Spending Freeze

If you didn’t see my news from yesterday, I’ll be venturing out on my own and freelancing full-time starting in August! I’m thankful to have a contract position with a phenomenal studio here in Columbus (until May) but Adam and I budgeted together and we realized we need to cut back on excessive spending. After we paid of debt, it was easy to feel like we could easily increase our living expenses but we still have financial goals to attain!

We’re taking various small trips in August, a big trip out to Philadelphia in September and then a tropical vacation in October so a lot of our extra cash will be used towards those expenses. I decided that I would go on a spending freeze until October 1st since I assumed that I would want to buy a few new outfits before our vacation. That’s two whole months and I’m about 85% sure that I can do it. The spending freeze includes things like clothes, jewelry, and just extra things I don’t need. Obviously we’ll still budget money to spend throughout the week on things like date night, occasional drinks with friends, and those unexpected trips to CVS for things like paper towels (ha).

I’ve come up with a few “workarounds” to ease the pain:

  • Host a small nail polish swap with my friends in September
  • Utilize my Birchbox points! (If you want to sign up through my referral link, be my guest!)
  • Sell a few clothing items to Plato’s Closet if I need to buy anything small
  • Actually read the books sitting on my bookshelf when I want to buy new ones (to only sit on my shelf)
  • Take advantage of free events here in Columbus!
  • Borrow/swap clothes with friends for special occassions

Have you ever gone on a spending freeze? Any tips or advice? 

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Comments (36)

  • Hey Allie – best of luck. I know you can do it.

  • Hey Allie!

    I am so with you on this. I tried to do a spending freeze in July after having gone on so many trips and taking a step back on my second job but then it seemed like I ended up spending even more with John’s mom’s surprise party and then paying for a sitter for Jaxson… so I decided to try again in Aug. No useless spending in all of Aug! I’m going to get on the juice kick again (because its so cheap and healthy) and basically just only go out once a week for dinner/drinks, take the dog to the lake or go to the gym for activities if I get bored and freeze my urge to buy clothes/books/anything online. Good luck on your freeze and let’s keep each other posted on fun free ideas!

    • Yay!!! So glad I’ll have a partner in this :) I totally relate with hosting parties and travel. It really drains your budget. I figure summer is a good time to go on a freeze since there are so many free events or just go outside! Let’s have a pool day sometime soon! And I’ll share tips… Hurray!

  • I know you can do it! We should do some potluck/cookout things to save more too.

    • Thanks Jess!! And yes we do! What are you up to this weekend? I’ll probably end up texting you actually haha.

  • Felicia

    Being perpetually broke for the past four years has made me a master of spending freezes. Columbus is a great place because there are several free things going on every week/weekend. http://taniaexplorescolumbus.com is a great place to check for events. Stop carrying your debit card around (or keep it but really promise yourself that you won’t use it). Allot yourself a spending amount for the month and only pay for things in cash. Once you’re out of cash, you’re done spending.

    It takes a ton of self control, but I’m sure you can do it! Congrats on freelancing full-time!

    • Thanks for the tips Felicia! I’ll definitely check out the blog- so awesome. And yes carrying cash is KEY!! I know I can do it but it will definitely be difficult. It just NEEDS to be done.

  • A nail polish swap sounds genius! Or just have weekly meet-ups with the girls to paint nails at someone’s house instead of going out?

  • Ugh, budgets . . . I admire you so much for this! I think I need to implement some of those cutbacks – the buying books I’ll never read thing is beyond true for me.

    • It’s so weird- I have like 100 books in my Amazon wish list yet I can’t make time to read all the ones I already own!

  • Unsubscribe from all those Rue La La / Gilt Group / Groupon-type emails. I found that when they weren’t showing up in my inbox every day I stopped having the urge to shop so much. Also, order things you need online. I noticed when I stopped walking through Target in search or one or two things I didn’t walk out of the store less $100.

    • Oh those are both SO good. I definitely have just been deleting those types of emails…now I need to unsubscribe!

      And the dreaded $100 Target curse. It’s inevitable. I need to avoid that store LOL

  • Lots of good ideas here! I’m on a spending freeze as well, so I know how you feel! Just convince yourself that you don’t have any money to spend (get yourself in a state of mind where spending even a little bit of money is a BIG DEAL) and it’ll be easier to avoid spending. You can do it!

    • Thanks Siv!! You’re right- I need to realize that any EXTRA money as a purpose (vacations and savings) and that buying things won’t make me any happier. Good luck on your freeze – keep me posted on any tips or if you need motivation!

  • I’m going on a spending freeze this month too. I eat out way to much and have a shopping problem. So I am going to cook more and wear whats in my closet. I’m going to Puerto Rico next month and I need to save every penny.

    • I totally get it. And yes I’ll be bringing my lunch to work instead of going out. It really adds up – seems silly to waste most of your money on food. Better to treat yourself every so often.

