advice finances life lifestyle

Spending Freeze: How and Why You Should Try One

I don’t know about you, but the holidays had me feeling pretty merry. And by merry, I mean generous. Maybe a bit over-generous. I have a serious problem with sometimes going overboard when shopping for others. I love to make people happy, to discover a special little something that will make someone smile wide after opening it. Sadly, this sometimes has averse affects on my finances. 

So, as we start this new year, I’m going on a spending freeze and you should too. Now, a freeze does not mean you can’t ever swipe your credit card. It simply means not spending on non-essential items. I’m talking about that candle that you’ve been pining for or that latte that sounds divine while freezing on your morning commute. The truth is that you just don’t NEED them. It’s not easy, but I also don’t think it’s that difficult. Exercising some financial discipline is a good practice for anyone to try. The good news? The outcomes are all positive. You’ll likely end up spending some quality time with some good people, grow a new skill set and see some money stacking up. What’s not to like?
Here is some inspiration to help you start the practice of limiting spending.
  1. Delete retailer emails without opening. If you don’t see that gorgeous sweater that’s 50% off during the a post-holiday sale, you can’t want it! Better yet, pick three of your favorite retailers and unsubscribe from everyone else’s email updates and newsletters.
  2. Cook at home. Try making all your meals at home for a couple of weeks. No picking up dinner on the way home or ordering takeout. You will be amazed how much your morning coffee runs cost you on a monthly basis. Plus, you will no doubt develop some delicious, go-to recipes and cooking chops you didn’t have before.
  3. Audit yourself. Take some time to go over your various accounts and memberships. Odds are, you’re currently subscribing to a service you don’t need or use. I just nixed my Hulu account. Granted, the $8/month they charge isn’t going to make me rich, but is also makes zero sense to pay for services you don’t use. 
  4. Stay in with friends. This is one of my favorites. Instead of meeting for drinks or dinner, suggest staying in as a way to get together. Movie marathons, cooking and baking together  or simply sharing a glass of wine and flipping through some mags are much cheaper options than dropping $75 at a restaurant. The time spent together also feels higher quality!
  5. Automatic transfers are your friend. You can’t spend money that’s not there. Set up an automatic transfer for every time you get paid that sends money in to a savings account or somewhere else you won’t be tempted to touch it immediately. Once you start to see the dollars add up in that account, you’ll want to see it continue to grow!

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