Have you come across the term 'spending freeze'? If you follow the personal finance blogs, then this term won't be unfamiliar to you. This is a very trendy topic in the blogosphere and bloggers have been discussing about it for years. However, if you've heard about this topic for the first time, then take some time out and go through this article at once.
Spending freeze - What is it all about?
Spending freeze refers to the time period when you abstain from spending. Now, it is virtually impossible to have zero expenses for 2 weeks. There're a few things on which you're bound to spend money. For instance, water, electricity, gasoline, etc. Besides, you need to stock up food and hygiene items for your survival and you need to pay money for them.
Basically, you won't actively spend money during the 2 week period. This is the time when you abstain from spending (apart from a few necessary bills you can't avoid) and reevaluate your finances, admire what you already have in your house and try your best to boost your savings.
Try to consider this period as the time when you're on a crash diet. This is the time when you get various chances to improve your financial health.
Reasons to try out spending freeze for 2 weeks
Why should you go for a spending freeze? Well, lots of people go for it to get their budget on track. Others try it out to save faster. Here are the 5 reasons why you may want to experience spending freeze as well.
1. Distinguish between what's important and what's not: Sometimes, you just lose focus in your life. You don't know what is important and what's not. Spending freeze helps you get a reality check. When you're compelled to not spend money, you start realizing what matters most in your life - spending quality time with your loved ones or going for a shopping spree. Instead of watching mindless movie at an expensive theater or having sumptuous meal at a top-notch restaurant to quench your boredom, you can organize potluck party at home. You can also develop a habit of reading good books to broaden your horizon.
2. Build a defense mechanism against impulse purchases: Strong willpower can help you achieve anything in the world. This 2 weeks help you strengthen your willpower. Once you're able to pass the pressure test successfully, you become stronger than ever. You'd be able to resist impulse purchases and end up spending more.
3. Save a stash of cash within a few days: Unless you go for a spending freeze, it is simply impossible to accelerate the saving process. You don't have any idea about how much you're spending on irrelevant items each week. Spending freeze helps you save money on those items. You can put that money towards your financial goals. Most importantly, you can get rid of some long term bad financial habits.
4. Learn to live on what you have in pantry: Do you often feel that there is hardly anything to eat in your house? Do you bother to check your pantry during those days? Well, if you do, you'll find that your pantry is fully stocked. And you can cook something for your yourself instead of ordering a pizza.
Being compelled to live without spending a dime for 2 weeks is a wonderful thing. You're forced to have a look at your pantry and create a wonderful dish with the ingredients you have. If you don't have any recipe, you just browse through the cooking websites and cook a meal for your family.
The biggest benefit of cooking meals with the available ingredients is that you save food dollars. Other than that, you skip wasting food too.
5. Get vital information on budgeting: Spending freeze acts as a eye-opener. You realize where you're overspending - clothes, shoes, accessories, eating outs, etc. Once you understand where you were getting liberal with your money, you can re-plan your budget and have a control over it in future.
Right ways to kickstart 2-week spending freeze
So, now that you know why you should go for a spending freeze, have a look at the guidelines to begin begin a 2 week spending freeze.
1. Have a look at your inventory - Check what you've in store - toothpaste, toilet paper, napkins, etc. This will help you understand if you're ready for a 2 week spending freeze. Obviously, you can't starve or be unhygienic during this period.
2. Determine how to utilize your savings - You're going for the spending freeze in order to save money. But, how do you want to use it? Do you want to use the money for paying off debts? Are you aiming for a robust emergency fund? Remember, if you don't know what to do with your savings, then there are high chances of misusing it at the end of spending freeze.
3. Have a look at your pantry: Plan your meals for the next 14 days. Buy whatever you need to have meals in advance. You can't go for grocery shopping during the next week. However, keep a certain amount of money to purchase a few fresh veggies or fruits.
4. Fill up your tank: You're just going for spending freeze. You're not giving up your life. This means you need to carry on with all your daily activities - getting fresh in the morning, going to work, dropping children to school, etc.
Refill your car for the next 2 weeks so that you don't have to visit gas station in the next 14 days. Remember, if you avail public transport, then also you've to pay fare, which cost money. And your goal is to spend your precious dollars. Right? So, is it not better to drive to office or school without spending a dime during the spending freeze period?
Going for a spending fast is not easy. It requires patience and a strong control over yourself. However, the rewards of a spending freeze is quite remarkable. You get an opportunity to save a lot of money. Besides, you can finally change your life forever by following the ground rules for a few days.