Habits are so hard to break. I suppose it depends on what it is, but when it comes to spending money, it is difficult for me to reign myself in sometimes. I know, I know…. Frugal me having a hard time not spending money ? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS? Like I said, it becomes a habit. The interesting thing is, the majority of the time, I don’t even realize it’s happening. Some random event will happen, and suddenly it becomes so obvious. I can see my overspending habit laughing in my face.
TIME TO TAKE CONTROL OF MY MONEY! Enter the spending freeze.
Several times a year I adopt the spending freeze for a month. Usually, January is my first month for a spending freeze. The Christmas season is one of my favorites. It is also my least favorite. Every year we all spend, spend, and spend some more. We have become spending monsters. The habit of spending has taken hold. For me, it is absolutely essential to begin the new year relearning my thoughtful, deliberate spending rituals. I’m NOT suggesting that you skip paying your bills. Obviously, those are mandatory. What I’m suggesting is that for one month, avoid any extra spending. No eating out, no coffee shops, no movies, no Amazon or Ebay. No extras added to your grocery cart, only what you need for your menus… I think you get the idea. This requires conscious awareness. It sounds painful… miserable… depressing… It all depends on your attitude. If you have already convinced yourself that it will be horrible, then it probably will be. BUT, if you look at it as an opportunity to push the reset button and renew your frugality, then THAT will be your reward. Well, that, and a substantial amount of money saved at the end of your no spend month! We don’t realize how much money we spend frivolously every day. That white chocolate mocha you buy every morning on your way to work is around $5 if you add a tip. That’s $100 in a month! Eat out for lunch every day? Chances are that’s $6 per day. There goes another $120 per month. I don’t know about you, but I could always use an extra $220 a month to put towards bills, or stash in savings, or designate it for Christmas presents.
Make that cup of coffee at home and take it with you. Brown bag your lunch. DRINK MORE WATER. Watch movies at home, play some games… Yahtzee anyone? There are so many ideas out there. Pinterest just might become your new best friend.
When I first made the decision to start participating in routine spending freezes, it was out of desperation. My bills were spiraling out of control. My credit card balances were high. I was stressed financially, emotionally, mentally… I wrote a pep talk for myself. I printed it out. I laminated it. I put it in my wallet. I forced myself to read it every time I reached in there to pay for something I didn’t need. It worked.
I no longer HAVE to have my spending freezes, but I choose to. It invigorates me. It helps me stay grounded. It helps me to focus on the more important things in my life.
January has long passed, so I challenge you to make a goal to have designated spending freeze months. Pick your months, and do it. Mentally prepare yourselves and take control of your money! You’ve literally earned it!!