ideas You Can Start Today.
In this article, you’ll learn what a spending freeze is, why you
could should do it, and how to do it successfully.
So, let’s first talk about what it is.
What is a Spending Freeze?
A spending freeze is not spending any disposable income for a day, a week, two weeks, or longer. A spending freeze can help you learn how you’ve been spending (or wasting) money in the past, and add extra money to your savings account once you’re done.
No spending includes the following: eating out, groceries (don’t worry, you’ll prep for this), no car wash (unless you do it at home), no baby sitter, etc.
Home utilities and bills are not included in a spending freeze. But there are ways to try to reduce bills like water and electricity by not letting the water run when you’re brushing your teeth or turning the lights off in rooms you’re not using.
If you’re looking for more ways to drastically cut your monthly expenses, check out these tips on How to Drastically Cut Your Monthly Expenses. Little things like that can actually make a difference.
Before I did a spending freeze, I’d go to Starbucks everyday before work for a Caramel Frappuccino and a Chocolate Croissant. I made myself believe I was saving money by getting enough Starbucks Rewards to get a Free Drink or Free Meal (I know, I know, it was dumb).
But going on a spending freeze forced me to realize all of the stupid, unnecessary spending I was doing not only every month but EVERY DAY. It will help you realize the unnecessary spending you may do without realizing it.
Going through the Coronavirus quarantine taught us all a lesson.
Why do a Spending Freeze?
You go on a spending freeze so you can save money. When you’re saving money on a spending freeze, you realize how needy you are (at least I did) and how many things you buy that you don’t need.
All of a sudden, I felt like I needed new eyeliner, and I was running out of mascara. Ugh…
Sometimes when you’re focused on a mission, distractions seem to come from out of nowhere. Even if you currently live on a tight budget, I can guarantee you’ll find benefits of doing a spending freeze.
When you’ve completed your spending freeze successfully, it alters your mindset. You learn to appreciate all the things you buy. It will change your spending habits, and ultimately make you live a more frugal lifestyle.
I think that’s the biggest benefit of going through a spending freeze.
Now when I’m driving past a place like Chipotle and I’m not on a spending freeze, it really makes me think… do I really need to spend money when I already have food at home?
See? I told you, it’s all about the mindset. If you continue to do this long enough your mindset will change too.
What Are The Rules?
- Prepare for your spending freeze a month before to be properly prepared for your no spend week, weeks, or month.
- If it’s not an emergency, it can wait.
- Commit to no unnecessary spending.
- Shop for groceries and other necessities before your no spend challenge, and make sure to take advantage of your cashback options.
- Determine what (if any) items you need to pay for or buy during your no-spend challenge. Monthly bills and expenses are excluded from your no spend.
- Put tape (or something you can feel) on your debit card as a reminder you’re on a no spend plan. If you still use cash, put it in an envelope and label the envelope “Do You Need Me”, so every time you need to use it, it reminds you if you really need it.
- Get your family involved. It makes things easier (sometimes).
- Dig out those gift cards you haven’t used to help you save money.
- Don’t say the words “I can’t“. Everything is figureoutable.
Speaking of Figureoutable, Marie Forleo has an extremely motivating, inspiring, and enlightening book called “Everything is Figureoutable”. It helps restructure your mindset, it did for me at least. Make sure to check it out. (Before you start your spending freeze).
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase.
Now, once I set a goal, I’m going to achieve it. No if, and, or buts about it. If you’re self-motivated, you will be able to successfully achieve the monthly spending freeze. However, I understand if you need a little more motivation.
If you need a motivational boost, I recommend using this Annual Budget Spreadsheet.
If the Annual Budget Spreadsheet doesn’t motivate you to earn and save more money, I’m not sure what will.
This is what motivated me to do a spending freeze.
How do I do a Spending Freeze?
By being extremely organized! You need to prepare and plan ahead for your spending freeze to ensure all bills and necessities for the home have been covered.
Planning ahead allows you to prepare mentally and logistically. Now I’m not saying you need to buy extra Oreo’s to cover your month of not spending, I’m saying weigh the pros and cons of unnecessary spending. Spend with calculated intention and purpose.
I don’t know about you, but our grocery bill is the second-largest monthly expense right behind the rent. I use coupons, cashback, and even considered growing my own herbs and vegetables to help save on costs.
