A Spending Freeze...What Is It and What Steps To Take
We have been talking about a spending freeze at our home for about a month now. I personally heard and read about a spending freeze from a fellow blogger and decided I would talk to the family about it. We all agreed that it was a great idea. So what exactly are we doing a spending freeze for? We have children and grand children who live in Kentucky and every year we take a trip out there for a week to visit and help the kids with things they might need. Of course, it's that time of year when they are getting ready to go back to school. My oldest has 4....yes I said 4 lol children to purchase supplies for. So MeMaw and Grampa, of course, wants to help spoil the little ones. School supplies plus some 😄We are hoping to save around $400 for the trip! I'll let you know by the end of my babbling haha if we actually saved our goal amount.
What is a spending freeze?
A spending freeze is a commitment you make to not spend money on frivolous items such as soda, lip gloss, that new blouse at your favorite store that's on sale. I know I know...it's on sale but you have to commit to say no. You would, of course, still pay the normal bills and if there was a medical or mechanical emergency then that would also be included as a necessity. Anything you can cut out of the budget that isn't necessary to survive.
What are the benefits of a spending freeze?
When was the last time your family took a vacation together? Are you wanting to have a little nest egg for later but don't think you can afford to put any money up in savings? The biggest benefit to a spending freeze is well.....saving money!
How many times do you take your family out to eat every month? Maybe you stop by McDonald's for a $1 item every morning on the way to work. You think, "It's just a dollar" but add it up. if you go every day for a year that over $365 give or take the tax, that you are spending. Seems like a lot now doesn't it?
What are some rules to a spending freeze?
Make a plan! What is it that you want to save this money for.
Sit down with the family and communicate. How long do you want the freeze to last? who is in charge of what. You all have to commit and work as a team.
Do not spend money on anything except for the agreed upon items.
Our family estimated what we would need and set aside petty cash for those items, then we handed our debit and credit cards over to a person we deemed to have that responsibility. That way none of us were tempted. Sounds kind of crazy but if you knew our family you would understand.
Don't go out right before and splurge on unnecessary items. That completely defeats the purpose. Our family prepped by going through the pantry and the freezer wrote everything down and made a meal plan for the 2 week period. For the things we felt we would run out of, we made a separate list, estimated the cost and left that amount out in petty cash.
How will I know I'm Actually Saving Money?
How much do you normally spend in a week? Go through bank statements and receipts. Add up what you have spent and put it in your savings account. If you know you spend $40-$50 each week eating out with the family, put that in savings. Stop at a local convenience store for a snack? add it up and put it into savings. It's a great way to get acquainted with your own spending habits. It's an eye opening experience for sure. I myself was spending around $60 a week at the local 7-11. I bet they loved seeing me walk through the door 😏
A freeze typically will last 2 weeks but for those brave enough have gone an entire month without spending. If this is your first attempt at a spending freeze, I recommend the 2 weeks.
This WILL be a hard task for everyone involved. The first time is always the most stressful. What if you run out of napkins or your favorite store is running a great sale. Just remember your commitment. There will always be another sale and you can use a hand towel or cloth napkin. We make it more stressful than it has to be due to our own "Gotta have it" habit. Instead, think "Do I honestly REALLY need it and what can I use as a substitute.
How often should you do a spending freeze?
From what I've read, typically most people do it twice a year but can be done more often if you choose. Some do it as often as every 3-4 months. A family, depending on size, can save around $300-$400 in a two week period. It all depends on the rules you set and what your spending habits were before your freeze.
All in all, It's really up to you, your family and willpower to stick with it. Set your goal, make rules, stick with them and have fun with it!
So I'm sure that you are curious as to what we saved during our first spending freeze. Well in total, we saved about $627! We had a shocker of an electric bill so that put a damper into saving more and I also paid a medical bill that came in. Those 2 things were unexpected and would have saved around another $300. So I don't think we did such a bad job for our very first spending freeze :)
We learned a lot, had a few arguments :( but in the end, we all agreed that the spending freeze was totally worth it and we were able to save for our trip to Kentucky as planned! So we will be on our way to see our wonderful children and spoil our amazing grand kids very soon!! I can't wait to see them and to schedule our next spending freeze. Maybe we will be brave enough to try the month long one!!
I hope you enjoyed reading about our spending freeze! I would love to hear your feedback and if you have any questions feel free to ask! MUAH 👄