where did all my money go? // Starting a spending freeze and how it's going down!

No Spend Zone! The update: What I learned and how I did during my spending freeze week challenge

where did all my money go? // Starting a spending freeze and how it's going down!

If I didn’t write a follow up to my spending freeze, then I probably would have cheated and you never would have wondered or asked how it went (see post here about what a spending freeze week is). But that’s not entirely true because I am great at a challenge if I put my mind to it and I want to work on something – just not sports for me *wink* But there were a few things I was like dang it, if only I could _______.

I made it – kind of. I bought two things by sheer accident. I’ll explain in a second.

So, from Monday to Sunday night, I didn’t spend anything, no groceries, random food, outings, nothing unless I had a gift card! My friend and accountability partner Ashley helped a ton! (See her recap on how she did here). We even did a Facebook LIVE video to update everyone on why we were doing it and how it was going in the middle of the week. She has 2 kids and a dog and she had different trials than I did.

The challenges I faced + what I learned –

  • I had to put it back on the rack. I did shop, at Forever 21 with a gift card $50 for an outfit and there was a top I wanted for $10 but it would throw me over my card allowance. I was a little annoyed but at least it made me put it back and will give me time to think it over and taught me that if I have a budget – to stick to it if that means putting things back.
  • Closing shopping sites and apps. The Happy Anthro Day notification on my phone, everything at Anthro 20% off, argh! I didn’t even look, wahhhh. Then there was the email from Revolve and they added so many products to their sale and I opened up the page then, doh! I immediately closed it.
  • I wanted to get a cheese quesadilla from the drive-thru Filibertos after my Orange Theory workout (I don’t want to hear it, LOL) but remembered I couldn’t! So instead I made a cheese quesadilla at home. It worked. I didn’t die. It was less greasy but I missed the red sauce.
  • I wanted to order dinner because I was too lazy to cook. When my girlfriends come over I order food. It’s better for all of us. This time, I made breakfast, lunch and dinner for both my girlfriends and they came over and I loved it. Quality time can be at home in jammies on the couch eating a home cooked meal – even if it’s Trader Joe’s.
  • I thought I’d just buy it next week. I wanted a dress from Anthro and I said, well I’ll just get it next week. But here’s what’s great – I don’t think I’m going to! I’ve had all week to think about it and now I’m not convinced I need it and I think I can definitely live without it!
  • I ordered the caesar salad with chicken instead of the prime rib. I got a $50 gift card to Fox concepts restaurants and so I picked up dinner for us and the prime rib may have put us over (may but probably not) so I settled for something less and probably more healthy anyway. Prime rib, I’m coming for you next time.
  • I wanted to replace something immediately. I found one of my highlighter got moldy, weird. I threw it away and immediately logged onto Kate Spade’s site to find a new set. Then I looked in my drawer and found a green one left out of the 4 set. I only need 1 highlighter, I don’t need so many colors so I closed the browser window. How easily it was for me to think I need to buy a replacement when I don’t!
  • I did buy two things off Amazon because I wasn’t thinking. DOH! I am planning a bridal shower for next month and after I got off my call I went online and bought the materials. I suppose it was impulsive but the reality is I had to buy them anyway so I’m not sure if I can get a free pass on this one, or two, purchases. I realized it hours later!! Oops!

Our video – explaining halfway through how our week was going

Ashley of Pineapple Diariy came over to my house after a work meeting and I made her some coffee and we decided to hop on Facebook live just to chat about how it was going and our struggles and triumphs! Sorry it’s not super clear but how we look isn’t as important as what we are saying. I need better internet connection – Century Link is terrible!

How much I saved

I would guess at least $600 – considering I went to Forever 21 twice and would have dropped $100 each visit, the $200 dress I wanted from Anthropologie that I decided not to buy right now, and the $100 for Revolve sale because well, it’s Revolve! We can add in an extra $100 for the meals I would have had with three of my girlfriends that week but instead I made meals for them. Let’s not forget the times I wanted to have dinner delivered which is around $35 that I passed on and went for a Trader Joe’s meal instead.


  • I’m ready to do it again in a few months. I realized how many impulsive buys I have in a day and how many times I am tempted to drop a few bucks here and there.
  • I got a bit annoyed when I was entering expenses into Quickbooks. Like Diana, do you spend money every single day?? Apparently. I was annoyed with how many transactions there were in a single statement, terrible! At least I have a week off for a break for this statement but I would like to slow down!
  • I might do 3-4 days at a time. A week was brutal, and I had some expenses I couldn’t avoid, like the bridal shower present I accidentally purchased that week, or my laptop I need to order yesterday so I feel like those must-haves and purchases I know I will do anyway would slide but for the sake of abiding by this challenge, I did.
  • I’ll set a budget before I walk into a store. Because I knew I only had a $50 gift card, I knew my limit at the clothing store. I think doing this will be more helpful or else I’ll grab all the cute clothes and check out and it’ll be hundreds of dollars!
  • I’ll set a clothing budget in general. After this spending freeze, clearing out my closet and also talking to Benjamin about spending habits on clothes and we came to a budget and it’s going to be just fine! I like to know what it should be and just stay within that, I should have no problems.

Now, on a daily basis I will be conscious about my spending and decision making. It wasn’t fun to say no to prime rib or that cheese quesadilla I really wanted (I just eat all the time) but I made better choices or I had food in my fridge.

When I enter transactions of my bank statements or credit cards, I find that I’m spending money every day. Every.single.day. Food, Amazon, coffee, you name it. Instead of spending, this week checks arrived from jobs and if I can say anything about saving money – the bigger your bank account numbers get, the more motivated you are to save, that’s how it is for me anyway. And instead, I’m clearing out my closet from things I don’t wear I’m finally going to let it go if it hasn’t been worn for a year. I also realize how many impulse buys I have because I’ve only worn a top once, I need to slow down.

I also will be inviting friends over more often because 1- it’s so fun and 2- it’ll be cheaper for the both of us! Check out what Ashley’s trials and experience were on her blog post here.

Have you ever done a spending freeze? How did it go? Do you want to grab a friend and do one now? Tell me in the comments below!

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.


  • Carissa

    I just finished reading a book titled “The Year of Less” and it’s about the author going on a year long spending freeze. Really interesting. I think I could and should try a break. In a lot of ways I’m already really conscious of my spending habits but I think there is room to grow. Good job on yours! Also, you so get a pass on those Amazon purchases.
    I’m doing a week long break from Instagram right now and it’s already been revealing some interesting things about my usual habits. Such as, I’ve noticed I pick up my phone wanting to scroll when I’m trying to “escape” my reality for a little bit. Be it a hard day or something else.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      I love self-help books, it’s my guilty pleasure. How tos, inspirational, motivational, love! I just downloaded the kindle version on my iPhone since I’m always on it and also my tablet. I look forward to being more conscious about my purchasing habits. I said no (twice) to these gorgeous feather earrings that were $78 and boy were they gorgeous but I just had to say no, but I did say yes to $30 leopard slides hahahaha :) I hope you have found yourself in a great place being way from IG. I find the more I absorb myself into my own life, the less time I have to absorb myself in others – but of course I do care and it is important to participate so I will try to spend a few minutes a day to do so and connect with those I care about :) xo


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