Happy Fall, frugal friends! I feel like our return from Bulgaria couldn’t have been more perfectly timed, since we got back 3 days ago and are ready to enter the new season full-force. Fall is feeling very promising this year, and I’m bursting with a renewed desire for organization and getting back on track with our budget and goals.
So what better time than now to start a spending freeze challenge?!
Our fall spending freeze will go into effect for the month of October. What does it mean?
For this challenge, we will not be doing any non-essential spending. That means no shopping for fun stuff and no straying from our set budget.
What will we be spending on?
- Fall entertainment (budgeted for in advance)
What will we not be spending on?
- Non-essentials, like stuff from the dollar bins at Target (a weakness of mine)
- Toys for our kids (another weakness for us)
- Alcohol (has a category in our budget, but we’re taking October off)
Preparing for a Spending Freeze
There isn’t too much that needs to be done in order to prepare for a successful spending freeze. Before you put a freeze into effect, you just want to make sure that you have everything you will need for the duration. This is to avoid unnecessary temptations, like trips to Target because you “need” something. Then what happens is you end up suddenly finding several other items that you didn’t even know you needed!
My goal is to do absolutely no non-essential spending for the month of October, with the exception of fall entertainment that will be accounted for in advance.
If you have young kids, you know you simply can’t do fall without at least one trip to a pumpkin patch (at least in my humble and perhaps very “basic” opinion! So we would like to go to an orchard/pumpkin patch with the kids, and I would like to go on a “haunted” walk because we’ve never been. Every year I say I’m going to get tickets to a candlelight walk at a local historical site, and every year it doesn’t happen. This year, I hope it happens! Both of these activities combined shouldn’t cost us more than $50.
I’m going to make sure that we have everything we need, as far as toiletries and paper products go, just so that I won’t need to make any trips to Target and be tempted to shop. I’m getting ready to switch out our wardrobes, putting away the summer shoes and clothes and getting the cooler weather clothing items out of bins. We should be all set for fall wardrobes since we did some shopping in Bulgaria.
Going Over the Budget
Another step that I think will be critical to a successful no-spend month is going over the budget in advance. We need to know where we stand, as far as bills due and essential categories. We usually go over our budget every few days, but we haven’t since before we left for our trip 3 weeks ago.
Going over the budget also allows you the opportunity to set up new goals, and we definitely have a few that we would like to put in place before the end of this year. Taking a month off of spending is a good way to get started on new financial goals.
Why do a Challenge like this?
Taking a few weeks off from spending will help us to find frugal activities to enjoy. I must admit that after doing some shopping in Bulgaria, I feel like it’s a slippery slope. The temptation to spend is so strong right now. I want to stay out of stores, keep our budget intact, and get on track with our financial goals. I’m so impressed by people who do no shopping challenges, and I want to give it a try myself!
Have you ever tried a spending freeze? How did it work out?