I plan for my spending freezes by meal prepping and shopping from my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to help keep costs low to support a frugal, non-waste lifestyle.
If you’re interested in using the Meal Planner I use to help me stay organized and on budget, you can get yours here.
I like to do spending freezes for a month because I am able to maximize my overall savings, but you can choose which works best for your family.
If you live a typical American lifestyle, chances are the majority of your entertainment involves spending. However, there are a million *FUN* things you can do that involves no spending. For us, we enjoy playing Taboo with a group of friends and playing Kickball. You could start up the family game night, I guarantee you would not be disappointed.
My husband and I have date nights at home with movies already included with our plan that we thoroughly enjoy. I love spending time with him and feel like we learn something new about each other every other day.
It’s important to turn on your understanding while you’re on a spending freeze. You can obviously have a spending freeze as many times as you’d like during the year. I’m not suggesting for you to completely cut out paid entertainment for the year. Just helping you to become aware of the dollars leaving your pocket.
How Much Can You Save With A Spending Freeze? I know this is probably something you don’t want to hear, but IT DEPENDS! It depends on a number of factors, whether you are Single, Married, or Married with Kids, Income, and Expenses. I’ll explain it below.
|Select A Spending Freeze Plan That Works Best For You And Your Family|
How To Go About A Spending Freeze
Your lifestyle and financial situation will determine how you go about your spending freeze.
For my husband and me, we’re able to lock down and enjoy our no spend because we know what’s on the other side… Saving money towards our new home. We have goals!
What’s helpful for us is using a zero-based budget. In addition to using our Annual Budget Snapshot, we also use Budget By Paycheck, and whatever we have left, allocate that money to savings or bills.
If you have anything outside what’s listed as an expense on your spreadsheet, do not spend. If you go by those rules, you have no choice but to succeed.
Depending on your situation, you may want to go about it in different ways.
- This gives you more freedom to really stick to your no spend goal.
- Let friends and family know you’re on a spending freeze to help hold you accountable.
- Married (with no kids)
- This option is good because it offers the saving potential to be MUCH more because, more than likely, there are two incomes.
- Get your spouse on board. It’s not fair to you to stop spending and sacrificing if your spouse is continuing to spend as normal. You guys are one team, and saving money on a spending freeze is a team effort.
- Plan out if you can carpool to work with each other or hitch a ride with a colleague to save on transportation costs.
- Married with Kids
- This gives you the chance to set a family goal and work toward it as a fun and exciting challenge. Getting everyone in the family involved can be fun, exciting, and interesting (for better or worse, LOL).
|Test The Waters|
|Here Goes Nothing|
|7-Day No Spend Challenge||2-Week No Spend Challenge||1-Month No Spend Challenge|
I recommend starting out with the 7-Day No Spending Challenge. If you can set a goal and stick to it, try the 2-Week and Month No Spend Challenge.
Start your spending freeze on a Sunday if you’re doing the week or 2-week no spend challenge. It’s much easier to plan because it’s already got guidelines.
If you do the monthly challenge, I recommend starting at the beginning of the month. It doesn’t matter if the 1st of the month falls on a Wednesday, it will be much easier to have a successful spending freeze if you go by the entire month. It does for me, at least.
I thought my husband was going to think I was crazy when I first brought him the idea of going on a Monthly Spending Freeze. But he actually was all for it and totally on board!
The biggest adjustment for me was to conserving my gas for the month. I only go to places I absolutely need to go and my job allows me to work from home some days so that helped save us around $150/mo. Depending on what your necessities are you may be able to save money on gas too.
By now, you should have an idea of the potential savings during your spending freeze. If you’re apprehensive, start with one-week and see how it goes. If it goes good, graduate to the 2-Week Challenge or a Month.
How To Avoid The Urge to Spend? Take a look at that Annual Budget Snapshot or the Budget by Paycheck that should help you avoid spending.
Even if you think you don’t spend money, I strongly suggest you try this spending freeze for two weeks. I think it could help change your mindset.
When you spend money, spend with intention and purpose. Go beyond your comfort zone and get involved with the spending freeze.
Are you ready to do your spending freeze? Let me know in the comment section below.
If you liked this article, there’s more! I’m working on some more ways to save so subscribe to my mailing list to stay up-to-date. Click here to subscribe.