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Are you looking for little extra money in your bank account at the end of the month? My desire to put extra money to pay off debt turned into a vacation fund for my family, a boost to our savings account and so much more.

Whether you are doing a spending freeze to save up for a vacation, or just to keep your family from spending money, this can be such a helpful way to reset your finances.

However, I’ll be the first to admit that participating in a Spending Freeze is not easy. But it is definitely worth it.

Not only do you get a chance to “reset” your finances, but you gain a deeper appreciation for what you already own.

We live in a materialistic society, where shopping is just a part of everyday life. We seek instant gratification and shop on impulse. Completing a Spending Freeze means you’ve been intentional with your spending and managed to use up the things you already had. That’s huge!

I spoke about this topic on my Savings Segment on Fox. Watch the replay video here:

 

 

After your spending freeze is over, you could run out and start swiping your debit and credit cards and never skip a beat, or, what I hope you will do, is evaluate your spending and be intentional as you spend money in the days ahead.

Here are a few of the lessons I learned while on a spending freeze that can help encourage you to keep saving money after your spending freeze is over.

Quickly Calculate Your Savings

The first thing (and most exciting thing) to do after your Spending Freeze is over is to calculate how much you’ve saved.

And it’s WAY EASIER than you probably think.

While this is not a super scientific accurate method (and you probably know as an accountant, I LOVE my accounting methods…) but this is a fast enough exercise that you can accomplish so that you’ll be motivated to keeping a few new habits into next month.

Basically, take a look at your bank account from the same day of last month. Notice how much more money is in there. Just a quick glance will show you where your money was going before the freeze and how much more you likely have now.

So take the number from one month ago yesterday and compare it to yesterday (so if today is 9/30 then you would take the balance in your checking on 8/29 and compare it to your bank balance on 9/29). NOTE: you have to play a little attention to make sure there aren’t any outstanding bills to pay. But that is a quick “at-a-glance” method to see how much extra money you have.

And it was all saved because you sort of “froze your liquid assets”. In other words, you pretended like your money wasn’t even there, forcing you to choose alternatives to get through the month and keeping you from haphazardly spending money.

Now that you’ve seen how much you were able to save, you might keep doing some of those spending freeze habits such as not drinking soda next month. Or maybe after doing these frugal new habits for the last 30 days, you now have a rhythm for planning your meals or lunches and you can continue saving money by sticking to your new habits.

How We Saved $975 Over The Month

When I took a look at our bank account just before our Spending Freeze was over, I found that we had an EXTRA $975 in there.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME????

How in the world do you have an extra $975 in your checking account when you feel broke all the time?

I’ll tell you what we did during our Spending Freeze that I can honestly say has to be where the money came from:

We didn’t eat out at all. No Outback. No McDonald’s and no Chick-fil-A.
We didn’t go to Starbucks for the first 2 weeks of the month, then when we did, we used reward stars to pay, none of our own cash.
We went out of town with my parents who paid for our hotel and our food for 4 days.
We stayed away from Target and if we DID go shopping, we ferociously stuck to our list.
We didn’t buy anything from Amazon.
We ate all the bags of Brussel Sprouts (along with a ton of other food) out of our freezer and ate out of our Pantry saving half our grocery spending each week.
We had several game nights and card tournaments and rented a free RedBox movie instead of going to any movies, mini-golf nor Disney.

Shop More Focused

Going into a store like Target or another store can be extremely difficult. It’s easy to lose focus and spend more than you had intended.

When I go into these stores now, I’m not digging through sale bins or “just browsing.” My shopping trips have a purpose, and I’m focused on that purpose.

During this spending freeze, I learned only to buy things that I genuinely need, and this has carried over into my shopping trips as well.

Live On Less

This doesn’t just apply to stuff, but food as well.

During our spending freeze, I learned to be more content with the things I had, what was available to me, and accept the things I cannot change.

Even after an entire month of no spending, we STILL had food in the house.

In reality, we usually overestimate how much we need in our lives, and overspend because of it.

