I was out of control…
There have been several times in my adult life where I feel like my spending has gotten out of control. Have you ever felt that?!
Sometimes it isn’t even frivolous spending, it’s just that a lot of expenses happened all at once and none of them were planned for. I had the idea for a Spending Freeze several years ago, it was after a Fall frenzy of spending followed by an even more expensive Christmas season and the idea of a spending detox hit me hard. I needed to get this under control and quick.
So, I went 2 full weeks without spending a penny on anything other than necessities (gas, minimal groceries, medical needs, and bills). I quickly identified habits I hadn’t even realized I’d gotten into (the quick drive-thru for a drink or easy lunch, the Amazon order whenever an item popped into my head that I felt I needed right then, the extras at the grocery store that easily found their way into my cart) and, while I didn’t track it at the time, I estimated at the end of the 14-day Spending Freeze that I’d saved myself $400 or more in those two weeks.
Now, before you think I have tons of disposable income… I don’t! So, YEAH, this had to change right away. The Spending Freeze opened my eyes to just how many unnecessary purchases I was making on, literally, a daily basis.
Since then, I’ve done a Spending Freeze whenever I felt my spending slipping or I’ve noticed our budget become too relaxed. It’s been a great way to get back on track and to remind myself of my commitment to the bigger picture goals rather than the right-now-wants. Because that’s really the thing I need reminding of sometimes… that I never want to trade my real wants and dreams for my “right now” wants. And that’s exactly what I was doing before my first Spending Freeze, and before I fully committed to living on a budget.
The first group Spending Freeze
Late last year, I had finally developed a focused vision for this blog and for what I wanted it to ultimately become. One of the biggest things I’d like to be able to do with this platform is to bring people together as we make positive changes, supporting one another along the way. In January, I ran a beta-test of this idea and offered a group Spending Freeze to my Facebook friends and Instagram buddies. The response was pretty wild, first off, we had almost 60 people in the group! Secondly, the feedback was super encouraging and exciting. This was really when my eyes were opened to just how life-changing a Spending Freeze can be.
My sweet friend, Jenn, is one of the best cheer-leaders and supports in my life. She’s always on board with any of my ideas and loves to give me positive and helpful feedback. About 8 weeks after the group Spending Freeze, I got this text from her:
“I just paid the last of $2,800 off on a credit card. Started on December 5th, dropping as much as I could. Your spending freeze challenge is what really really kicked me into high gear. We’d already made a plan back in November, but the freeze was the real push I needed!” – Jenn
That text reminded me that I’d asked for feedback for this Spending Freeze via a Google form and if you know me well, you’re probably not surprised that I’d totally forgotten to read through that feedback. So, I headed over to the form responses and soon found myself in a puddle of tears reading through the feedback.
TWO WEEKS, y’all… two weeks can make such a difference. I want to share a couple of the responses from that feedback form.
“I’m usually pretty good about sticking to a budget…or I feel like until I remind myself how many random extras I allow myself at Target on the weekly. It’s in my “budget” but I don’t need it…so why is my budget for certain areas as big as it is? That’s something I was able to refocus on during the freeze and hopefully adjust accordingly for next month too!” – Kara
“It made me think twice about what I was purchasing and why. It made me aware how much I can save on groceries when I stick to my meal plan.” – Megan
“It was great to have a supportive group to encourage and share ideas and keep me motivated. At the end of the freeze, I find myself ahead of budget and able to put some extra money aside to savings that I wouldn’t normally have had.” – Gena
And a couple of responses on the Facebook group, too…
Something I loved so much about this group was that we were all in such different places financially, but we were all able to come together toward the common goal of getting our spending under control. Each of us identified something we were working towards in those two weeks, whether it was sticking to our budget or saving some extra to put toward debt or another financial goal, we all had something in mind that we were working toward. It was so motivating to have the accountability of this super positive group. And it gave me a little glimpse of what I’ve been hoping to build… gives me goosebumps thinking of this big fat dream becoming a reality. So, here’s the deal.
It’s time for another Spending Freeze…
We’re going to start another Freeze on April 1st… do you want in?! Because we’d love to have you!! I already have a sweet group of committed peeps from our last group, they’re on board and ready to welcome some newbies to the group. It’s super simple. Sign up for the Spending Freeze emails and we’ll get you in the community group on Facebook! Then, you’ll receive regular emails leading up to the Spending Freeze and helping you through the Freeze to stay motivated and on track. You can totally opt out of those emails if you’d like, but SPAM is gross and I promise not to subject you to any of that garbage.