So, a month ago I wrote about wanting to do a major financial detox and spending freeze and reduce spending in all areas thru January. Well, I tried, and I give myself a solid C+ grade. Not a fail, but certainly not an easy A.
What I said I’d do:
- No personal spending or unnecessary, thoughtless spending
- No book buying
- No eating out
- No house spending
What actually happened in each category:
Personal: B grade
I actually did quite well in this category. In the whole month of January I only bought two things for myself. One was a potted miniature rose bush that I got at the grocery store for $5.99 because it had been raining and cloudy every day for over a week and I needed something to cheer me up a bit. I also bought a new pair of jeans, cheap ones from Target. I am in the process of losing quite a bit of weight (more on this later). My fat jeans were either worn to threads with holes in the bum and on the inner thighs, or they were so loose they really didn’t fit anymore. My one-size-above-target-size jeans are still too small, they are pinchy and I can’t sit in them. I didn’t have any in-between pants and found myself without something to wear to a few networking type events. So, I bought a pair of $24.99 jeans to bridge the gap. But! No shoes, no clearance tops, no leggings, no nail polish or manicures or fancy facial cream to try. No coloring books or art supplies or cute earrings or chunky necklaces. No glossy magazines or pretty notebooks. I did not buy all new underwear and bras, or all new gym clothes, even though most of my current things need to be replaced and/or burned in a fire. I believe this shows an incredible amount of progress on my part.
Books: A grade
I did not buy any books this month, something I haven’t done for a VERY long time! I am trying to decide how long I can go without buying a single book and still maintain my own sanity and happiness levels. (Don’t you dare Marie Kondo me on this one, she and I are not remotely on the same page when it comes to books!)
Eating Out: C grade
I was great at not eating out…for the time I was at home in Arizona. But, I totally spaced the fact that I’d be in Salt Lake for a week for work, and ate out lunch every day and two dinners while I was there. I also went to a buy-your-own-dinner networking event here in Arizona and wasn’t committed enough to a) eat before I went and/or b) bring my own dinner to a restaurant. BUT! I didn’t spend money at Starbucks on the daily drink runs with my co-workers, and I didn’t buy dessert (except that one time, okay, twice) which is “extra” of the eating out expenditures…so, not awesome, but not terrible either. And I really only sucked at this one for a week, the rest of the month I did a solid A- grade!
House Spending: F grade
You guys, we had great intentions. And I would like to point out that no additional throw pillows or duplicates of things we already have were purchased. AND I took two full car loads of things to the thrift store (lamps, pillows, blankets, clothes, books, decor items) and sold several via CraigsList.
We bought a new California King mattress for Christmas, and after it was delivered realized that we needed a new bed frame…we carefully bought the one that didn’t also require a box spring… but turns out, it totally required a box spring. And we needed sheets to fit the new (gloriously large!) mattress…and a mattress pad, and a bed skirt to hide the ugly bed frame…and it got very “if you give a mouse a cookie” when it comes to bed things. The queen-sized duvet and comforter are still making do as is, but frankly, that is more because I haven’t found a replacement I like and less to do with trying to save money.
Also, after MONTHS of searching, I finally found the rug I want for our master bathroom….and I bought it, on the spot and without even thinking about it, because there were only two of them and one had some weird staining in the corner.
I ordered a pile of custom mats for various frame-able art pieces that I wanted to get unpacked and hung. We have guests coming mid-February and I wanted to make sure all the art was hung and off the floor before then, so I took the plunge (and, can I just say, my gallery walls are looking SO SO GREAT! Decor win, financial detox fail.) I also printed some poster-size prints of a few photos to hang, and I love seeing them framed and “important” in our home.
I did unpack all our moving boxes but one, and ended up buying some bins and storage containers to help keep the closets tidy. I could have used cardboard boxes, yes. But I wanted those spaces to be done so badly, I ended up biting the bullet and buying the bins I wanted. Seeing my own closet in a state of contained zen gives me warm fuzzies every morning, I’m not even upset about it.
We spent quite a bit at Home Depot, but ended up buying the last of the paint to finally get rid of the horrible yellow-diarrhea-brown walls in this house, and we bought most of the supplies for finishing up the garden planter boxes in our backyard.
Things we did not buy: plants for said boxes or said yard; the rug and chairs I finally decided upon for the porch off our master bedroom; the lovely throw pillows that would be just perfect for that one spot; a rug for the dining room; extra frames for the gallery wall in my office and our bedroom; a bulldog puppy; a pony.
Ok, so lots of things for me to learn, here. I think a financial spending freeze is generally probably a bad idea within 30 days of moving into a new home. Perhaps I’ll try this again in March and see if I can improve my grade.
Have you ever done a spending freeze? Would you ever consider it? For you, what constitutes a spending freeze? Not spending ANY dollars outside mortgage/rent/bills/gasoline? Or any unnecessary dollars? How do you calculate grocery bills into that number?