may spending freeze: a recap

yesterday marked the last day of our may spending freeze & today i thought i'd share a little recap of our experience in saying no to most purchases, regulating needs versus wants & finding contentment in what we already have. 

before the month started, i shared what the spending freeze looked like for our family & part way through the month, i shared an update

overall, the spending freeze was a huge success.

we cut way back & saved over $1k toward unexpected expenses & debt accrued from earlier in the year. our regular monthly budget is not extravagant (we don't have cable & we rarely eat out), but we realized that even the slightest spending toward a red box movie & to-go coffee really adds up. 

we maximized the use of what we already owned, parted ways with excess & felt the slightly uncomfortable pull to say no to those extra purchases. 

surprisingly, i also saved a lot of time not spending money. instead of purchasing things i thought we needed, i spent my time cleaning out our closets & organizing our spaces to accommodate our lighter living. 

i did mess up a few times. 

i purchased a few pieces of clothing for our upcoming europe trip & my summer capsule wardrobe. we also spent a few bucks over our date night budget celebrating a friend's birthday. 

despite a few hang ups along the way, we learned a lot about our spending habits:

- like i said before, i gained a lot more time not spending money. i used that extra time to organize, purge, enjoy hobbies (reading, practicing calligraphy) & simply rest. 

- gifts are a necessity to our budget. i am a giver by nature & love gifting even the simplest of gifts to friends & family. the void of that extra $30 each month to spend on others really left me feeling down. that giving category is no longer a non-negotiable in our budget; it's a necessity.

- date nights are key to our marriage sanity. although we kept our date night budget & just trimmed it back slightly, we really wished we had kept the $60 instead of $40 for the month. date nights are a way for us to connect outside of the home & celebrate over good food. every date night is sacred & a necessity to the health of our marriage. 

- the garden is an amazing way to cut down on the grocery budget. we spent far less this month than during the winter months eating fresh salads & vegetables from the garden. we love harvesting baskets full garden goodies & it's a great way for us to connect after a long day.

 - we will do this again. it was an effective way for us to get back on track financially & a fun experiment for our family. 

i'd love for you to share what you learned during your spending freeze!


Katie @ Stress and Stars said...

I didn't end up doing one for May - a little bit too much came up and it never happened. I'm definitely going to work harder at this for this month We really do need to start saving towards a vacation, stuff for the house, and just generally having a little more padding in our bank account than we do now. I KNOW the money is there - I just have to stop spending those bits here and there. It doesn't help that I have a ten-month-old rapidly outgrowing all the clothing I buy her, haha - it seems she needs two or three new items of clothing each month!

Debbie Fisher (debbiedee) said...

I read your blog faithfully, but rarely comment and this post prompted me to do so. It's been awhile since we've done a spending freeze and I'm hoping we can do one in August. This year has been absolutely crazy in the amount of weddings and baby and bridal showers. 16 so far!

I did want to comment on your comment about the $30 no longer being an option in the giving category. You make such lovely things in food and craft, why not gift those? You could use what you have and create a lovely basket. I'm always picking up baskets (and now others do so for me as well) for 50¢ or less and keep them on hand to fill with my own food and crafty goodies. It's a way for me to be able to give (something I love to do as well) and not break the budget.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I recently went to a more "strict" budget and did a spending freeze for the month of May similar to yours (date night is a MUST for us as well to feel connected to each other and to friends). We saved a great amount of money and relized how much "waste" we spend every month. I do not feel like we missed out of any joy because we were on a spending freeze. Gifts are a major thing for me and it was tough. My best friend's birthday was this month and I made her a birthday funfetti candle inspired by pintrest that mostly used stuff I already had. Only had to buy candle wax. We are going to try to keep up a spending freeze for the summer and see what happens. Thanks for helping me not feel alone in worrying about giving gifts and such.


erin said...

Nat, I love how you covered the entire scope of this "experiment"...from beginning, to middle, to end.
I'm inspired by you daily!

Ali said...

Thanks for sharing this recap! Could you share more about how you budget and/or what your budget looks like? I'm very curious about how you managed to save $1,000 extra in one month (congrats!) and also how having a garden/farm impacts your budget. Thanks!

Cutie and the Geek said...

This is a good idea and I think I may try to do this to see how it works out for us. Thanks for sharing!

Danielle Wagasky said...

We didn't do one in May, but I am starting one for June and am feeling great already. We just came back from vacation and are feeling the need to restock our savings. Thanks for the inspiration lady:)

Danielle @ Blissful & Domestic

Shanice McFerran said...

Hey Natalie!

Just wondering....what kind of pens do you use to practice calligraphy? Thanks!

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