February 11, 2020

You Will Be Surprised by This Decision I've Made

I'm embarking on a spending freeze

Some Real Talk

Okay, it’s time for some real talk around here. Are you ready for this? It’s not always easy to be vulnerable, but here we go.

The last couple of years have been tough — personally, emotionally, financially. Here’s just a quick recap: becoming a mom, becoming a self-employed single mom, moving to a new house, dealing with new house flooding, having to move remaining belongings into a storage unit, moving across town into an apartment and a new office space, etc, etc.

All of those things add up! And our monthly cash flow/budget situation has suffered. Don’t get me wrong — we are fine long-term. But all these unexpected changes have led me to a point where I just need to reevaluate some things.

I say all that to make an announcement – something that is practically anathema to the blogger mentality.

Keep scrolling to read about the big decision I’ve made…

I am doing a spending freeze.

There. I put it out there. And now I have you all to keep me accountable.

What is a spending freeze?

And in case you are wondering precisely what a spending freeze is, here’s what I’m talking about: For me, a spending freeze involves freezing discretionary spending for a prescribed period. Personally speaking, I plan to abstain specifically from purchasing clothes, shoes, accessories — anything along those lines.

As for how long my spending freeze will be, I plan to do this from now until April 12 – which happens to be Easter. I thought about 30 days, a month, or more. And this timeline felt right. It’s 62 days in total. And it brings it back to a spiritual motivation for doing this. Plus, my birthday is April 15, so the spending freeze will expire just in case to celebrate my birthday. 😉

But the particulars of a spending freeze are up to the person doing it. You might want to try a shorter spending freeze or a longer one. You might want to go hardcore and cut out all spending, or you might want to concentrate on one category.

5 Reasons to Try a Spending Freeze

Allow me to confess… This challenge is going to be very hard on me. Spring is my favorite season, and spring fashion is my favorite fashion! Plus, I’m a blogger! As much as I try not to encourage excess consumerism, there is still a certain level of shopping that comes along with this job.

However, I feel like it’s the right thing for me to do right now. Here are some of the main reasons I am going on a shopping freeze.

1 – To get my budget back on track

Before I worry anyone, let me just say that we are doing fine particularly in the longterm. The balance sheet looks good; it’s the cash flow statement that could use a little work. I just know that I am not being as diligent with every dollar as I should be. I’m revisiting some basic budgeting practices that have worked well for me in the past.

2 – To become more aware of my spending habits

To go along with being more diligent, as I mentioned above, I’ve become lackadaisical with tracking the details of my spending habits. You know how it goes — you swipe, pay for a little something here, and then a little something there. And it all adds up!

I recently did an inventory of my spending habits, and I was shocked by how much I spent at Starbucks last month! And I couldn’t believe the number of recurring payments I had somehow accumulated. This subscription, that app, this service — next thing you know, you have hundreds of dollars automatically going out the door every month.

3 – To build those “delayed gratification” muscles

We are so used to getting what we want when we want it – especially in today’s culture! Can we even resist impulses? Sure we can. But we sure don’t exercise those “muscles” very often. So, I think this will be an excellent way to show myself what I am capable of in that regard.

4 – To appreciate what I already have

After my house flooded a year ago, I moved a bunch of stuff into storage – thinking at it would only be there for a few months. Well, here we are a year later, and I’m still living in an apartment for the foreseeable future. And I’m tired of paying hundreds of dollars a month for storage, so we have been slowly but surely cleaning out the storage unit.

I have found things I had completely forgotten about, particularly when it comes to clothes! Now, of course, some of those don’t fit – and I’m donating and selling things accordingly. But I also found some real gems.

So I am going to use this spending freeze to take inventory of what I have, shop my closet, and make things work! If I find a recurring gap in my wardrobe – i.e., something I think I need – I’ll make a note of it. When the freeze is over, if I still feel that to be a legitimate need, I can consider purchasing the item at that time.

