That’s right. We’re having a family spending freeze for the entire month of February. We decided to do this last weekend for two reasons. 1. We love a challenge and 2. We could really benefit from it. Okay, three reasons – and 3. more vacations!
Between the bills for my broken foot, getting back on track after moving and spending lots of money on having fun here in our new city we realized we could really use some strict budgeting. Now, we’re already strict budgeters (budgeters: is that even a word?), but there’s still a lot of things in a month that we purchase or spend money on that we could absolutely do without.
So, what does this mean for us? Well, basically we’ll be spending money on:
1. Regular monthly bills: car payment & gas, rent, utilities, student loans, cell phones, etc.
2. Groceries: though, we’ll do a lot of freezer and pantry eating and cooking, trying to use up what we have and buying the least we can get away with.
3. Household items: we’ll buy only what we absolutely need. We won’t deprive ourselves of toilet paper, but we can do without the luxury of paper towels and use rags, and we’ll use what we have in our stock pile for health and beauty items.
4. We won’t go out to eat. We won’t buy beer or wine – though we have some stocked up from the local wine store sale last month. $2.99 a bottle, how could you not stock up?! We won’t buy coffee or tea from the coffee shop.
5. No clothing or home decor purchases. No craft purchases. No movies or bowling or shows.
However, we budget our lives like this: we have our family budget and then we each get paid an “allowance” each month from the family income. That’s our fun money to play with. We’ve had this system in place for nearly four years and it has worked incredibly well for us. We can use our allowance for whatever we want. So, during the spending freeze we’ll still get our regular allowance (because it’s a regular monthly budgeted line item) and if we choose we can buy whatever we want with that.
So, even though going out to eat and home decor are not allowed in the family budget with the spending freeze, if we choose to spend our allowance on it, that’s acceptable.
Our biggest focus right now is cutting the spending from the family budget. I’ll be sure to update you all along the way and see how we’re doing. And I’ll share if we saved any significant amount too.
What about you guys…have you ever had a spending freeze? Wanted to? Need to? Feel free to join in this month if you’d like. Or for a week or two if that’s more doable for you. I think we can all benefit from taking a step back and seeing how much we actually spend on unnecessary items. I’d love to hear if you’ve done this before!