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.
Kate is currently learning to play the Ukulele, much to the despair of her husband, kids, and dogs. Follow her on Instagram at @witanddelight_.
BY Kate Arends - August 22, 2022
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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.
Wow- this post resonated with me so much, especially the shopping for clothing part. I feel like I get some kind of joy out of the hunt for “finding” things that I like, but really I’m not in need of. Once I find something, I have a hard time not pulling the trigger. I do try to hold out for sales, which can feel like even more of a score, but a lot of things I buy probably land at a 8/10 rating in the grand scheme of things- instead of 10/10 love status. I’ve thought of moving to a… Read more »
I’m glad this resonated! I can relate to a lot of what you’re saying here too. I hope you find a spending freeze of your own insightful if you do decide to try it!
I remember doing a clothing spending freeze, and then only buying ethically. Both revolutionized my approach to consumption and I’m still on the ethical only (95% of the time) approach. The freeze is such a great way to retrain your mind! YNAB was so helpful with this, too.
This sounds like such a great approach. Thanks for your comment!
I love this! This makes me want to try a spending freeze now!
Demi | https://demibang.com/
I’m glad this resonated with you!
I’m a big fan of no spend months. Two things that have really helped are removing any credit card info from online sites and allocating $40 a week for food. Each Sunday I scour the fridge for things I need to use up and plan the week’s menu from there. It hasn’t been easy but when I go back and look at my checking account balance, I feel a sense of accomplishment 🙂
That’s great. I’m glad you found a system that works well for you!