Spending Less

It must be the time of year. I went on a 60 day spending freeze in August last year and I’m at it again. I must do a lot of spending between the holidays and now. Funny how that works. August must be my, “Oh my gosh stop spending so much money” spell. So here we go. These are the rules:

  1. I’m allowing myself to keep up with my bi-weekly gel manicures. Because I make the rules, okay? Plus my nail tech Julie is awesome and I’d miss her.
  2. No shopping for clothes, purses, shoes, makeup, home decor or unnecessary office supplies.
  3. No unnecessary travel (I’ll be going to Cleveland this weekend for WMC Fest and Chicago/Indianapolis for Haute Blog).
  4. Adam and I budget weekly for occasional social events + eating out and we’ll continue to do so.

In the past 12 months – Adam and I have done a lot of traveling and for the first time ever I invested a lot of money into my business (in the form of camera gear). While I don’t regret any of it – it’s financially draining and I’m okay with practicing some self-control in the fall/winter months.

But despite the financial ease that a spending freeze brings – I’m also very looking forward to the emotional challenge too. I’m an emotional spender. When I work a crazy week, I shop. When I’m in a creative rut, I start browsing J.Crew online. When money is tight, I still think shopping is a good idea (worst idea ever)?

So, here I am again Internet friends. Sharing my weakness and hoping to feel some sense of accountability over the next 2 months. Here are some ways I plan to curb that shopping desire:

  • Perhaps an Instagram “Shop My Closet/House” sale? I’ve heard great things and horror stories on how those all go down. Thoughts?
  • Swap books via snail mail. I’m shipping my copy of Sharp Objects to Melissa this week!
  • Opt for an afternoon at the park, a long walk with Adam or a workout when I’m itching to spend. I hardly do any of those things these days.
  • Adam just made a gallon of cold brew coffee yesterday! While we love to support our local coffee shops, I spend A LOT at coffeeshops.
  • Visit the Columbus Museum of Art a lot (we’re members).
  • Enter a lot of blog giveaways (ha) and hope that I get Everlane credits?
  • Actually iron half of my clothes (which will double my wardrobe).

Anyone else on a spending freeze? How often do you enforce them? Ever see a pattern? Here’s to responsibility! 

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Comments (48)

  • I should probably do the same thing! Love the reminder, Allie.

  • I have to do this every once in a while also. I am frozen right now actually, due to the fact that we just bought a house and are remodeling and buying appliances. So I suppose I am just spending on necessary housing things instead of little things, like a new lipgloss I want really bad. Those few dollars quickly add up.

    p.s. Have fun in Chicago!

  • This is such a good idea! I was planning on doing on for next month? Do you find it more helpful doing the freeze for 60 days instead of 30?

    • Yeah I just feel like a month isn’t long enough for me!! 60 days tends to see me through two self-employed “pay days” and I’m able to see more savings.

  • YES! As I go back to school I’m (trying) to enforce a spending freeze, and it’s really hard! I like your idea of creating very specific rules for the couple months. Question, do you find yourself spending too much (or just feeling like you are) after your spending freeze is over? I tend to go in cycles where I really cut back, and then reward myself when it’s over by spending too much – I think this means I need better spending/budgeting habits in general!

    • YES! I do find myself spending way more after the 60 days is up. It’s bad and I’m going to try to NOT do it this time. Really defeats the purpose haha.

  • I made a committment this year to make sure what I buy are things I either really truly need or really truly love and have a real place in my life. It’s been very freeing.

  • Man, I understand you. In fact, I should be doing the same!
    All options sound good, except book exchange. I love all of my books. My treasures!!!

    Good luck!!! :D

    • I just recently realized I have a handful of books that were more “guilty pleasures” or popular than my prized possession books that I’d be willing to trade. Thanks for the sweet comment, Kelly.

  • Amazon Prime is my weakness. They make it too easy for me to impulse buy! One click! I try to justify most of my purchases off of there because they’re usually household items that I do use, but I should really be more conscious of my spending in general.

    • Oh yeah Amazon prime and their stinkin’ free shipping!! Makes me feel like I should buy it haha. I did find, however, that their allergy meds are way cheaper so I had to stock up before my freeze.

  • My oh my, this is just what I need to do as well. Plane tickets + a few tech upgrades and my bank account is crying. Now is the perfect time though!

    Love that you’re keeping your manicures – little treats are important (and those are relaxing).

    • Oh I bet! And yeah I had keep my manicures. It’s the one way that I spoil myself and my hands are always in front my clients (photography or meetings).

  • Oof. What is it about the whole “I think I should buy all the things when the bank account is low” syndrome? Gah! I’m gonna talk to Nate, but we’ll probably jump on board with this, too! If you want to do a double date (plus these tiny people who follow us around all day), we have membership passes to the zoo and can bring two friends for free!

  • “Because I make the rules, okay?” haha, I think that’s awesome!

    Whenever I’m on a spending freeze, I stop using my credit and debit card, and withdraw a certain amount of cash. And if I run out of cash, then I run out of cash, but I can’t use the card! It definitely makes me plan what I spend on…

    Best of luck!

    • Hehe thanks :) And you’re right, definitely need to stop carrying my cards. Too easy to drop money on something. Withdrawing cash is always our best practice.

  • I totally hear you on the ironing thing. Now when I do shop, I avoid clothes that require it.

  • I like to plan my week of meals on Sundays, I think it helps with saving money on unnecessary food expenses throughout the week (they add up!) Set your food budget for the week and try to stick as close to it as possible.