Re-Evaluate Your True “Needs”

Many things I once thought were necessities turned out to be just “wants” instead of “needs”.

During our spending freeze, we chose not to eat out and only use the food we had in the house.

On nights when things were crazy, or we got busy, eating out wasn’t an option, so we did something else instead.

We packed lunches and brought them with us, kept snacks on hand while we were out.

Cut Out The Extras

This goes along the same lines as reevaluating your needs, but what do I mean by extras? I mean anything that is not considered a necessity for you to survive should be analyzed if you truly want to spend on it, and forego a bigger goal such as paying off debt.

The famous financial guru, Dave Ramsey, refers to this as having “Gazelle-like intensity” and it means that you are SO focused on your goal, you will forego normal living in order to get your debt paid off asap. Even if “asap” takes a few years.

I’m less drastic than Dave because I think there needs to be a little living in this intense period.

However, as you go through a spending freeze, you realize that things such as Netflix, haircuts, and even gifts are considered optional and it IS very possible to come up with a cheaper (or free) alternative.

Once the month is over, and you have a nice chunk of cash to show for all that effort and lack of spending, you’ll have a clearer view of what is truly “extra” and which you might be able to continue to live without.

Start Using Coupons

For most people, when you go on a spending freeze you won’t be able to survive on what you have in the fridge, pantry, and freezer without also filling in with some grocery store items. This might be fruits and vegetables midway through the month, milk (or half n half) when you run out, or eggs.

Couponing is a great way to pay for your groceries instead of your own cash, even when you are allowed to spend money!

Using coupons can be a great way to stretch your monthly grocery budget. Look for coupons and match them with sales at your grocery store to walk out with great deals for just pennies.

Plus, you can ease into it by just using printable coupons (instead of needing to buy the newspaper for the coupons). Couponing can be a short-term hobby for this month just to help you get WAY more for your money as you start spending again.

Learn how to coupon in my Free Online Video Coupon Class here.

The Secret To Success

If you were to ask me what was the ONE thing that made all the difference in sticking to a month-long spending freeze, therefore, causing our $975 success, I’d say that it was keeping busy and doing without (yes, that’s really two things… but they work together).

Have you ever gone to summer camp or church camp? You get there and you realize that you forgot ___________ (something important that you can’t believe you forgot to bring) but you are already unpacked and the activities are beginning in about an hour. And your schedule will be booked NON-STOP until you arrive back home next week.

That’s a spending freeze.

You keep busy and you do without so that you don’t really notice that you didn’t REALLY need that thing you thought was so important when you arrived at camp.

If I were going to be completely honest with you, I’d tell you that I missed LOTS of things while we were not spending money. On a daily basis. But I refused to give in to the impulse of buying things immediately and instead tried to figure out FREE alternatives.

No galoshes when we were stuck on a golf course in the rain 2 hours away from home. (We used plastic Walmart bags we had with us and tied them around our shoes.)
No Dasani Black Cherry Soda. (I added lemon oil to my water and mixed stevia in it to sweeten it.)
No new phone charger cords. (We are all sharing the cords we have and I’m regularly charging our portable backup chargers each night to use while a charger is already in use.)
No new rugs for our living/dining room. (We’re vacuuming each day and I’ll find a deal on rugs next month.)
No going to the Movies or Mini-Golf or the Mall. (And now the kids want to continue doing a weekly family game night because we had so much fun!!)

That naturally begs the question to ask yourself… is the freeze aggravating when you do without things you want? Yes.

Is it hard to stick with it when everything in you says GO TO STARBUCKS? Yes, it is hard!

And, then, you have to ask yourself, but is the freeze truly “worth it”? I’d say a resounding YES!!

{It’s like those old MasterCard commercials when they say a list of things that cost money, and then they say… it is “Priceless”… only in this case, it’s the exact opposite… we are not spending money… and it’s is indeed PRICELESS!}

 

YOUR TURN: What would you spend even just $500 on after your Spending Freeze was over? Would you add it to savings? Or maybe a family vacation? Let me know in the comments below!

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How To Continue Saving After Your Spending Freeze Is Over
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