This post may contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Please read the full disclosure here.Spending freeze sounds lovely. A chance to save extra money.
Yes, it will be a challenge to not spend any money.
But, think about the progress to pay off debt or save money!
We have participated in spending freezes at different times over the years. The number one reason I enjoy them is I get to see what is really needed and what is just excess spending.
Each day comes with temptations to spend money.
In today’s society, the opportunity to spend money is everywhere – online, schools, vending machines, brick and mortar stores on every corner. It is like people want instant access to our bank accounts.
What is the Definition of a Spending Freeze?
A spending freeze is a set amount of time where money is not spent.
It is a commitment to be deliberate to not spend money. Specifically, unnecessary spending.
The bills like housing, insurance, and medical would still be paid and taken care of.
The purpose of a spending freeze is to eliminate the excess spending.
Also known as the I-had-no-clue-what-happened-to-my-money-this-month mantras.
Related resource to help you: How to Budget Money and Still Enjoy Life
Should Groceries Be Included in the Spending Freeze?
If your pantry and freezer are full, then the answer is probably yes with a limited predetermined amount for milk, fresh fruit and veggies. If your pantry and freezer are empty, then no.
Eating a healthy meal at home is more important. However, eating out needs to be eliminated during the spending freeze.
Another alternative it to hold a Freezer/Pantry Challenge at a different time.
Why is a Spending Freeze Important?
It is a simple way to be intentional with money for a set amount of time. You can decide if you want to do a week or a month.
Handling money can bring about a lot of stress. By participating in a spending freeze, you are consciously not spending money for a set amount of time.
A spending freeze seems more like a fun game than living under a strict budget.
Understand how to make a budget in 7 simple steps.
What are Benefits of a Spending Freeze?
There are truly so many benefits of a spending freeze! Overall, it will help you improve your personal finance situation.
1. Spending Habits
A spending freeze is a fabulous way to break bad spending habits.
We live in a society of excess material items.
Honestly, the reason is because things are so cheap anymore. A dollar here. A dollar there. While it doesn’t seem like much at the time, those dollars add up to $5, $20, $100 or even $500 during a spending freeze. Possibly even more depending on the length of a spending freeze.
Understanding your spending habits is one critical piece to success with money.
Throughout a spending freeze, keep a journal of the items you passed on and didn’t spend money. With evaluation, it will show where your weaknesses are and what changes you can make going forward.
Grab a copy of the Spending Wish list in our FREE resource library.
Picking up an item here or there will destroy your chances of becoming a millionaire.
2. Save Money
A penny saved is a penny earned.
We work hard for every single dollar, so why are we so tempted to spend that same dollar because something is cheap?
A spending freeze is a great time to jumpstart an emergency fund, pay off debt faster, or start saving for your money goals.
3. Living with Less
Aah! One of my personal favorite benefits of a spending freeze.
Since I'm not buying anything, there is less stuff coming into my house.
Too many times we get overwhelmed with stuff – yet we can't control the stop buying aspect.
Honestly, it is important to conquer your clutter and this might be the time to do.
When you clean out the basement, closet, or toy room, it becomes blatantly obvious how much money was wasted.
4. Frugal Lifestyle
Another benefit of a spending freeze is afterwards many people decide to live a frugal lifestyle.
For us personally, when we paid off $53,000 in debt, we had to drastically cut spending for that one year. Many of those spending habits have never come to our lives.
Some people may call it minimalism or simple living or being frugal.
How Long Should a Spending Freeze Be?
A week. Two weeks. A month. A year.
It is your choice on how long a spending freeze should be.
Personally, I recommend two weeks for your first spending freeze. It is long enough to truly access your spending, but short enough to have success.
It is too easy to splurge before and after with a one-week spending freeze.
When we have held a spending freeze for a month or longer, it seems much harder to complete and the completion rate is much, much lower.
Spending Freeze Rules / Guidelines
To have a successful spending freeze, here are guidelines to help you succeed:
1. Commit to a time frame.
Decide what will and won't work for your household.
Don't be shy on telling people about your spending freeze. One key to success is to have support with others participating as well!
Try for at least a two-week spending freeze or a month.
2. Categories to Include
Decide which categories are allowed and which aren’t. (Pick a copy of the Budget Plan to help you).
When I do a spending freeze, I focus on all of the fun spending categories. Those items I truly don't need.
Maybe it the grocery budget you struggle with. Learn how to lower the grocery budget when doing a spending freeze.
The other way to look at it is decide from the budget which items money can be spent on and eliminate the rest.
3. Make it Harder to Spend Money
This seems so obvious. But, it needs to happen.
Ways to make it harder to spend money:
- Freeze your credit cards.
- Leave money at home.
- Use cash only. Check out these cash envelopes to help you succeed.
- Remove automatic payment info at your favorite online stores.
- Try hard to forget your credit card number.
Another way is to see who can go longer without spending any money. Make it a challenge!
4. Don’t spend money
A spending freeze can't happen if you constantly spend money.
Stick to it.
Don't spend any money for the specified time frame.
5. Say No
This is a hard one for many people.
Don’t feel ashamed for saying no.
Everyone else is headed to happy hour, but you are on a spending freeze. You have a couple options:
- Participate in happy hour and break your challenge.
- Go home and not spend money.
- Encourage others to find a free activity like game night at your place.
Personally, I prefer to spin the spending freeze in my favor of not saying no and still participating with the group.
With kids – just say no.
It is actually beneficial for them to watch you save money and change your spending habits.
6. Tell Others
Be open and honest about the spending freeze with friends and family. Also, share your reason to participate.
If they don't support you, then distance yourself during the spending freeze. Afterwards, share with them how much money you saved.
7. Make a Plan for that Money Saved
Most important – decide where the spending freeze money will go.
Savings? Pay off debt? Vacation? Emergency fund?
Make sure you have an idea on where the money will go. If not, then you are right back in the same spending cycle.
A successful spending freeze is possible with a solid budget.
Here are some budgeting tips to help you succeed:
- How to Budget Money and Still Enjoy Life
- 9 Surprising Advantages of Budgeting your Money
- The Best Methods of Budgeting You Need to Know
- How to Make a Budget in 7 Simple Steps
- How to Overcome When Ends Don't Meet
Spending Freeze Recap
Are you up for a Spending Freeze? A chance to spend no money?
A spending freeze is beneficial to understand the role of money in your life. Truly understand what is more important in life.
If you believe there is no possible way to eliminate any of your spending and feel you are already spending a small amount of money, I challenge you to try a spending freeze. Every dollar adds up. Especially when make the spending freeze a longer timeframe.
Also, a spending freeze forces you to become more creative with what you already own or free resources like our beautiful outdoors.
Not ready to commit to a spending freeze yet? Pin it for later.