  • Oh, I have been laid off/in between jobs/self-employed and scrimping/saving for travel enough times to have this one NAILED. I’ve done it enough that it’s no biggie for me anymore to stop spending on clothes/small luxuries for myself, etc. The hardest one for me is to still have a social life. So here’s what I do to keep those costs down:

    -potluck dinner or appetizer parties with friends.
    -I basically hardly drink alcohol anymore, not because I’m anti-alcohol but it can really rack up the costs when what you REALLY want is to have fun with your friends. Maybe once every couple weeks I’ll have glass or two of something but that’s about it.
    -I do a lot of hikes, dog walks, and cheap coffee dates for low or no cost activities where I can hang out with my friends
    -Look for free events to go to! Fireworks? Boat ride? Swimming and going to the beach? Does your city do free outdoor movie screenings in the summer?
    -Get crafty and fix or make things that you’d otherwise be tempted to throw out or spend money on. I avoid wearing stuff that needs tailoring or needs a button to be fixed or whatever. Just get it done and you’ll feel like you have a new item of clothing… or embellish/change the hemline on an existing piece of clothing and it will feel like you just got a new item for your wardrobe.
    -Keep little pots of fresh herbs rather than buying them when you need them. Brew your own coffee at home instead of going to cafe’s all the time. Use the library instead of buying new books.
    -Expand on that nail polish swap idea: What about making it a nail polish/jewelry/clothing/handbag/book swap?

    Okay that’s some of my best tips! Hope it helps!

    • OMG so many good tips!!! You rock!

      I love them all. I’ll for sure share ways to save cash and hopefully your advice will help others too :)

      • I came back because I had a feeling there’d be some awesome tips…and I was right. Also, no plans this weekend other than a meeting on Saturday morning. Let’s do something!

        • SO many great tips. I’ll text you about this weekend. My friend Catherine will be here but we’re pretty open to anything!

  • I’ve tried before. And failed. But I’m really impressed that you’re going to attempt it! I like that you came up with some ways to work around the freeze completely too. You may have just inspired me to try my own spending freeze for a few months :)

    Good luck my dear!


    • YAY! Let me know if you attempt. I know I’ll slip up a FEW times (maybe before the wedding we go to) but I really want to succeed!

  • Jessica

    I recently did no spend June with some girls at work – The rules were that we couldn’t buy clothes, shoes or accessories, but we had a $100 emergency budget. I’m proud to say, by simply avoiding the mall, thinking of it like a game, and checking in with the other girls for accountability, I only spent $40 the whole month!! Swap in whatever ’emergency fund’ makes sense (It could be $10, $200 or somewhere in between) and apply it to whatever items you need to cut back on. It really worked and I was super proud of myself. I also find that by giving myself a limit (e.g. I have $5 to spend this week), I can stick within it, rather than just feeling like I’m always saying ‘no’ to myself (though that’s probably a good thing too :) )

    Wow, that was long, but what I really mean to say is, Go Allie, you can do it!!! I think it’s a great idea :)

    • It’s so good to hear that it went well!! I like the idea of an emergency budget. I also like the idea of setting small budgets (like $5 a week) for even small treats. Ill keep you posted on how I’m doing :)

  • I totally think you can do it and so proud of you for even having a plan set up.

    When I had a spending freeze, it really gave me a new perspective on my closet and how i dress. I totally downsized from quantity to quality. I barely have any clothes but i LOVE the ones i have. plus to be honest, i don’t think i could have been where my husband and i are now if i kept up my lifestyle like i did when i was at a 9 to 5 job.

    It’s hard at times because I had to separate the shopping with the emotional feelings.

    • Diana! So encouraging to hear. I’m also at that place where I don’t think we’ll accomplish some of our goals if I shop the way I do now. I don’t tend to buy expensive clothing but rather…a LOT of cheaper clothing. I’d rather be where you are next year and have a smaller wardrobe with pieces I love.

      Thanks for the comment :)

  • the last few months the biggest thing for my husband and I has been making coffee at home instead of getting our caffeine fix elsewhere. At this point we’re barely making ends meet because of medical bills coming in, so these tips are very helpful. I like the library and free events suggestions. You can still have fun and be social without spending money. Good luck with your spending freeze! Hope you’ll be sharing updates. :)

    • Shaina-YES! People spend so much money on beverages and coffee fixes. Thankfully we’ve found an easy fix: cold brew! We make a huge batch every Sunday and it lasts all week. Iced coffee in the summer is perfect.

      I will definitely be sharing updates! Thanks for the comment :)

  • geez, i go on vacation and miss out on all the fun!!

    fyi, i’m a xs or small on top and a 3 on the bottom (xs or small for dresses) if you ever need to borrow anything for a special occasion, i have LOTS of clothes (certified thrifting expert). ;)

    but i gots big feets, can’t help in that department.

    • I WILL be borrowing your clothes. This is happening.

      Ps I was living vicariously through your vacation photos. Lunch date next week? I can bring you Chipotle and an updated logo….

  • This is so timely – I am in the same boat! My bf and I just bought our first house, so before we move in, everything needs to be socked away for things like paint, fix-ups, materials, etc. I have bought a few decor things (which are allowed..;) but nothing else. These are great tips, I hope you can do it! It will be worth it once you’re on that vacation, that sounds lovely!

    Good tip in the comments about unsubscribing from Rue La La, Gilt, etc. I love to shop those sales but I end up with things I don’t need. Definitely unsubbing now!

    • Unsubscribing to those emails (and avoiding Target and Fab.com) have really helped!!

      Congrats on the house :) we hope to be there next year! I also have found that budgeting realistically for mini trips or when we have guests visit is really key. Yes we might WANT to stay super frugal but if we aren’t realistic, then we over spend even more and dip into money saved for other things.

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