Jun 23, 2016

Spending Freeze - It Is Time!

So you know how I went from full time to part time this year, in order to focus on freelancing?  Well, despite having enough work to keep me busy, I haven't quite managed to attain my prior salary (understatement).  I'm not upset about that, because it's only natural and my client base is still building, BUT I've finally hit a troubling truth.

I gotta stop spending.  I've been completely ignoring my reduced salary and continuing to shop the way I did with a 9-5 and my bank accounts are finally making it clear that that's not a sustainable pattern.  I've also been mixing my business income and my personal money together pretty freely and it's also time for that to end.

So here's my spending freeze rules.

1. No Eating Out

For me, personally.  Totally allowable as a date night, because the joint account does what the joint account wants!

2. No Personal Shopping

Sorry, Amazon.  It looks like you and I are on a break.  Again, household purchases and things for the dogs are fine, because that's joint account money (and Ryan approves it first, obviously).  But clothes, makeup, and little optimizer things for myself are all out.

3. No Impulse Buys and Exceptions Planned

If there seems to be a legitimate reason to purchase something, put it on the "Stuff Jenn Wants" list and sit on it for a week or so, then decide.  Also, I was set to do this hard core and then realized I have at least 3 occasions when the freeze will be broken, so it'd be silly to pretend it won't.  But other than the following, I'll do my best to avoid extra expenses: 1) Concert tomorrow with a friend 2) Family vacation for the week after - I should pitch in for groceries and I'm sure there will be activities to pay for 3) NJ Blate in July

4. Business != Personal

Now that I have a business bank account, it's time to keep that money separate from my personal stuff and to save it for business purchases and taxes.  I might pay myself out of it occasionally, but only if there's surplus.  Also, keep business expenditures within the range of what that account can cover.  No more credit and then paying it with personal money.  My business might not be able to pay for all my expenses but at least it can pay for itself!

5. Re-Establish Bank Account Baseline

I'd like to get my accounts back to where they're comfortable before ending this spending freeze.  If I'm good and nothing unexpected happens, that should take 2-3 months.  Of course, there's a good chance I'll be due for 60,000 mile maintenance and life always have curveballs, so we'll see.

6. And Then Budget

Oh budgeting!  What a tumultuous history we've had.  I've tried this several times and failed, pretty consistently.  So I think I'll start this attempt by just tracking purchasing for a month, and then setting budgets based on that, rather than pulling numbers out of the air.  Undecided yet if I want to use Mint (which has a beautiful layout, but I rarely check often enough to be useful), or do it manually with Google Docs or iSpending or some other app.  Anyway, I have time for this since I need to get through the freeze first.

And that's it!  Wish me luck.

Have you done a spending freeze?  How did it go?  Do you feel like a "freeze" actually prevents you from spending money or do you tend to just wait until it's over and then buy what you wanted during the freeze?


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10 comments:

  1. I never do spending freezes because I rarely have extra money to waste anyway and when I do I treat myself. With Tyson's fluctuating schedule and pay it's hard to keep a set budget beyond paying our bills and saving a little cash for emergency stuff (school requests for payment and they only take cash emergencies).

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  2. Yay I'm doing this too! I have a post about it going up next week. I'm going to do a year long shopping ban. Gonna be fun! Well, maybe not exactly 'fun' but I'm still excited. You're going to do awesome! We can keep each other off Amazon haha

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  3. I need to do this. I say it every time Steph posts about it, but I really do. I just bought from Amazon this morning.

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  4. Good for you for taking control of your money - that it what is most important. Being honest about your financial situation so you can make smart decisions. For me, I tend to avoid spending freezes because right now I rarely have extra funds for treat yourself things, so I don't buy them. But I am the type of person who tells myself I can't buy anything (or eat anything) then I get obsessive over it. I know how much money I have to spend on bills, food, etc and if there some leftover, then I can treat myself without feeling bad. Good luck!

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    1. I tend to be very all or nothing. So I'm hoping this approach will work for me. We'll see. I've never successfully done one yet, but there's a first time for everything!

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  5. I hate the word budget. And spending freeze. Hahahaha. I think I do worse if I tell myself that I need to not spend money in a certain month. Like something always comes up. But if I just think about every purchase.....I usually dont get 75% of what I intend to so I think that works for me. Its like food. If I say I absolutely cannot, then I crash hard. LOL

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  6. I am on a spending freeze currently with the wedding coming up. I am on a budget for lots of things, but unfortunately some circumstances out of my control happened and it kind of pushed me way back. SO it's good I'm already budgeting! Good luck with yours!

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  7. good luck girl! you go. i am doing the same thing (1 month down... hoping for a year, we'll see!) but i also came to the realisation that i would break it a few times, and i would rather prepare for the expectations than try and restrict too much and then 'fail' and give up. good luck to you!

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  8. Love that you're doing this. I'm right there with you and I'm STILL doing the 9-5 gig. I'm going to start August first since I have some smaller things but nothing major planned. Plus... I need to start saving for Mexico :)

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  9. Tracking purchases for a month beforehand was the only way I was able to successfully budget. I tried to use Mint, but pen/paper (and the Notes app on my phone) were the most effective for me personally. Are you still on a freeze? Did you learn anything or see a big difference? I've done them in the past, but just started a new (at least) month-long one yesterday!

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