I have fretted over this post for months (notice this was a challenge done in October), but this is something I think is really important. In October of 2015 I joined a spending freeze challenge. I was excited about this challenge, I was looking forward to new ideas on savings and cutting and innovations of using what you had. I started out so strong on the challenge of doing away with my frivolous spending this month. I had a great solid week of not only no spending but also cutting back on expenses too.
The second week was okay, but I lost momentum fast. A few things contributed to this eventual failure. One of the biggest things, I had an unexpected amount of cash that came to me, I was awarded for some work I did and was given a gift card award (don’t be thinking huge amounts here, but it was enough to use at more than one store). Since this was not technically income it was easier to spend, also there were a few things that needed replacements (work clothes and such). The tipping point of spending the money, peer pressure. Several people wanted to know what I was going to spend it on, my husband was one of the most encouraging of spending it on myself somehow.
After that was started it was easy to go out to lunch again and just use that card once or twice, keep in mind this was not a very large amount and it was used up quickly. Once I had gone out for lunch once or twice it was hard to get on the bandwagon again to freeze the spending.
Another contributor was I was not drawn to some of the challenges presented to my throughout the month. After the first two weeks I felt like I couldn’t compete any more. I was at work so I couldn’t go through my closet and re-purpose an old shirt to make it new. I was luck enough to pull off cleaning my cupboards to see what we had for food the week before.
This challenge still means a lot to me and I plan to try again but with a better idea of what to expect. Also I am working on my own list of ways to keep me going throughout the month. I lost motivation so early in the month I felt like I wasn’t able to get much out of it.
Great Things from this experience:
- I was able to cancel several “subscriptions” that were not necessary
- I was able to get some really great freezer recipes that were not just for the crock pot (I have a mostly hate relationship with crock-pot meals as I am not home during the day so they end up being in for too long…every time).
- I challenged myself to try to do more with social media during this time, which gave me a more stable platform to keep going (I know somewhat odd thing to see here in the middle of a blog post but this challenge gave me more visibility on Instagram specifically).
- It helped me see my spending more clearly. The focus on lunch along is a big deal to me. I had been good to bring my lunch for a long time but I became comfortable going out.
- I know I have too much “stuff” in my house and I am working on pairing it all down. Summer Garage Sale is going to be HUGE!
I know that when I signed up for this challenge I encouraged a lot of people to join me in it and see what they can get out of it. My expectations for this challenge were never to get rich off my savings, this I knew was just not happening, but I was game for following along the challenge and getting what I could out of it. I hope that if you did join in you were able to find value in the time you put towards it as well.
Let me know your thoughts on the challenge, I would love to create some type of 31 days challenge for myself someday, maybe 31 days of drinking coffee, now that I could do!