Spending Freeze Challenge: Becoming Frugal

Started a spending freeze in September. Succeeded in spending $1100/month for daily spending (food, gas, house, activities, gifts, household, etc). That included $400 birthday party. Previous months was double or triple that which was well beyond living within my means. Meal planning & price matching groceries really helps! Trying to buffer my categories to get a month ahead and attack debt.

Who else wants to join me? Tips on being frugal? :)

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  • Hi Purple Foal !

    A spending freeze is a great way to jump start savings and pin point your priorities. Any month is a great month to give one a try - I'm going to challenge myself to December and see if I can make it happen with all the coming holidays. ;)

    Like 1
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 11 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness Good plan! I want Dec to be like any other month, with the exception being my true expenses (Xmas, Ski trip) already budgeted for. Will be so amazing to start 2020 with no unforeseen expenses. 

      Like 1
    • This goal was overly ambitious - which I had figured going into it. Christmas is basically the entire month of December for my family. So, even though I'm within budget, all of the spendings are happening. 😥 Maybe I'll aim for January as a "re-coup". 

      Like 3
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness Sounds like you just need a bigger category balance. Set up Xmas as its own category called December, and then think of everything you have been spending money on: hosting groceries/drinks, hostess gifts/drinks/potluck, presents, dinners out, decorations, travel costs, charity, etc. Jesse has a few podcasts on just Xmas spending & preparation. But rolling with the punches also means that if your family makes a big deal out of celebrations, then you just need a bigger budget divided up by 11 months.

      Maybe think about what the costs are by subcategory and re-shift priorities. Like one of my mercury glass Xmas trees broke when we were unpacking them. My instinct was to go buy another, then I looked at the other 2 with my 5 candles and considered that 7 items look good since in decorating you want uneven numbers in the group. So whatever. I will eventually go buy one, but with a giftcard, or maybe not. It is best if I just stay away from Winners/Homesense/Marshalls (TJ Maxx) altogether since those stores are my weakness. The point is that I have lots of beautiful ornaments and I don't NEED new decorations. I enjoyed the time my son & I spent together trimming the tree and decorating the space including changing my cushions and curtains over for the winter season. He was hilarious!! Was talking / singing in an intentional hybrid Kermit-the-Frog / Arnold Swartzenegger voice. Good times.

      Family over things. Experiences over things. Charity over Commercialism. :)

      Like 1
    • Purple Foal Thank you for the suggestions! I have enough budgeted towards my Christmas category, there's just no way I can make December a "No Spend" month, where I don't spend outside of my Immediate Obligations. I was saying earlier that my biggest issue with Christmas (my favorite time of year) isn't budgeting for gifts, it's figuring out what those gifts will be! I had wanted to do all of the gift shopping in November - but now I have just over 2 weeks to find the perfect presents (eep!). 

      We have a number of family traditions, like baking cookies in new pajamas on Christmas Eve. I wish I could buy gifts to add into those experiences (maybe I'll look into custom cookie cutters?). Or maybe new Christmas ornaments, because yours sound beautiful. Or maybe a Christmas movie, where I can push for some impromptu karaoke.

      This will still be a No WAM month, says Santa. ;)

      Like 1
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness Needing suggestions is a lot easier than needing money!! Who do you need to buy for / ages? Your traditions sound great! Are they gifts that you need to make ahead of time or can the gift be the event? Like making ornaments together? I like your cookie cutter ideas!:)

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    • Purple Foal I need "big" gifts for my mom and husband - those are my two biggest hang ups. I already bought them gifts, but they're small - think stocking stuffers. I think men are hard to shop for in general (you can only buy so many watches or bottles of cologne) and my mom deserves the world, but fitting the world into a box under a tree is Hard. 😆

      I'm going to look into crafts for ornament making because that sounds like an amazing sentiment that we can tack onto cookie making - thank you for that idea!!

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  • Jan-Mar 2020

    spend freeze

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    • PJ Agreed! My spending freeze actually hasn't been that hard and I've succeeded in staying within budget for the most part. The learning from shifting my priorities has been huge and honestly I haven't felt deprived. Way easier than dieting! More like, I want this versus that, and I haven't completely denied myself from things, just cut way back. Except takeout has been zero since Sept. When I did get sushi on Friday, it was and intentional spending for myself and under my dining out category even though I was at home, since it was a savoured dinner versus too-lazy-to-cook option.

      I might set the spending goal much lower in January to really challenge myself. :)

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      • PJ
      • peterjb
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Purple Foal I’m in a similar situation. I’m not feeling the hardships as my goals and limits aren’t too bad. As a result my debt isn’t going down fast - slow and steady. I need to ramp it up just to feel a bit better about things. I’d like to see noticeable improvements and Debt balances dropping. 

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    • PJ Do you have your buffer in place and your true expenses topped up? That's where I am aiming to be. I am being a bit conservative about being too aggressive with the debt repayment. Don't want to move backwards if something happens. We might be striking in January so I have been bracing for the worst since July in batten down the hatches mode. I don't actually feel deprived. I was spending way too much. Now it's intentional spending within constraints. 

      Slow and steady is better than fast & stop or worse reverse. I will be happy to start January with Xmas spending done with cash, but then it only being a monthly true expense than the total focus now. :)

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      • PJ
      • peterjb
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Purple Foal I don’t have my buffer in place just yet. I am very conscious of my spending and I’m keep a record of everything. I have a few large expenses coming up but I’ve only started to work on my True expenses yesterday. I just need to sit down for a couple of hours and get it done. Then check it every 10 minutes for the whole of 2020 😂

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    • PJ I just put totals next to each subcategory and then category totals. Added them all up and it's scary. Put my debt into undebt.it and want to attack it but I will have a hard time finding that big snowball I will need. My monthly basics total is going to get really shaved in Jan. Will try for $300/month for groceries to total $800 versus $1000 for groceries/gas/eating out/activities/etc. I set up my true expenses monthly amounts starting in January. It will get better. This time next year we will be 😆 rather than 🙄.

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