5 – To focus on what’s truly important

Sometimes, the wisest action is to take control of our stuff – and stop letting our stuff control us. Sure – in theory, it sounds appealing to amass a lot of beautiful things. But with that comes the weight of taking care of all those things – storing them, washing them, caring for them. All of that responsibility can become a considerable burden rather than a blessing. “Less is more” is true in many instances.

And at this present time, my priorities are taking care of my little family, taking care of myself, and launching my new business. Anything outside of that can be essentially a distraction from these three priorities.

Plus, we need to be cognizant of how much we have. Truly, we have so much relative to so many in the world. What we deem as needs are most often just wants.

Take the Shopping Freeze Challenge

Thanks for reading along. Stay tuned for my chronicles of this journey. I’ll try to share along the way. And I’ll definitely be sharing the lessons learned afterward.

Are you feeling inspired to curb your shopping? Or, maybe you just want to make sure I’m not alone in this? Join in! Let’s see what we can accomplish and learn over the next eight weeks!

Until next time…

More color, please!



  1. Gina says:

    Bravo and huge props to you for challenging yourself in this way! I’ve always been a naturally frugal person, and since I don’t buy a lot of clothes, shoes and small stuff, it affords me the privilege of making more expensive purchases when I really, really want something nice and high quality. I also have a small house which means that when something comes in, something has to go out. It’s all about balance, right? You got this girl!

    1. TOTALLY. Balance in everything. Moderation in everything.

      Thank you, friend. I appreciate your comment.

  2. lee says:

    That’s awesome to see your commitment to making a change that feels valuable! At the end of 2019, I definitely was less attentive to my budget and spending than I need to be (as a former non-budgeter…eep!); and I noticed it most in my eating habits. I didn’t feel like I ate out all that much, but then (similar to your Starbucks comment) I realized that a coffee here and a muffin there and the occasional lunch ordered in when I was “too busy” the night before to pack a lunch added up so quickly! So that has been a more conscious effort, to spend less on the unnecessary food and drinks, and I figure that’s probably a good health choice, too. Look forward to reading about your experience moving forward!

    1. Thank you, Lee! Your use of the word “conscious” is spot on for me! It’s so easy to turn a blind eye to it. But knowledge is power. So I’m looking forward to resetting and becoming more conscious of my spending.

  3. Erin Urquhart says:

    Yes to this, Carrie! And I’m going to join you on this spending freeze! You continue to inspire me, always.😊

    1. Ah, I appreciate that so much, Erin!

      Obviously, it is only temporary. And I’ll be making a list of “must-haves” when the freeze is over.

      But my hunch is that a lot of the must-haves might not seem so enticing after two months!

  4. Amy Dunn says:

    I love this, Carrie! One of my 2020 goals was to not shop for an entire year. That’s nearly impractical, so maybe I’ll adhere to a 60-day trial period. That’s doable.

    Would love to hear some budgeting tips if that’s a future post!

    1. Thanks a million, Amy! Yes, feel free to take this “baby step” (relative to your lofty entire year goal) with me. 🙂

  5. Cayla says:

    Love this! Since most of our budget is going towards our twins on the way, spending for myself has taken a backseat (as it should)…I started a policy when I got pregnant that if I saw something that I loved for myself, I would save a picture of it and wait about a month. If I still wanted it and it was within budget, then it would be worth it. Boy, has it cut down on returns for “impulse purchases”!

    1. Oh I love that idea, Cayla! That’s a great idea – similar to what I intend to do. I’ll save a list of things, and then we will see what still seems so important two months later!

      And best wishes with your pregnancy! So excited for you.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    You will blossom more than you already do Carrie! You will gain so much more time for the three of you. Shopping our homes and closets creates new discoveries.

    1. Thank you for the beautiful words of encouragement, Elizabeth!

  7. Rosemary says:

    Quality over quantity. Need vs. want. We are all so blessed.

    1. Beautifully put so succinctly!

      Thank you, Rosemary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *