We have completed the first week of our non-essential spending freeze. If I am being honest, it wasn’t too hard. I think, as with any behavior you are trying to minimize, the perception of deprivation was harder for me than anything else.
My husband and I agreed to the freeze and began on Monday April 1, even though we hadn’t set our ground rules yet (he has odd hours at work and was in the middle of his work week, so we waited until Tuesday to set the rules). By Tuesday, I already felt the pull of wanting things. It’s spring in Montana, which means the only consistency in the weather is that it is inconsistent. But Tuesday was a pretty day and I wore a pair of flats to work. While I was in the office I discovered that the lining of the flats was starting to peel. Immediately, I went online to look for replacements. I had to remind myself as I scrolled Amazon mindlessly that I couldn’t buy flats this month. Looking deeper, I realized I have two other perfectly good pairs of flats at home. This made me realize that new flats were definitely not a need. Being pulled towards internet shopping with a false sense of need became a theme for me this week. Finally, I deleted all the shopping apps from my phone. It was definitely time for a step back.
Each time I thought of something I just HAD to have I tried to instead think about exactly why we are doing this spend freeze. I will admit, it was tough to say no to things I wanted and could almost justify. It made me feel deprived. But the truth is, I am not deprived at all. I have plenty of the things I both need and want. I just have to take stock.
WEEK # 1: SPENDING
$71 at the grocery store. We made two trips, both with lists and got supplies for meal prepping breakfasts and lunches for work.
$47 on Pet Supplies. We went to Pet Smart and Walmart to get food and a few other necessary supplies for our cat, we do this roughly once a month.
$47 on household products at Target. We were out of stain fighters and a few other laundry supplies and we needed to replace the air filters in our air purifier as allergy season will be starting soon.
$28 on one dinner out with friends. We were celebrating some work successes with friends and went to dinner.
$150 on Rent. We are lucky enough to rent from family and out of their generosity our rent is low in exchange for yardwork and maintenance help and also with the understanding that the funds we don’t spend on rent go to saving for a house and paying down debt.
$12 on a Car Wash. This one was, in all honesty, probably not a necessity. Sometimes in Montana in the spring you have to take advantage of a pretty day to get the layers of winter dirt off your car.
TOTAL SPENT: $355
We were on budget with our spending and we stuck to our rules. We were also able to save some money towards our vacation goal (I’ll calculate total saved in April at the end of the month). I think, overall, we are off to a good start. I have a feeling that the sense of deprivation will get easier as we get further into this challenge. Hopefully week 2 will go just as well!