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A spending freeze is one of the smart ways to save money. It works best when you’re looking to overhaul your finances for various reasons like paying off your debts, building your emergency fund, and saving more money. Usually, a spending freeze lasts between a week, two weeks and a month.
What happens in a spending freeze?
The term spending freeze means you freeze your spending. This means you don’t spend a single penny. But practically, it isn’t possible to survive without spending a penny for 7 days or 14 days or 30 days.
There are a few things you need to survive, and that costs money. You need water, electricity, personal hygiene items, and obviously food. That’s why the meaning of the term ‘spending freeze’ has been modified slightly.
A spending freeze refers to the commitment you make to yourself for saving money in a predetermined time period. You commit to cut down your unnecessary expenses and not spend a penny unnecessarily.
How to do spending freeze successfully
Here are the 5 tricks to do a spending freeze successfully. Proper planning and self-discipline can help you achieve your financial goal.
1. Choose the right time frame: If you want to have a successful spending freeze, it’s best to choose a time frame that you’re comfortable with. As a beginner, it’s better to freeze your spending for 2 weeks instead of a month. That will be very tough.
Choose the time frame carefully. Don’t choose a time frame when you have your wedding anniversary. You would love to celebrate this special occasion, which might cost extra money. It’s better to budget for special occasions like this instead of trying to freeze your spending during that period. Do a spending freeze before holidays or festive season. It will help to do wonders for your finances.
The best trick is to go slow but steady. Try for 7 days to 10 days first. Don’t try to stop spending for 20 days when you’re comfortable to do only 8 days. It could backfire and you may end up spending more money post spending freeze.
2. Organize and clean out your pantry: It’s better to plan ahead for your schedule. Take inventory of your pantry and find out what items are there. Throw away all the expired items and organize them. Use all the items you have in your pantry for your meals.
Suppose you have chicken in your freezer which is a fantastic ingredient for cooking a delicious recipe. Now look at your pantry and find out what you have. If you have pasta, beans, rice, and some baking ingredients, then you can prepare a meal and a dessert without spending a dime. Google all the items you have in your pantry. Type the phrase ‘recipe’ in Google and find out all the interesting recipes that can be made quickly.
Once I had chicken, bell peppers, and beans in my pantry. When I looked in Google, I found an easy Brazilian stew recipe. My family loved the stew after trying it.
Don’t forget to fill your tank up with gas.
3. Inform everyone what you’re doing: Inform everyone that you’re doing a spending freeze. Your friends don’t know you are on a spending diet. Unless you inform them, it would be difficult for you to say ‘no’ to drinks, dinners at restaurants, and movies. Explain why you’re doing this. Tell them that you’re saving money and can’t afford a cup of latte from Starbucks.
Initially, you may feel weird but gradually everything will be sorted out. Go out with your colleagues but eat your lunch later. Carry your brown bag to the office and inspire others for eating healthy and saving dollars.
4. Learn to resist temptations: Last minute problems and opportunities are horrendous. It’s easy to say ‘no’ to a spicy chicken burger or a hot dog. But what about your daughter’s last-minute field trip? What will you do when your best friend whom you haven’t met for a long time invites you for dinner in a beautiful restaurant? What if there is a great stock clearance sale at your favorite store?
These are big temptations. You have to learn to say ‘no’. Look for the ways to get everything without spending a dime.
5. Use your creativity: You have to be creative for having a successful spending freeze. There is no other way out. Look for free events and entertainment. Watch tutorials on how to fix things on your own. Watch videos to know how to make gifts and more.
Don’t feel bored just because you can’t have dinners at expensive restaurants. Don’t feel bad if you can’t spend money on stuff. Focus on what is important. Spend quality time with your family. You could host a potluck with friends. You could read books from the library too. If you love watching movies, browse Youtube or Netflix.
Remember, a spending freeze can help you save money not only at the present time but also in the future. The creative ideas can help you to be more satisfied with what you have.
The biggest benefit of a spending freeze is that it helps you save money. But apart from that, a spending freeze also helps to change your mindset. For instance, before a spending freeze, you wouldn’t think twice before buying a lipstick or a water bottle. After a spending freeze, paying $1.49 for a lipstick may seem to be a complete waste of money. You learn to appreciate what you have instead of pining for what you don’t have, which is great for your financial health.
Have you ever tried a spending freeze? What was the biggest challenge for you? Were you successful? Share your experience with us.
Author bio – Stacy B Miller is a web enthusiast, blogger and content editor at Oak View Law Group. She writes articles on different financial topics like debt, credit, tax, and personal finance. You can connect with her at Facebook, Twitter.