A 10 Month Spending... Frost

October 20, 2014

well, a spending freeze is no spending.  so my 10 month shopping ban is more like a little frost, since some spending is allowed.  10 months because i know i can't make it 1 year.  i move next september when my lease is up and there's always costs associated with that.  so november 1, 2014 - august 31, 2015.  totally doable.


why:
(1) moving next september.  my lease will be up and john and i will be buying a house.  saving money for that needs to happen for sure.  this is probably the main reason.
(2) travel.  i, unlike most people, hate saving and budgeting money for travel.  on my list of wants and desires, travel isn't even ranked except for an occasional trip to vegas.  i dislike travel very, very much.  besides enjoying the comforts of my own home and my dog, i'm terrified of flying.  like, mix 2 xanax into my 7th mimosa if you want to get me on a plane kind of terrified.  i much prefer destinations i can drive to.  but, flying travel must be done.  my best friend is in california and i have to go visit.  at some point.  and it's freaking expensive to fly to and stay in l.a., damn.  john also wants to go to vegas soon (april, until i had a freakout about the cdc's lack of, what's that second c stand for, oh right, control, and decided we're on lock down) and do an all-inclusive someplace warm in the future.  he is as bad about flying as i am, so i don't even know who's going to get us on and off the planes.  but i'm going to start saving anyway.
(3) emergency fund.  isn't that always the way?  it should be like 6 months of expenses, and i've been putting it off since i still have the parental safety net.  which is ridiculous, i'm almost 30 (but it's nice to know they'll always help me.)  i think the usual number is $10,000.  who knows where that number came from, but $7k to go.  ouch.
(4) i've been debt free since paying off student loans in february of this year and my credit card (a small bill, about $1,000) in april.  i'd rather save what i was making in payments than experience that whole 'lifestyle inflation' thing.

my acceptable purchases (besides fixed bills like rent):
- groceries.  but i only spend about $50 per month here. (this number seems to shock people, but remember, though i eat cheese when i go out, at home i eat strictly vegan.  if you want to save money on groceries, eat vegan.  meat, dairy and lots of desserts are what make your bill go up.)
- pet supplies.  not that i go crazy and buy 10 toys and $50 worth of treats each month, but hawkeye gets at least $70 in the budget each month for food, grooming, flea meds, etc etc. plus at least $40 per month to save up for the vet expenses come april.  hawkeye's account is never touched or subject to spending freezes.  she's princess.
- pre-approved clothing items.*  i made a list of items i know i need.  i guess mostly to replace things that are getting worn out (like the tank tops i wear under everything) and a couple of things i realized are big gaps in my wardrobe.  it's a short list and shouldn't cost much.
- replacement clothing items.  everything i kept during round 1 of closet purging seems to be in very good condition, so i don't foresee anything needing replacement.  however, since i have a minimalist wardrobe and wear the same pieces all the time, if i break a heel on my black pumps or get a big hole in my white sweater, i need to replace those.  i don't have backups. 

*when i say clothes, i mean everything involved in getting dressed, including accessories, shoes and purses.

what i'm not buying:
- excessive eating out/ordering in.  nixing this category completely for 10 months is totally unrealistic.  but i can definitely limit it.  i'll set a small budget for it each month.  this is easier through the next 2 months since john is on 7-10s (10 hour days, 7 days a week) and he is my eating out partner in crime.  we do once a week, but i think i'll cut it down to twice a month.  and he has to start loving my coupons.  november = birthday month = so. much. free. food.
- gifts and holiday spending.  i include this in the 'not buying' category because it won't come out of my paychecks/monthly budget.  all gift giving/holiday spending this year is going to be paid for by swagbucks.
- clutter-causing entertainment.  i think of this category as things like books and magazines, dvds, candles, home decor, etc.  really, shouldn't be an issue.  i get real simple, glamour, self, and cosmo all delivered to me - free!  i earned enough points on recyclebank in the last few months that i have 1 year subscriptions to all those for free.  i don't buy books ever since i don't like the clutter (same for dvds, i only have 2) and i just get everything at the library.  what will probably entice me more than anything is a new phone.  i'm still on the iphone 4 (never had siri) so i'm pretty behind.  but, it works just fine.  i'm not shelling out to replace it unless it breaks.  even though i'm years beyond being eligible for an upgrade, it makes the monthly price go up and puts me back under a 2 year contract.  i like none of those things.  so i may start putting away dollars each month to get a newer model off ebay.  staying away from candles will also be pretty hard.  damn you b&bw and your glorious scents.
- excessive outings.  again, can't nix this completely (though i'll try.)  going out and doing things with my friends is fun.  but i'm going to try to limit these events, find cheap and free things to do, have people over more, and plan ahead for bigger cost events by earning extra money.  like selling some things i declutter and pet sitting/dog walking.  (mom pays me to watch her dogs and people in my neighborhood are some seriously lazy ass pet owners.  more money for me.)

things you'll be surprised i'm not buying:
- makeup, toiletries and household supplies.  i actually have a stockpile large enough to cover everything in these categories until mid-summer.  i think i can make it all last until the move.  except toilet paper.  because we seem to go through that fast and also stuart likes to play with it and it's too cute to stop him.  whatever, i use coupons and get toilet paper practically free anyway.  worth the price of a little kitty happiness.  i might have to adjust as things start running out, but that's seriously at least 6 months from now.
- things i already don't buy.  coffee (i get it free at work), fast food (besides my fave, taco bell, but i include that in the eating out i do with john), cable, anything car related since i don't have one.  there's a surprising number of things that i really just don't waste money on anymore!

