You’ve likely heard of people who do a spending freeze for a month.
One month a year, they challenge themselves to only spend a certain amount on groceries, entertainment, and other non-fixed expenses. This amount is usually well below the amount that they usually spend, and for many people, it’s a struggle.
I’ve done a spending freeze in the past, but not for several years now as my kids are much older and unexpected expenses for kids tend to pop up with surprising regularity.
I recently heard of a variation on the spending freeze that I’m excited to try. I think this way of doing a spending freeze can have a real impact on my budget without affecting the rest of my family, especially the older kids, too much.
The One Week Spending Freeze
For one week a month, choose one particular category in your budget, and don’t spend any money in that category for the week.
Choose A Category And Cut The Spending
So, if you normally spend $150 a week on groceries, take one week and just don’t make a trip to the grocery store. That means you’ll be digging deep into your pantry and freezer and eating what you already have. You may have some interesting food combos; you may have to rely on frozen veggies and fruit instead of fresh, but it’s only seven days. Unless you have a barren pantry and freezer, you’ll survive. You’ll eat up less desirable food that normally gets overlooked, and you’ll save yourself $150. Over the course of a year, if you do this every month, you’ll shave $1,800 off your grocery bill.
Perhaps the next week, pick a different category. If you choose cleaning products and you take a week hiatus, maybe you clean with something you have around the house, or maybe you learn how to make your own cleaner thanks to YouTube and some basic cleaning supplies you already have like baking soda and vinegar.
Another category ripe for a one week freeze is the eating out budget. How much could you save if you and everyone in your family just said no to eating out and fast food for one week?
Take a look at entertainment. Maybe you have a subscription to Hulu, Netflix, Amazon. What if you just put those subscriptions on hold for one week? Instead of paying for movies and television shows, try a new approach. Rent DVDs from the library instead or only watch shows on the Internet that you can get for free. Watch people on YouTube. There are plenty of free viewing options. This may be one category that, after going without for a week, you find is not so difficult to pause your online subscriptions for a month to save $20 to $40.
One Week Spending Freeze – Realistic And Less Painful
The nice thing about these one-week challenges is that they are completely doable.
You’re only fasting from spending in ONE category for ONE week.
Doing this for seven days requires a lot less will power than trying to do it for a month. And because it’s so much easier, you’re much more likely to succeed and do these challenges more often.
You Decide How Challenging You Want The Month To Be
With the one week spending freeze you decide how challenging you want the month to be.
Maybe you’ll only have one spending freeze in one category for one week a month, or maybe you’ll choose one category a week to have a spending freeze every week.
The first week of the month you’ll have a cleaning products spending freeze, the second week a grocery spending freeze, the third week an eating out spending freeze, and the fourth week an entertainment spending freeze. Either way you choose, you’ll be saving yourself money, and that can really add up over the course of a month.
Have you had a spending freeze? If so, do you try to save money on all variable accounts, or do you try to choose one category as I’m suggesting here? Have you had success with your spending freeze?