CHALLENGE: 21 Day Spending Freeze

by JMoro on June 21, 2012

This challenge is exactly as it sounds, I’m going to try and  freeze all non-essential spending for 21 days.

My previous challenge, MARCH GROCERY CHALLENGE: Cut my spending by 21%, was quite a success and I have been itching to do another spending challenge ever since. The opportunity has finally presented itself, and although I think this one will be harder than the last, I am very excited. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am now saving for a wedding. The fiancé and I have a great savings plan in place in which we will transfer a percentage of each check into the wedding fund. If all goes as planned we will have enough money on the day of the wedding and will not start our married life in debt. That is of course THE PLAN.

Unfortunately, with it being the beginning of the summer, we have been spending frivolously (buying new clothes, eating out at restaurants with rooftop decks, planning camping trips, and signing up for pricey road races) and realized this past weekend that we can’t make the transfers we thought we’d be able to make this month. So Sunday night I proposed the 21 Day Spending Freeze to get us back on track. Well, Monday I was too lazy to cook and we went to Panera for dinner. We are not off to a great start so I decided to blog about it. This way I am held accountable for what I spend, and maybe I can encourage others to join me and take part in their own spending freeze.

Why 21 days?
According to research it takes 21 days to make something a habit.  And we NEED to get in the habit of spending less. Since a spending freeze isn’t a long-term lifestyle, 21 days is the perfect amount of time. We started on Monday, June 18th and our spending freeze will end on Monday, July 9th.

What does a spending freeze entail?
NO unnecessary spending. We will not spend money on anything but necessities, such as gas, food, and medication.  We will use up the food that is in the cabinet and find free ways to have fun on the weekends. Our grocery budget is now limited to what we need, not what we want.

What do I plan to achieve?

  • Learn how to use what we have and make do without
  • Reinforce the difference between wants and needs
  • Get better at delaying gratification
  • Stay out of the stores and restaurants and learn how to have free fun
  • Boost our wedding fund with the money we save

I will write an update every week, detailing what I have spent money on and what I have gone without. I will also post any tips along the way to help others with their spending freeze. So stay tuned!

Have you ever tried a spending freeze? Are you going to join me and attempt your own spending freeze?


Janice is the Web Content Management Coordinator at American Consumer Credit Counseling. She loves penny-pinching and discovering creative ways to save money without sacrificing too much. As an enthusiastic financial blog follower, she is always searching for new money saving tips and tricks and is eager to share them with others.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily @ evolvingPF June 21, 2012 at 6:08 pm

No. Instead of freezing non-essential spending I just try to anticipate, budget for, and save for all our spending, essential or not. Some months we only have one or two surprise purchases, which I consider very successful. I think that a freeze would be helpful for differentiating between wants and needs, though. Best of luck.

IdaBaker June 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I am on a spending freeze almost all the time, trying to get my finances back in order. Last week I was at an outlet mall seriously thinking about purchasing a pair of hiking sandals. I found a pair that I liked and fit, but the more I thought about it, the more I knew I could wait a few more months until I felt my budget was ready for that.

I wish you luck on your endeavor, and look forward to your updates!!

carmen July 19, 2012 at 1:07 am

how do I start the challage

Donald July 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I took a challenge similar to this a while back. I had several daily habits (snack shop and movie rentals) that tallied up to about $50 a week. My goal was to not only save money but to also get out of the habit of engaging in this behavior. I must admit the first week was torture but once it was established as my new habit, I was one happy guy. Good luck to you in your challenge.

Doris Whitaker July 30, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I like this idea! I have recently STOPPED swiping my employee badge at work to pay for coffee, snacks and lunch. This is a terrible habit as the amount spent is deducted from my paycheck! I need every dime of my pay! Thanks for the stimulating idea.

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