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31 comments

  1. I'm just curious as to what you buy at the grocery store every week to stay at such a low budget! I'm really interested

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    1. I can definitely do a future post about that!

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    2. Please do! I'd want to read that one too!

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  2. This is awesome. I hear you on the travel thing. I actually do want to see more of the world and flying doesn't scare me, but I wouldn't say I'm a fan of it. I'd rather take a road trip any day. Hope you'll keep us updated over the next 10 months about how you're doing with this! good luck :)

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  3. I can't believe you only spend $50 a month on groceries. I spend that weekly...

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  4. I can't wait to follow along on your adventure! I need to sit down and write out everything I can do for a month long spending freeze. I think I would save so much. Just in the eating out part!

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  5. I am intruiged by this recycle bank....

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  6. I looooooooove recycle bank! I se it for random coupons, $5 amazon gift cards, etc...

    I'm really impressed with this, what a huge goal. I'm quite certain there is no way in hell I could do this.

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  7. I am just commenting to let you know that you have an ad in your sidebar to "punch bieber"... and that has to be the funniest shit ever. I will screen shot it to you!

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  8. I am kind of excited about my spending freeze(ish) to see how much extra money I will have to put towards my loans/savings account.

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  9. I am excited for future updates about this. I need to trim down on my excessive eating out too. So hard!

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  10. You've got this!

    So many times we spend on things because we think we can't do without them. I've been through enough freezes and watches to know what I truly enjoy or what adds to my life and what's just noise.

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  11. We struggle the most with eating out. This is 100% due to the fact that I am the only one that cooks. The days were I would rather punch you in the throat than cook happen about 1x per week. And we go out on Friday night date night. But, we do budget for these things, so I guess it's not too terribly bad.

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  12. I like the little switch : ) Kevin and I really need to join in on a frost that's for sure!

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  13. oh the travel thing makes me sad. i love travelling. i used to be a good flyer, but as I am getting older I tend to cry more on planes, whats up with that.
    I love that you called this a frost - i am looking to do something similar next year, but i was just going to call it a challenge because i cannot freeze my spending altogether.
    i try to eat more vegetarian at home, my husband is not easily persuaded but he will eat a few meals a week with no meat. i can't eat gluten, so it's hard to find things that are GF, vegetarian + suitable for my picky self, lol.
    ps teach me how to get free toilet paper.

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  14. This is a great idea - and I am one of those people that is amazed you only spend $50/month. I spend more than that a week. Don't cringe :)

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  15. You go girl! I'm planning on moving in a few months and quite frankly I am not financially ready, so I probably ought to take a page or two out of your book and start cracking down! :)

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  16. I third wanting to know what you eat and how you don't get bored eating nearly-vegan (and your "rules" for yourself when you go out... I just find eating habits so interesting).

    And I don't mean bored in a bad way, as in that diet is boring. But I was a vegetarian for a month and I personally got bored of it. I know there are good ways to do it - I just haven't found it yet!

    I'm with you on not buying stuff... I am nowhere near as clutter free as you but I am totally thinking about where I'm going to put everything I buy lately.

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  17. Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm excited to get started.

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  18. Your frugality amazes me. I'm going to have to look into this anti-clutter site. I like the sound of free subscriptions!

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  19. You are such a boss at budgeting! I couldn't go a whole year either. I have being doing paleo and I spent only $35 this week but $50 a month is super impressive!

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  20. Buying a house is stressful and expensive. I am so glad I had a cushion saved up. I wish I had more, because now I feel like I am trying to balance the things I want to do for the house, and saving. But, I saw my old landlord today and it made me soooo happy I don't have to rent anymore.

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  21. Best of luck! Very interesting. I am 110% shocked at your grocery budget...no way.

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  22. This is such great advice!!! I'm trying to buckle down on some spending right now too, and it's not easy for me!

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  23. I think this is a very good plan. I really need to stop spending money like crazy. It's getting so out of hand.

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  24. I had a stockpile of paper towels for the last 18 months. I am down to my last roll now. Hard to believe! Sounds like you have a great plan for your frost!

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  25. This is fascinating. I wish I made the kind of money you guys do, but also... fascinating. I keep taking paper napkins from Starbucks to avoid spending money on disposable paper supplies. I am terrible. I am broke. I am terrible.

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  26. I'm impressed! I agree with the emergency fund and the house fund. Good luck!

    -AJ

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  27. Oh my gosh, I am so inspired. I was planning to sit down tonight and plan our budget for 2015 (something I always do about this time of the year), but you have just taken it to a whole new level! I usually have a pretty tight reign on our budget but the last 6 months I really have not kept track, something like this would be great to get me back into the right "financial frame of mind"...thanks for the inspiration!

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