One of the best ways to save some cash and jump start your savings is to do a spending freeze. Last year, our family completed one week when we did not spend any money expect bills, gas, and groceries. It was a great way to save a little cash with minimal effort.
Recently, we decided to do a spending freeze for an entire month. We did not call it a “no-spend month” because we still spent money in certain areas of our budget. However, I didn’t spend money on random items that weren’t necessities.
If you want some tips for what to do during a spending freeze, check out my 6 tips for surviving a no-spend week. Today, I want to share with you some things to do before a spending freeze because it is difficult to jump into it cold-turkey, although, not impossible if you must!
1. Decide What You Will Spend Money On
You have to spend money on some things. Decide before hand what you are willing to still purchase and what you won’t be buying. I stayed away from Target, The Dollar Tree, thrift and consignment stores, and the mall. Of course we still paid all of our bills, tithe, gasoline, diapers, groceries, out to eat, and a few random necessities.
My friend Vickie completed a spending freeze month, but she and her husband still had $20 each week to spend on what they chose. I think that was a great idea. When you know you can’t have something isn’t that when you want it the most?!
I think this is why so many diets fail. We starve ourselves to the point that, we end up quitting and over indulging. The same could be said when it comes to a spending freeze. Don’t limit yourself unrealistically to the point that it will be impossible.
2. Know The “Why”
When I read the book Money Making Mom*, the author Crystal Paine said that it is important to always know why you are doing something. Remind yourself and anyone else involved of the “why”.
Why are you choosing to complete a spending freeze? Are you saving up for something big? Are you paying off debt? When you focus on the reason you are doing this, you will be more motivated and willing to say “no” when you are tempted to buy something that wasn’t budgeted.
3. Meal Plan
Create a list of meals that your family enjoys before starting your spending freeze. Start looking for the ingredients to these meals ahead of time so that they are in your pantry and freezer ready to go.
I keep my meal planning super simple by keeping a list of about 30 meals written on a piece of paper. This list is kept in a folder with the grocery ads and my grocery notebook. Before I write out my grocery list each week, I pick 5 meals from the list. Then I write down the items for each meal that we don’t have on hand. Knowing exactly what I need to purchase, helps me stay focused and avoid purchasing food that we don’t need at the store.
4. Have Easy Meals on Stand-by
Before starting a spending freeze, decide on 4 or 5 meals that you can easily put together for those nights when you are tempted to go out to eat. If you buy convenience foods like frozen pizza or chicken tenders, you will still be saving your family money over going out to eat.
Even though I make a meal plan, there are nights when we don’t feel like eating what was planned, or I don’t have a lot of time to cook supper. Those are the nights that easy meals come in handy! I keep ingredients on hand for about 5 meals that I can whip up in less than 30 minutes. My easy meals include tacos, grilled cheese, chicken tenders, frozen pizza, and sausage balls. I like to purchase the ingredients to these meals when they go on sale and keep them in the pantry or freezer so that they are ready any day of the week!
5. Plan Activities
It is no fun just sitting at the house twiddling your thumbs because you aren’t spending money! So get creative and come up with some free activities. Get the family involved and make a list of things to do together. A great way to find free things in your neighborhood is to simply Google, “Free Things to do in _________” or “Family activities in ___________”. Social Media is also an easy way to find free activities.
A few months ago I shared a list of free places to take young children at Money Saving Mom. Check out that list for some great ideas.
6. Make a Wish List
In the midst of your spending freeze, you will probably think of things that you would like to buy. Find a specific place to write these items down. Either on a piece of paper or on the notes app of your phone. By not purchasing the item right away, you will have time to compare prices and look out for sales. Who knows? At the end of the month, you may even decide that you don’t need the item any more!
Preparing for a spending freeze can make all the difference between one that works and one that doesn’t. I hope these tips come in handy if you are planning a spending freeze some time soon. Let me know how it goes for you!
Other Posts You May Enjoy: