Every year my husband and I have one month where we do what we call a ‘spending freeze.’ Basically for an entire month we don’t spend money on anything we don’t need to survive. So, what does this mean exactly? And, how did it go? I’m glad you asked. Here are our tips for a spending freeze and what we learned from it.
So you absolutely need food to survive. But, you don’t need to buy coffee from Starbucks and you don’t need to eat out to survive. Pack your lunches my friend. Time to use the coffee-maker at home or work. Plus, before you grocery shop it is a MUST that you actually look in your cupboards and freezer and use the food you have FIRST. Chances are, like us, you are going to find some hidden treasures that make up a delicious meal and you will save considerable amounts on food. The first spending freeze we ever did our goal was to spend ZERO dollars. We did pay our bills of course, but then we used up all our food in our cupboards. It was amazing!
Learning to Say No
The biggest benefit to us when we do a month long spending freeze is getting used to saying no. It may seem silly, but sometimes you have to train yourself. If you say yes to going out for coffee with a coworker most days at work, it may be hard to say no at first. But, pretty much everyone I told about our freeze understood and even thought about doing it themselves. They’ll understand. And, when you tell them how much money you saved I bet they’ll be freezing soon!
Finding Holes in the Budget
A spending freeze is always a great time to find the holes in the budget. For example, you might not realize you are spending a lot of money on random Amazon purchases (guilty!) or downloading movies here are there to watch with the family. It all adds up and sometimes you just need to stop spending to be able to refocus and prioritize. Plus, even better, it gives you the opportunity to look at and remember what you have!
The Spending Freeze Prayer
Lord, help me to want what I have. This prayer is simple but God will change your heart and show up in ways you least expect. He is not the source of your discontent.
You have to be flexible because life happens. We were invited to a few birthday parties and so gifts were purchased. Before you start the freeze, it is a good idea to lay out any plans that are already on the calendar so that you can account for them. Some events are important to keep.
I guarantee you will be shocked at the amount of money you save. One year we saved enough to finally finish off our student loans! Every penny counts. It is a great way to talk to your kids about money and, as a family, think through what is really important.
In the end, a spending freeze can be challenging at first as you get into the rhythm. By the end of this one, we have more money in the bank, less addiction to caffeine and a better appreciation for all the gifts we have around us. Try it!
Want to get your finances in order this year? Crown Financial Ministries can help! Check out the FREE resources available to help you get on track.