What would you do if you couldn’t spend any money? On just about anything? What if it was no lattes, no nights out with friends, no new gadgets or clothes or magazines? How would you feel?
“No” became my word of the month in June, because I went on a month long spending freeze.
Now, before you panic, know that there were guidelines to this freeze. I didn’t starve myself, or refuse to pay my insurance bill. Originally, I got the idea from Living Well, Spending Less, who developed a nifty little rules sheet. On mine, I promised not to buy fast food, but also promised that I could make a couple exceptions to spend a little cash.
I documented my thoughts for the first couple of weeks, when the freeze was the hardest:
– Friends have been told. They think it’s a noble venture, but WILL NOT stop asking when we could go see a movie or go shopping
– I’m starting to go crazy. I’ve made a list of all the things I would buy if my assets weren’t frozen.
– Thank my lucky stars that I’.m well stocked with food & beauty products…I should be okay, right?
– My weekend was spent focusing more on goal setting and being production rather than spent on shopping.
– In lieu of a spa trip, I’m trying a little DIY TLC.
– Friends are persistently trying to buy me things, so that I can partake in whatever they want to do.
– It has gotten easier not to go out and spend money!
– Has made me realize how much I drop on little things – Starbucks here, piece of clothing there.
– Made a Goodwill drop of clothes that haven’t fit me for a while.
– Still difficult to go out to stores, but the words “spending freeze” make me feel better – means there is no leeway when it comes to spending.
– Instead, I make “wish lists” of things I think I’d like to buy at a later date. Most of the things I don’t even remember afterwards. Thus, not necessary.
– I’m thinking up fun free things to do – went hiking with a group, went to the beach.
– Used up my one exception for mani pedis, had a great time catching up with friends!
As the month went on, it got way easier to not want to spend money. My friends were persistent until the end, though – I think my lack of spending was a) boring to them, since we couldn’t go out and do things that required $$, and b) scary in some ways because some of them make weekly Target trips as a rule.
I estimate that the freeze saved me around $100, if not more, and I look forward to incorporating it as a yearly tradition. Why torture myself like this? Because I never realized how the little things I was purchasing were adding up, causing me to go over budget every month. When the very idea of spending some moolah was taken completely away, I was forced to rethink my leisure time and horde of material possessions (you’re welcome, Goodwill!).
Now, when I shop, I’m extra careful to prioritize my purchases and plan them out ahead of time. I use coupons whenever I can, and keep an eye on my budget like a hawk. I want to be out enjoying life, not worrying about my spending habits 😉