Spending Freeze Challenge Begins!
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Before starting our debt free journey, I honestly had no idea what a spending freeze was. In fact, when I first heard the phrase, I thought it sounded super difficult, if not impossible. But then, I figured, "what's the worst that could happen if we give it a shot?" And boy, was I pleasantly surprised! I'm so excited to be doing our fifth spending freeze and the first for 2017. I hope you'll join us on this challenge!
First and foremost, what exactly is a spending freeze?
A spending freeze is just like going on a diet but for your finances. Instead of cutting out unhealthy foods like pizza (my fave!) going on a spending freeze or fiscal fast involves completely eliminating unnecessary spending for a specified amount of time. It is a challenge, but if done correctly you will:
- learn contentment (e.g. making homemade pizza for dinner instead of ordering takeout),
- identify any spending habits that you might need to scale back on (e.g. the number of Starbucks trips or Target runs per week), and
- save a good chunk of money (we save about $250 each time) which you can use to pay off debt!
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How long is the challenge?
The challenge starts tomorrow, Monday, February 27th and ends on Monday, March 6th. Seven days sounds like a long time but don't worry, I'll be sharing my pointers for success along the way.
Update: Missed the challenge? Not to worry, you can repeat these steps at ANY TIME! Remember to leave a comment to let me know how much you saved!
Advice on what not to do:
- Don't forget about your commitments. One important thing to remember is that the spending freeze does NOT apply to utility bills, mortgage payments, car notes and the like. Be sure to pay your bills on time in order to honor your commitments and of course, keep your lights on!
- Don't ignore family issues such as medical needs or emergencies.
- Don't fail to plan. For example, you will need to prepare your lunch the night before to avoid buying lunch at work.
- Don't overspend before or after the spending freeze. Going back to the above analogy, this would be the equivalent of overeating as soon as your diet is over thus defeating the entire purpose of trying to get your eating habits under control and shedding a few pounds. In particular, be careful with your grocery budget. You might need to grab a gallon of milk, bread and eggs right before the freeze starts...but you shouldn't be going on a huge HAUL. Once the freeze is over be sure to spend your regular budget for that week on food. There's no need to try to over compensate for the week you took off. Be sure to check upload your receipt to Ibotta after in case you can cash back on any of these items. If you use my exclusive link, you'll receive $10 for FREE after your first rebate.
BONUS: Have fun! Remember there are tons of ways to have a good time without spending a dime (yes, I just rhymed)! Examples include: hosting a potluck or wine and cheese girls' night, going for a walk around town, reading a book and the list goes on.
IMPORTANT: After the freeze ends, it's important to immediately to transfer all the money you would have spent directly into your savings account that you aren't likely to touch, or in our case, we paid down debt straight away. If you leave this money laying around for a week or two then you are much more likely to spend it and defeat the purpose of this entire challenge!
Want more money saving ideas? Then, be sure to check out 21 ways we saved in 2016! Please drop me a line in the comments below to let me know how much you saved!