    I plan every meal from Mon-Sun, make a shopping list and stick to it. I usually over-cook for dinner because that = leftovers which = lunch the next day.

    This is also a good way to be on a regimented diet as it reduces the need to eat out and clears up the ongoing “what’s for dinner” question we all ask ourselves daily.

    • This helps me too! I often meal plan on Sunday or Monday afternoon and hit the grocery. If I have good food in the kitchen, I don’t default to Chipotle. And I feel great.

  • kellylaine

    I’m with you, Allie. I’m trying to only spend money on groceries, which I’m hoping will lead to more cooking & packing, less eating at restaurants. The majority of my money goes to weekend social events so I’m really trying to pull back in that regard, as well. More game nights and backyard bonfires, less meeting up at bars. Good luck!

    • That’s definitely what I’m doing. When we are trying to save money we initially are like “Oh let’s cut down our grocery budget,” but that’s NOT correct. We just buy a lot of groceries and like hosting pot-luck type gatherings. We should, like, hang out.

  • I feel you! I think it’s summer and all the eating out/activities that drain me by August. I’m on an eat out freeze. I like to see how many meals I can make from random leftover food before needing to go back to the store…the result is not always tasty hah

    • I totally agree! That’s a good idea about leftovers. To save money I’ll just combine all the foods and it’s sometimes a weird combination hahaha.

  • It’s definitely easy once you start! I made it my goal to not buy any clothes / accessories make up / things that aren’t essential this WHOLE summer (as in half of may, all of june, july and now august) and I have stuck with it! I haven’t bought anything. My aunt and grandmother each took me shopping once (I’m the only girl, there are only boy cousins and siblings) so I haven’t been completely without new things, but I’ve done so much restyling and making my own things, it has been incredible. My goal was to save up enough to fly to Germany to visit my BEST friend next summer, and it’s worked! Good luck with your saving money!

    • That’s amazing, Juliette! I love it. When you have a great goal like that it can be easier. I’m so glad you get to visit your best friend!!

  • Nice! I’m doing something similar. Starting August 1st I committed to buying no new clothes, shoes, jewelry, or accessories for a whole year. I also found myself spending money on a lot of stuff I didn’t need. Not only will I save money but I’ll be forced to actually use and love the things I already have. Money stress can be the WORST so I feel better knowing that I’m being a little more responsible with my cash :) Good luck!

    I was also thinking of doing a shop my closet sale, but on my blog…but I might just stick with Ebay…it’s reliable and fast.

    • That’s AMAZING. I applaud you. Keep me posted and I’ll look for updates for sure. I do think I could do it. I don’t ever NEED clothes/shoes/accessories. Hmmm you have me thinkin. And I agree re: eBay. Sometimes it’s just easier to post an Instagram photo I guess.

  • I’m an emotional shopper as well. It’s definitely a tough habit to break!

    I did a similar challenge a few months ago and some of my new healthy shopping habits stuck around. I’m at least more aware of when I’m shopping for the sake of shopping!

    Good luck!


  • I tried not to buy anything new for a month. And it seemed like the hardest thing to do. But I should definitely sit down and figure out how to cut my spendings. Great reminder!

  • My roommate and I had this convo last night! What is it about August? Must be summer splurging!

  • I’ll be at WMC Fest, too! Last year was definitely one of the most career-changing weekends of my life. I’m so excited, despite my flight being at 6 a.m. tomorrow.

  • ah, with the move to Chicago… my life has been a spending freeze!

    I get by fashion wise by borrowing from my super stylish friends when I have an event to go to. This way I kind of felt my wardrobe was fresh/new without having to purchase anything!

    I also sold some of the old designer stuff I didn’t want any more on “Poshmark” and used that as “play” money for when I got a spending urge I couldn’t curb!

    I also found myself going to a lot more events. Most don’t require tickets and have complimentary apps/drinks. It was a cost effective way to feel like I went OUT.

    GOOD LUCK lady!


    • Events are a good idea. Movies in the park. Networking. Etc. You’re a genius! Also I miss ya! Can’t wait to visit you in Chi town soon :)

  • I love the iron your clothes one. So true! Sometimes (very rarely, mostly a novelty) we have ironing parties where we sit on the floor and iron everything while watching a movie. We feel so productive!
    I imagine the coffeehouse one is unfairly hard on you, working at home. As a stay at home mom, I’m out snacking all the time too. It’s important!

    • Ironing during movies is kind of genius because I can’t only watch movies. I get too bored and need to multitask (not really a great thing). What’s your favorite go-to coffee drink?

  • Such a great idea. And I know exactly how you feel about not having money but still “window shop”. I get the worst buyer’s remorse in those moments.

    As for shop my closet, those are tricky. I investigated it a bit and it was so confusing. There is Poshmark that walks you through a lot of it but they take commission. You can also post your own photos on Instagram or social media and order free flat rate boxes from the postal service. I got all the way there and it all became such a hassle, like I had to be a distributor through an online shop. If you know how to do a lot of shipping, go for it!

    • Poshmark! Totally forgot about that. I recently saw that a girl did an Instagram shop my closet and someone was complaining and claiming they never owed money (after she shipped). Sounds like a huge headache!!!

  • Excited that you are writing about your spending freeze. Have you checked out Anna’s site about her Spending Fast http://andthenwesaved.com/ ? She has some great tips on how to save money and still occupy your time during a spending fast.

  • Don’t forget to utilize your library-both for books (and audio books, DVDs, magazines etc.) but also for events :)

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