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The Year of Enough – how I’m changing my spending habits this year
I did it, I tried a monthly spending freeze (modified read about it here) I was a bit more flexible but I wanted to avoid buying clothes or random home things to train my brain to say no.
I want to share the journey and what I plan to do in the future financially.
Spending Freeze Fails
- I bought something on FBMP I didn’t need, I instantly regretted it and wished I could’ve canceled it. Ugh, I need to give myself a day or two to think about it! I could have bought 1 set instead of 3!
- Immediately bought an outfit on Poshmark and wasn’t sure if it would even fit. The $50 sounded cheap but with tax and shipping it was more than I should’ve paid. Also instant regret. Update: a week later – the person didn’t ship it in time so I was able to cancel it wahoo!
Both purchases I immediately wished I could’ve canceled the purchase and what I’ve learned from this is to give it a day or two.
Spending Freeze Wins
- Avoided estate and antique stores for the most part unless I went to buy a gift. I did hold my ground and refuse to buy an extra something even though it was $6 just because I didn’t need it. The lady looked at me like I was nuts but I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to be forced to buy something just because it was there or matched.
- Not buying additional Valentine’s Day decor and decided to buy or make it because I am capable of making cute crafts that is more personal and prettier than what is sold.
- Didn’t buy new clothes (except for the clothing rummage sale which ended up to be under $2 an item) and dropped off clothes at consignment and used my credit to get other clothes. It felt like a swap!
- I was at a few stores and put items back and walked out with nothing in hand!
- Did not return after lunch to Anthropologie to buy candles I didn’t need. Probably saved myself $70.
- Decided to stop bidding on original oil paintings I didn’t need or have a planned place for them in my home. Just because it was a deal didn’t mean I had to get it.
What I learned during my spending freeze
- I don’t have to force myself to buy something just because it’s there, the January spending freeze month has been a fantastic brain training for me.
- This might be the longest year of my life. It doesn’t mean I won’t buy new outfits, or new things, but think about it and give it time before I buy.
- The point of my spending freeze was to make myself think and those two times made me upset I didn’t give myself time to think and I had gone back to impulsive shopping.
Many years ago I interviewed Rachel Cruze, Dave Ramsey’s daughter years ago on the blog about her book, “Get out of Debt and Love your Life” and she gave incredible life tips (read the blog post!) and I will be listening to the audible version for a refresh. My Libby app (free library audible app) notified me I’m ready to borrow a copy!
To be transparent, we’re all friends (and non judgy on here right?) I’ve never really budgeted like crazy or told myself no while I’ve been out shopping except once which I’ll share in a second. In college I had little concept of money which is when a lot of people learn about managing their finances. I was interning for free to build up my professional resume to get a job after college, and my parents wanted me to focus on school. I was thankful for my parents supporting my lifestyle and paying my tuition.
I’m not that bad either, I’m not creating debt for us, but I could improve where my money is going, couldn’t we all. But again, this change I plan on doing is not JUST about money.
So now I’m going to verbal vomit about my plans this year – to remind myself I have enough and what that means to me. Maybe it will help you too and you’ll be inspired to make changes we can do this together.
The goal this year
- I want to break my addiction to the idea of consumption. I want to have the millionaire mind. The goal is to change my mindset to meet other goals, and to be able to splurge on other necessary areas of upgrading our home.
- Generosity and giving won’t change for us.
- Use a free app/site by Dave Ramsey called Every Dollar to manage budget allowance for the entire year in specific categories I can control.
When I realized I had enough
Earlier this year, after putting all my clothes in the new closet (close to being finished) and looking around, I saw how much I had. Where did all of this stuff come from? Looking around the entire 200 square foot master closet dressing room showed me that I have enough clothes and accessories.
I look around and see our home I’ve completely redecorated in the past two years from going to estate sales.
There are a few things to add to the home, but now I can buy only quality, once, because funds will now be dedicated to those projects instead of frivolous things.
Another huge yikes moment – Seeing my business “expenses”
Organizing my taxes and going through my business purchases aka write offs and seeing how quick I am to spend money and also how silly to buy those items. I need to stop wasting money on the small things like garden seeds, garden bug eggs, and whatever stuff I’m sure I no longer have now.
2023 spending changes
LIMITED to buy
- Clothing: shoes, accessories unless something is worn and needs replacement, or using a credit.
- Cosmetics, unless I run out or replace (such as clean beauty replacement).
- Home decor items unless at an estate sale, thrift, or antique store within a reasonable budget.
- Entertaining items: Dishes, bowls, plates, cups
- Furniture, unless something breaks
- Office accessories
- Extra plants, unless something has died and needs to be replaced. I have a yearly budget!
This list might look short, but it is what I spend a lot of money on.
Approved SPEND list
- Home projects – upgrades agreed upon.
- New boots – booties or high boots (been on my list for years)
- Anything that truly needs to be replaced
- Gifts for others
- Clothing for a specific trip – must be necessary.
- Concert tickets for Mariah Carey or John Mayer (already bought for JM!)
- Educational workshops
- Hosting parties and necessary decor
- New tree for the backyard
I have a yearly budget which breaks down into monthly and I like a challenge. This need for a budget comes with the excitement of continually investing in the future, and also realizing we are ready to enjoy the things we already have. This isn’t to deny ourselves fun, or items, but to just think about it before purchasing so quickly. If you’d like to join me, here’s what I suggest –
HOW TO START A SPENDING FREEZE TO ADJUST YOUR SPENDING HABITS
I suggest first starting with a spending freeze week (total no spend), then a few months later try a spending freeze month (but modified as I did). Once a few weeks go by you start to realize you have changed your spending habits.
Then, once you look around your home, your closet, your whatever your thing is, ask yourself what more is left? Sure there’s a lot of cute things out there we can all own. But do we need to? Should we? Then make an outline of what you will spend your money on and how much you want to give to your financial adviser, charities, etc. Good luck!