February 1st, 2017. That is today’s date and it is also the first day of my month long spending freeze! What is a spending freeze? Well, it’s exactly what is sounds like. All spending is frozen.
I’ve heard of these spending freezes, but I’ve never been confident enough to actually try it. It’s really popular in January, also known as “no spenduary”, but for my first time, I really like the idea of doing this during the shortest month of the year. 😉
Why am I doing a spending freeze?
The obvious answer to that question is to save money! For us, though, it is more than just that.
3 days ago, on Sunday night, my husband and I were gearing up to watch TV after the kids went to bed. He left for a quick minute to put gas in his car. (One less thing for him to do at 5 AM when he leaves for work) He left me in charge of picking out our evening show. After browsing through Netflix I came across this documentary.
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things | Official Trailer
Take a quick minute and watch the trailer…
(Then later watch the whole movie, you won’t regret it!)
I have always been attracted to the idea of minimalism. I appreciate simplicity, and I am always searching for balance and simplicity in order to stay sane in this crazy life. The truth is, though, we have A LOT of stuff. Although, not as much as some. I am pretty good at purging and not getting emotionally attached to inanimate objects, but what we DO struggle with is figuring out how NOT to accumulate so much stuff.
What hit home the most for me about this film is how humans are naturally inclined to always want more, bigger, better, or faster. Even though most of that “stuff” is not actually important and the happiness it brings is short-lived and not sustainable. Many (probably most or all) retail industries take advantage of this and with help from marketing use it to sell more.
One example they touch on is “fast fashion”. Clothing designed for short term trends, usually made very cheaply (think cheap materials and cheap labor) They WANT the trends to be short lived because that means they will sell more clothes. Huge amounts of energy and resources used to create a product that is intended to be tossed aside before the next season. What a waste of energy and money, not to mention a large contributor to filling landfills with synthetic (aka plastic) materials. (Check out this post all about thrift store shopping and why I LOVE it, HERE)
Minimalism is defined as, “the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.”
For some extreme minimalists, this means they fit everything they own in a backpack or they live in a “tiny house”. For others, it just means being intentional with their belongings. Only owning things that truly adds value to their lives. For many, it’s also financial freedom, because less stuff and a smaller house will mean fewer expenses.
Enter the spending freeze!
I wasn’t sure how hubby would react to the movie, (he can be pretty attached to his things) but it motivated him beyond what I would have ever expected! We made a plan that not only includes clearing out the clutter but putting our spending on hold for an entire month.
Spending Freeze Rules:
No spending for 28 days except:
- Regular Bills
- Small budget for SOME food (I took my typical food budget and cut it in half, we have plenty of food in our large freezer and pantry that I will supplement with fresh produce and milk. I will not sacrifice healthy eating to save a few bucks. Good quality food brings our family incredible value and will not be sacrificed.)
- Unplanned emergency/necessity (Doctor Co-pay, car repair etc.)
I’m hoping this month will be an incredible way to cleanse us of meaningless and impulsive spending. The goal being to save money and also learn the art of mindful spending. Wouldn’t it be great to NOT have to declutter constantly! To be happy with what you have and find value in everything you own. These are HUGE incentives for me.
We also plan to spend the month minimizing our belongings. Selling and/or donating all the things that don’t bring us any true value. It won’t be easy, I am excited and terrified all at the same time, but mostly excited. Even the kids have been on board. My daughter went through all her books (oh does she love her books!) and sorted out the ones that she doesn’t want and told me from now on she only wants books from the library, man I love that girl.
Day 1 Disaster
So that is our plan and today was day 1. Let me tell you, day one started out rough! I didn’t spend a penny, but I did create an unexpected expense. Long story short, somehow, when I backed the van out of the garage this morning, I managed to hit the passenger side mirror on the frame of the garage door. Shattered the mirror and took a big chunk if it right off the van. Basically, a dangling shattered mirror, to give you a visual. UGH!
What a way to start right? (What’s worse is this is not the first time I’ve done that. The first time was almost exactly 4 years ago, less than a month after we purchased the vehicle. I know right?) Fortunately, it is not crazy expensive to buy an aftermarket mirror and hubby can replace it no problem, but it was not how I had planned the first day of this adventure.
We talked about whether this expense would count during our freeze. Logically, it is an expense that will NEED to take place, so we will fix it. In our opinion it fell into the necessary/emergency category, luckily it is not a huge setback. (I still can’t believe I did that.)
Want to join me in the February spending freeze? Follow me on Instagram and use the hashtag #febnospend to share with me your wins and struggles during this challenge!
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