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Have you ever participated in a spending freeze? Are you intrigued? Or, does the thought of not spending money for any length of time send shivers up your spine?
If you’ve ever considered a no spend challenge, today I’m going to highlight the pros and cons of doing a spending freeze so you can determine if a halting your spending is right for you or not. Harness up folks…here we go!
Is A Spending Freeze Right For You?
The biggest drawback in doing a spending freeze is when the person participating in the challenge has serious spending addictions. If you’re someone who is really a “shopaholic” and can’t stay out of the stores, spends completely recklessly, shops in a complete fog and doesn’t understand their motivation for overspending, a no spend challenge might not be for you. Instead, seek professional assistance to help you develop a plan of action that will address your spending addiction and put you on the road to recovery. Participating may cause more harm than good.
It Saves You Money
No brainer here, but depending on how much you frivolously spend in the course of a month, it could be quite a substantial savings.
It reminds me when I did my first spending freeze and it hadn’t even become popular yet. I stopped going to the coffee shop each morning on my way to work. My original intent to stop running into an old flame who also frequented the store, but within a few weeks, I quickly realized how much money I saving by not buying a coffee and bagel each morning to the tune of $100!
From there I stopped spending on all sorts of things and quickly saw the benefit in my savings account.
If you find yourself still getting a morning cup of Joe, a quick bite to eat at lunch and frequent dinner out on a regular basis, this spending freeze will no doubt add a significant amount to your bottom line.
Forces You To Use What You Have
I don’t know about you but I probably have enough to live on to survive months without going to a store for almost anything besides milk, bread (which I could make myself) and fresh fruits and vegetables.
That’s one of the benefits of a spending freeze. You have to use what you have and often you find things you forgot all about.
I think one of the areas besides food that this can be extremely eye opening is in the area of personal grooming supplies. It seems we American women are obsessed with beauty products and a no spend challenge is a great way to use up what you already have.
Gives You Time To Focus on Your Finances
Usually, with reckless spending comes ignoring of your finances. With this no spend challenge, you can change that pattern and finally focus on your money instead of spending.
What I like to do is to take the time to dig deep. We’re kicking off a Challenge on February 1st. You can learn more about that here, but the timing of the challenge makes it the perfect time to review your money. Most of us will be starting to get our books in order to head to the accountant or to do ourselves at tax time. Either way, you’ll be looking at a snapshot of the year and what you find might really surprise you.
Be brave and look at the categories of spending. How much did you spend on food, entertainment, travel, home maintenance, and repair, clothes, etc? One reader recently did this and realized 47% of her budget is devoted to debt. When she finally saw these numbers in black and white she was shocked!
But the numbers did give her a great incentive to continue to curb her spending, develop a more comprehensive budget, finally convert to cash and get serious about paying off her debt.
Helps You Identify Spending Triggers
When you’re on a spending freeze you’re faced with the reality of your motivations. You’re out and about maybe headed to work and all of a sudden you start craving a grande mocha caramel macchiato. But you’ve committed to this freeze. You are aching inside for a steaming hot cup of goodness from Starbucks and it’s killing you to drive right on by.
The next day you think you’re better prepared and yet, the yearning to be greeted by your favorite barista is haunting.
Now you’re stuck.
Why on earth do you have this hankering and where is it coming from. Is it that you just like Starbucks more than anything else in the world? Or is it that you feel deprived? Is something else making you have this ache in your chest? Why is is so hard to just keep driving and forget about it?
Guess what? You’ve got 28 days to figure it out and learn something that can really permanently change the way you spend money.
Makes You Appreciate What You Already Own
When you’re forced to halt your spending for an extended period of time you’re left with the realization that despite not being able to fulfill every spending whim, you actually own quite a bit and you learn to appreciate what you have in a whole new way.
Most of us take for granted what we have because we’re never forced to evaluate our possessions. A spending freeze becomes a perfect opportunity to realize all you have and to fully accept you don’t need anything more.
Is A Perfect Launching Pad to Embrace Simplicity or Minimalism
Once you demonstrate that you can refrain from spending, that you don’t need to fulfill every spending wish and appreciate all you have in a new way, you can begin to learn to live contently with less. Maybe you’re struck with how simple and less complicated your life is without the desire for shopping and acquiring possessions and maybe you’re spurred on to really purge and embrace the concepts of minimalism.
Either way, you’ve learned a whole lot about yourself, your spending habits and what you need and don’t need in your life.