I first announced I was going on a spending freeze back in April. I’ve learned a lot about my spending tendencies since then. I spend when I’m emotional, for one, and I’m actually happier when there are fewer things coming into our home. (You can read more of the lessons I’ve learned in this Instagram caption.)
It’s time for me to move into the next phase of my spending shift, this time with a gentler approach. Today I’m sharing how the spending freeze went and the lessons I’ll be taking with me from here on out.
First, let me share a little recap of my original intentions for the spending freeze. As I defined it for myself, this wasn’t meant to be a complete freeze on all spending. At its core, I wanted it to help me become more intentional about where I was spending money and pause before making purchases. I hoped to learn to be less reactive and stop hastily spending money to solve issues in my work and personal life. In my day-to-day life, I wanted to:
The pause on home projects meant I wouldn’t embark on any major redesigns. It also meant I wouldn’t hire people to do projects around the house, which can become costly rather quickly. This was the biggest area I cut back. By doing so, I gained a greater sense of peace in my home, was required to make fewer decisions, and experienced a lot more lightness just living here for a bit.
While I did still occasionally buy clothing during the spending freeze, I spent significantly less than I would have otherwise. I avoided the websites I knew would tempt me and I gained a better relationship with my own consumption and relationship with fast fashion.
I realized that, for me, the excitement of purchasing clothing was often actually more about finding the pieces than wearing them once they arrived. The sense of urgency that drove a lot of purchases before has been replaced with a greater level of intentionality. The few pieces I bought have silhouettes I know I love on my body and are specific items I’ve had on my list of wants for some time.
I cooked lunch at home more often than I had in a while. This helped bring a bit more creativity back into the kitchen. I will say we didn’t cut spending on takeout and eating out as much as we could have. This is partially because being social in the warm summer months is pretty special when you live in a place like Minnesota!
I’ve found that the little changes I make day after day are what truly make the most difference. Going forward, I want to shift my spending approach so it’s more sustainable for the long haul—no extremes involved.
One thing I know about myself is this: I have a tendency to go to extremes when I’m trying out a new habit. I do really well for a little while in all-or-nothing scenarios and then I tend to swing the other way. Over time I’ve found that the little changes I make day after day are what truly make the most difference. Going forward, I want to shift my spending approach so it’s more sustainable for the long haul—no extremes involved.
The key to this shifted approach will be about slowing down before making a purchase. I want to put the process of finding a given item at the forefront of my purchasing habits rather than the act of buying itself. When I pause before buying, I tend to make much more intentional purchases I’ll love for years rather than impulse purchases that are only temporarily filling a void. (For more info on this topic, read this post all about three helpful questions I now ask myself before spending.)
This idea of pausing isn’t new to me, but its importance was illuminated clearly throughout the past few months. It’s ultimately about recognizing that sometimes it takes a while to find the “right” thing and learning to be okay with that.
BY Kate Arends - August 22, 2022
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.