How to do a Spending Freeze

Most of us go through times when we wish we had more money. Many of us are feeling that way right now in the weeks following the holidays. So how can you save money fast? The answer might be simpler than you think. Just stop spending money! For a short period of time. Today, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about how to do a spending freeze.

How to do a Spending Freeze - Everything you need to know to save money fast! I did this and I saved $200 in 10 days!

Everything you need to know about how to do a Spending Freeze


What is a spending freeze?

Doing a spending freeze is a great way to save up money quickly.

A spending freeze is when you don’t spend money for a set period of time. How long? Well, you can decide that. No money whatsoever? You decide that too. It is entirely your decision how exactly you want to do it.

My intention with this post is to give you the information you need to make those decisions in the way that is best for you so your spending freeze can be a successful one.

How long should I do my spending freeze?

This is really up to you. I generally do a few 2-week long spending freezes each year. You could do a freeze for one week, ten days, 2 weeks, or longer. You decide how long you can make it last. It really will depend on your family’s individual circumstances.

For your first spending freeze I recommend you start with one week.

After you conquer your first week, you can decide if you want to continue on for a second week or stop for now and try a second week later on.

If your first few weeks fly by without a struggle and you want to keep the freeze going, go for it!

So… I can’t buy anything at all?

This is something else that’s completely up to you!

When I do a spending freeze I don’t buy anything except gas. I do continue to pay our bills (of course!) including the extra amount that we pay towards our biggest debt.

Some families choose to allow themselves to continue to buy very basic groceries (milk, bread, eggs) during their freeze. For me, I think buying one grocery would make me want to buy another and another. So, it’s easier for me to not buy any groceries during our spending freeze.

This is something that you should decide based on what you think will work best for you.

After your spending freeze, reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Then, decide if there’s anything you’d like to do differently next time.

How to do a Spending Freeze - Everything you need to know to save money fast! I did this and I saved $200 in 10 days!

Here are some tips to make your spending freeze successful:

Set a goal – Before you begin your spending freeze, it’s important to know why you want to do the freeze and know what you plan to do with the money you’re going to save. This will keep you motivated during your spending freeze. It will also ensure that the money you’ve saved goes toward a beneficial purpose instead of getting spent away or used for something less important.

Plan ahead – It’s wise to decide at least a week ahead of time that you’re going to be doing a spending freeze. This helps you to prepare (mentally, and logistically!). Now, don’t go buy a ton of stuff because you know you’ll be going without spending. But, while you’re at the grocery store, maybe think ahead and grab an extra loaf of bread to throw in the freezer. Or if you know you’re running out of a vital supply (like, toilet paper) you can pick that up before you begin your freeze.

Eat what you have – Go through your pantry, your fridge, your freezer, and anywhere else that you keep food. Make a list of everything you have and brainstorm ways to use it. (I wrote extensively about this in my post Everything you need to know about No Spend November).

Get your family on board – This is so essential. It’s no fair for you to stop spending and start sacrificing if your spouse is going to keep spending as usual. It has to be a team effort. Have a conversation about working together on the spending freeze to meet the goal you’ve set for your family.

Life goes on during your spending freeze

Remember that there are so many things you can do without spending any money at all.

You can still see your friends. Invite your friends over instead of going out. Or go for a walk. There are so many things you can do without spending money. You just may need to get creative.

You can still do fun things with your kids. Go to the park or the library. Do something special at home (like build a pillow fort in the living room). Again, get creative!

You can still have romantic date nights with your hubby. Make a meal together. Have a movie night. Build a fire. Go on a hike. There are so many things that you can do without spending money.

You can do it!

It’s super important that you go into your spending freeze with a positive attitude. Believing that you can do it will go a long way towards making it a reality. If you start to feel discouraged, remind yourself about your goal so you know what you are doing this for. And write that goal on a post-it and stick it right in your wallet in case you are feeling tempted. It will be worth it when you can reap the benefits of all the money you’ve saved.

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Want more? Here are some of my best posts about saving money:

The First Step to Saving More Money

5 Tips to Shop Less

How to get a good deal on a Car when you’re not good at Negotiating

This one simple change can save you $100 or more Every Month!

3 Tips to cut your Electric Bill in Half

You can read more about my story here: A Spender and A Saver Fall in Love

And don’t forget to subscribe and get access to all of the resources you need to start saving today!


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1 Comment

  1. We’re in the middle of our No-Spend January (or I guess a little more than halfway through.) So we do some minimal grocery spending and have some exceptions, and it is definitely addressing the concerns that we needed to curb some impulse spending.

    One of the biggest hints this time is that when life happens and you spend, don’t use it as an excuse to stop. A few exceptions don’t derail the progress if you don’t let it, but sometimes things come up where the value from spending exceeds the value of sticking with the program. For instance, we had an ice storm a couple of weeks back and refilled an extra LP gas tank, just in case we lost power. Yeah, it was $10 we hadn’t planned to spend. But if we’d lost power, we could have used it on our gas logs or to cook on the grill, and that extra security provided better value.

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