January Spending Freeze!

January 7, 2020

Happy New Year! We have been unplugged since Christmas to allow time for a good reset! I don’t tend to do a word of the year, resolutions, or a list of goals in January. However, I do feel the urge to de-clutter and organize my life in every area! Anyone else? Gabe and I sat down to think through what we want to continue to share with you readers this year. I always appreciate concrete resources! So we will be sending out a series of helpful tools in life, family, and home categories. If you missed, here is our Life Projection Plan printable.

We have more on organization coming soon, but decided to start our year with a SPENDING FREEZE! Have you tried one before? This is a really great challenge for getting in the right headspace to save towards a goal. I created a basic outline download you can print to have as a visual guide!

A spending freeze is a period of time when you freeze your spending on everything except the expenses you need to maintain a basic standard of living. You can choose the designated amount of time, but a good starting point is one to two weeks. When get to the end of that two weeks, you can assess if you want to keep going.

Not included in a spending freeze:
– Mortgage or rent payments
– Basic utilities- Insurance
– Basic transportation
​​​​​​​- Groceries (optional, but helpful to buy these in advance)


1. Meal plan and grocery shop ahead of time – This always saves me time and money by planning out what we need, and ordering groceries online. I use Shipt since they deliver from Costco, Kroger, and Target. (That link will give you half off membership.) If you run out or run low on items during the designated two weeks, challenge yourself to use what you have and get creative!

2. Buy gifts in advance – If there are any birthdays, anniversaries, or occasions that you want to buy a gift for, get those ahead of time!

3. Use the Notes app or a designated notebook for keeping track of money saved – For instance, if you cut out your Sunday brunch at a restaurant to make your own at home, jot down the guesstimated amount saved. Cancel a beloved subscription? Count that as money saved for the month. At the end of your spending freeze, you will be able to see the progress towards what you are working towards.

4. Specify what you want your money saved to go towards – Naming your goal can significantly help when the temptations to spend arise. It should be something that is very motivating to you personally! (ie: Car down payment, sports money for your kids, heater repair, family sofa, trip to visit your loved ones, etc.)

Spending freeze guide

When we first got married, we were living off of a beginner’s teacher salary + small freelance projects salary. It forced us to be really mindful about every dollar spent, and it created healthy financial habits early on. It’s easy to slide from that when you don’t go over these every so often though!​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Currently, we go over our projected monthly expenses so we know what we will need in our checking account. We include a budget for gifts for upcoming birthdays, clothing, etc. as well. Any extra goes into our savings account. When you have something in mind that you really want to work towards it motivates you to cut back on the excess spending and impulse purchases. I admit when I am super busy with life, I don’t want to have to think about how much I am spending on groceries. It’s easier to eat out than to cook, and I’d rather be spontaneous on a date than have to think about the small budget we set for entertainment. HOWEVER, the more you plan ahead the more freeing it feels to be in control of your spending habits, and have the bigger picture in mind. A vacation with my family that will bring us closer, or savings towards a home your family will grow up in for instance, is well worth the battle of the budget;)

Are you in? We are excited to do this with you!

Lastly, if you are on our IHOD fam email list, we will be sending you a round up of all of the financial resources we have used to help us get our budget in order, pay off debt, and work towards things we were saving up for. (You can sign up here if you’d like to receive it!)

Leave a Comment

  • I’m on day 7 of a spending freeze. I don’t count groceries that are planned for in order to intentionally use every scrap of produce on the grocery list. So far so good, but for some reason I really want to go get toothpaste lol.

    • Yes I love that! I think often times we purchase groceries without looking through our cabinets or freezer first. I often forget I have things I could use. I hope it leads to better habits in the kitchen too and less waste!

  • Buying it ahead of time is still spending the $. 😉 Love this, though!

    • The focus though is on spending only what you need during the two weeks. So meal planning and prepping before you start your freeze prevents excess spending at the grocery store. Groceries needed for the week would be considered a necessity though!

  • Kelly Dudzinski

    Thanks for sharing! I would love to have the link or source for your Weekly Meal plan / Shopping List sheets? Please and thank you 🙂

  • We signed up for the Uber Frugal
    Challenge from the Frugal Woods this month. It’s nice to start out the year feeling extra intentional about finances!

  • I do a “spending fast” for 3 months at a time. I use similar rules except gifts are ok. It took 2 rounds (3 months on, 3 off, 3 on), but I’ve reset my spending habits and I no longer buy stuff because it’s on sale. I’m more intentional with the things I do buy.
    Good luck!

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