Save Money with a Spending Freeze
Have you ever taken a break from spending money? If so, for how long? One or two days? Three? What if we told you that it’s possible to not spend money for an entire week? Of course, everyone’s financial situation is different, but if you’re up for the challenge, here’s how to complete your seven-day spending freeze.
First, choose your starting date and mark it on your calendar. If you don’t know what your weekly budget is, track your spending for a few weeks beforehand. This will give you an idea of how much you can save and it will make you more aware of unnecessary spending.
Just before you begin your freeze, gas up your car and go grocery shopping. Plan a menu for the week and only buy what you’ll need. Don’t stock up on excessive amounts of food the day before — that would defeat the purpose of this exercise. Your goal is to use what you have for the next seven days.
Exclusions & Exceptions
Your monthly bills need to be kept current, so make sure to take care of those. If possible, choose a period when you don’t have to pay any reoccurring payments. Additionally, you should always pay the necessary costs of emergencies (basement flooding, broken bones, alien invasion, etc.) and move your spending freeze to another time, if necessary.
Next, set aside your estimated weekly budget and put those funds in a separate account such as money market savings. This will be your backup fund, but otherwise it is off limits. And now, with your gas tank full, your refrigerator full, your bills paid and your money set aside, you are ready to begin.
Spend each of the seven days using what you already have. Follow your meal plan, pack lunches from home and don’t stop for fast food on the way home from work. You may even have unexpected leftovers from dinner that can double as lunch for the next day — which will extend the life of your pantry supplies.
Try to avoid unnecessary travel during this week. Oftentimes, we don’t think about the gas we use when we’re out and about. If you can, walk or use a bicycle to run errands. And instead of driving to the city to see a movie, for example, watch something at home that you already own. It’s perfectly acceptable to be a homebody during your freeze.
You did it! And you now have a full week’s budget available to pay off debt, complete a home repair, or put toward a long-range goal. Resist the urge to spend your newfound funds on something frivolous. Keep increasing your savings to you can make your money work harder.
Spending freezes are like juice cleanses — they should be done in moderation. But if you were able to handle a week, you might want to consider periodic freezes several times throughout the year and use the money to make deposits in an America First dedicated savings account for future needs. You’ll be surprised how quickly your financial resources grow when you’re not spending them.