For six months my husband and I have been on a spending freeze. The journey started here. We gave up every little thing in order to sell our house and move out to the country.
It’s been our dream. Below is the post I wrote when we knew the freeze was about to end.
THE HARDSHIPS OF IT
I grew up in a small town in the midwest. I met my best friend when I was in first grade. We grew up riding our bikes to one another’s house daily, riding to the gas station to buy candy with the little money we earned, and taking trips to Target.
I still remember when we hit our first rack of CLEARANCE. We were giggling in amazement at all the lip gloss, nail polish, and makeup that was marked so cheap. Very exciting for girls who were 12 years old.
I have always been watching for a deal. Little did I know that my deal hunting skills would lead into my own side hustle business and more.
Living below your means is really a basic survival skill. Yet it isn’t easy for our culture because we are provided with so much more than we possibly need.
In three years we started our family, lost jobs, and realized we had to make ends meet. When I was pregnant with our first child I was laid off during maternity leave.
Couponing allowed us to get every bill paid and no room for extra. Then I took couponing to the next level and realized the great power of knowing if something is a need or a want.
I realized that many of us grow up thinking we need to maintain a certain lifestyle. One that is so easy to access on social media.
Related:The Start of our Spending Freeze
Yet, if we are living to maintain a lifestyle but we don’t actually have the money to support it what does it leave us with?
I’m a goal getter. I have wanted a farm since I was that 12-year-old girl. That 12-year-old girl who was looking for deals was also going out to a small farm to just help out and be with the animals.
When we started looking for houses after we got our finances under control, and learned how to live on one income and pay off debt, we couldn’t quiet the deep desire for land.
Plus me trying to free-range chickens when you live across from Walmart, wasn’t exactly ideal. 🙂
Little did I know that in order to get our farmhouse with land it would be the most stressful, trying time of my marriage.
But in the end, we survived. We made it. We press on. We come out better than when we went in.
WHEN WE KNEW TO END THE SPENDING FREEZE
This is from our sharing of the house process below in 2016.
We have an offer on our house. Don’t get too excited yet, we have to wait for financing to go through. Once that is set then we can let out the squeal of delight.
11 weeks we haven’t spent money on anything unnecessary. Before we started this spending freeze we looked at our budget for paying two mortgages, and two sets of utility bills along with our groceries and we were left with $25 a month.
You may have stopped right there and said NO way it can’t be done. I am here to tell you it can be done.
WHY WE DID A SPENDING FREEZE
So we put into place a spending freeze. How could we not- we weren’t going to have any money.
Of course, when we went noncontingent on the sale of our house we knew we could dip into our savings account. We will have 3 more weeks to go making our total spending freeze 14 weeks or 98 days. Not once did we have to use money from our savings account.
We were determined not to.
We had both of our daughters birthdays during the spending freeze.
And soon Easter.
Guess what? We haven’t touched our savings account once.
EVEN WITH all those Holidays.
Nope, my husband didn’t get a raise. Did you know he works in construction?! We are not a wealthy family by America’s standards.
I stay home- my income comes from my blogs– but it’s minimal.
So what’s the secret?
We thought once, twice, and three times about each item we purchased.
We didn’t buy unnecessary things. A majority of what we buy in America is not a need. It’s to maintain a lifestyle.
Three years ago our first daughter Riley was 2 and we saw a boys bike on the side of the road for free. We grabbed it. Silly right she is only two.
On her 5th birthday we bought training wheels, spray paint, and a frozen basket with streamers all for $30. Of course, I had my reservations, what if she doesn’t like it, what will everyone think about a boys bike?
Today I look at it and I smile. I feel proud and I can’t wait to share that story with her as she grows and teach her.
On our youngest daughter’s birthday, we gave her a Disney Princess bike that I bought at Kmart before Christmas for $20. I never buy items for that season. I am always buying them a season or two ahead when things are priced low.
See the importance. If you apply the three p’s to your current situation I know you will find financial freedom.
Related: The Three P’s To Financial Success
For Christmas, we set a budget. It is funny in a way how many of us know Christmas is the same day every year and we get all frantic right before running out to buy gifts.
We didn’t go crazy.
All the cute things I knew my girls would love we said no.
Five items each. That’s how we did it.
We didn’t justify that we needed to celebrate all fancy because America says so.
I didn’t need pictures on Facebook of fancy dinners we’re having to justify how I should be treated by my husband. I rested in the love that we have. A love that I know is real every day and not justified by likes on Facebook.
I let the money we had that week went to Eric continuing the tradition of getting the girls something sweet- a stuffed animal.
I haven’t bought anything new for myself.
No new shoes- even if they were $10.
No new shirts even if it was on clearance at Peebles for $6 ( you know that’s my spot!)
If you have looked through your closet and laughed at a shirt you have had for 8 years or more and then thought wait- I’ve had this shirt for 8 years and felt embarrassed.
Whose standard are you living up to?
Do most people care that you always are polished looking by your clothes? Does your family care how you look or your closest friends?
Of course, it FEELS amazing when we have a nice outfit to wear for that special outing. And if we aren’t buying new clothes every week we can probably fit that one new outfit in and it makes it even more SPECIAL.
The truth of the matter is: Whose standards are you living up to and why?
The spending freeze had me reflect on how in just one more month we will have what I feel like is a good chunk of extra money. A new house- new decorations new, new, new.
Then I stopped. We are redoing our dining room. My husband’s time goes there after work and on the weekends.
My 5-year-old tells me how much she misses her daddy.
The renovations can wait. Needing everything now can wait. The deals they come and go.
You know what there isn’t? Time to go back.
Time to wish you spent with your kids when they were younger.
When you are surrounded by the right people in your life they won’t be loving you based on your brand new kitchen appliances.
They will be loving you for you.
So I conclude my spending freeze series with a huge lesson learned and I hope you have too.
I just don’t really need stuff. Even if it’s an amazing deal.
THREE TIMES EVERY TIME
Ask yourself three times. Do I need this? Why do I need this? When I get home how will this benefit me? I encourage you as you follow the blog to not get caught up in deals. All of us are on different paths but we all can benefit from the lesson I learned. If you want to get inspired by saving money be sure to check out my deal blog!