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Spending Freeze Day 1 #BlogLikeCrazy

Spending Freeze Challenge Week IV

 

Hello there and welcome to the behind the scenes view of my month long spending freeze. I am a member of the blogging community See Jane Write founded by my blogging coach Javacia Harris Bowser. In the month of November she challenges all the members to #bloglikecrazy. This is where we blog everyday for 30 days. This fell right in line with my spending freeze, so I decided I would #bloglikecrazy about it. I will give you a behind the scenes look at the things I do to keep myself occupied while unable to spend.

Many of you may know, I just moved into a new townhouse. With my busy schedule, I really haven’t had time to work on my office. I used it as a catch all room. Today I decided it was time to turn my office into a real office. I cleaned all of the excess junk out of there and started the process of organizing.

I pulled out my camera equipment and lighting kit and began the process of setting them up, so that, I can stop using the camera on my computer to make videos.

It really isn’t hard for me to freeze my spending, because I do it the first and last week of every month and at least two times a year for the entire month. Even though it isn’t hard, I still have to keep myself occupied so, I will be doing a couple of other challenges this month to keep me occupied, so that, I won’t spend. I will blog about the things I do to keep me on track.

Take a look below at the before and after pics. It’s not finished, but it looks so much better.

Day 1 went well, NO MONEY SPENT!

Your Money Make-Up Artist,

Tracie

Before
Before
Before
Before

 

 

 

 

 

After
After
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After
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Spending Freeze How and Why Part V

Spending Freeze Challenge Week IV

 

Whew, we have made it to the end of the preparation for our spending freeze. I am so excited to start my annual freeze on November 1. Are you all ready? If you need a recap, you can go to my previous four posts. Let’s get right to it, shall we!

HOW:

5. Stop spending money for two weeks. It’s that simple. By now you should be ready to freeze your spending for the next two weeks. I know this is easier said than done, but I promise, if you follow the instructions you will be amazed at how much money you can save.

WHY:

5. Focus on what is really important: Most people who participate in a spending freeze say the process opens their eyes to what’s important. When you aren’t spending money on stuff, your life gets a little more focused and you might spend more quality time with the people you love. Instead of masking boredom with an expensive dinner out, for instance, you could host a potluck with friends. Or instead of spending money on the latest mediocre Redbox release, you could get into the habit of reading good books from the library or start a tradition of family game nights.

Regardless, a spending freeze will put you in a more mindful, grateful frame of mind, which has consequences far beyond your checking account.

Since my husband and I are semi-empty nesters, we use this time to talk and set new goals and aspirations for the new year. We reflect on what went well so far this year, and what didn’t.

Okay, you know I want to hear from you! Are you ready for the next two weeks? Are you ready to stop spending and save more? Comment below and let me know.

If you haven’t joined my Facebook group, Pretty Money Crew, then you better hurry over and join. I am running a contest to see who saves the most money during this challenge. You have to be in the group to know what the prize is and to win. Happy freezing!

Your Money Make-Up Artist,

Tracie

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Spending Freeze: How and Why Part IV

Spending Freeze Challenge Week IV

 

Hello there! We are two weeks away from our spending freeze, I can’t wait to see all that you achieve during this time. If you are new to the challenge, then go back and read Spending Freeze weeks one through three. This week I show you the number four how and why you should consider a spending freeze.

As you have learned from my prior posts, my husband and I were able to see what unnecessary spending we were doing and how to stop our frivolous spending habits. We have been able to save money for a vacation and our current goal for this spending freeze is to send our grandchildren to Kentucky for a week long vacation. They will be able to attend various events, such as, a water park and they will have spending money, all from us just freezing our spending for the month of November.

Now for my readers, if this is your first time doing something like this, I asked that you do at least two weeks. I would suggest the first two weeks in November, because I know you will want to catch those Black Friday sales.

Let’s get started with this weeks preparation. We are on week four and we have one more to go before the spending freeze begins.

HOW:

4. Fill your tank up with gas (and get an extra can full if you absolutely must use more than a tank over two weeks), and pre-pay any bills that will be due.

I can stretch a tank of gas for two weeks, because I really don’t go anywhere except to work and back home. If you are active and drive a lot then you may want to set aside your gas money, before the freeze begins.

I have looked at my calendar for the month of November so I have already set aside a little extra for gas, just in case. Since I will be doing the entire month it will not be feasible for me to fill an extra can of gas.

As for your bills, in the month of November, I do understand that you have essentials like power, water and things like that, so it may be impossible to pre-pay them, but it is worth a try. What I do is just base my payment off of my October bill and that usually does the trick.

WHY:

4. Learn to shop your pantry: Many times we say there is “nothing to eat” in the house, even when your freezer and pantry are full? I am guilty of this as well. There is plenty to eat, but just nothing I want to eat at that particular time. Being forced to live on what’s available for two weeks can get you in the habit of utilizing your pantry and getting creative with ingredients you have on hand. Learning to cook with what’s around – rather than letting food go to waste or just ordering pizza – is a fabulous way to cut back on grocery spending. It also helps to streamline your grocery bill. I always make a list during this time and see what I use the most of, such as, rice, spices and condiments and that way I know what I need to keep a good stock of.

Since I am a couponer, I already have a well stocked pantry, so I can go at least two to three months without having to buy anything other than meat and fresh veggies.

Okay, for this weeks assignment, I want you all to shop your pantries and make a list of everything you need. Once you have that list, go to the grocery store and stock up!

Be sure to join my Facebook group, Pretty Money Crew, to see the special videos I have made to go along with this challenge.

Your Money Make-Up Artist,

Tracie

 

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Spending Freeze: How And Why Part III

Spending freeze challenge

 

I’m so excited, in just three short weeks, we start our two week spending freeze, (well in my case month long spending freeze). Are your goals clear for this challenge? Have you been doing your homework? Is your goal poster hanging where you can see it everyday? Have you gone through your freezer and your pantry to get those meals planned? If you have, then kudos to you.

If you are just joining us, then you can go here and view the first two posts and get caught up. On to week three.

HOW:

3. Check your inventories of other essentials – toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. – and stock up as needed.

Since I buy in bulk and with coupons, this is something I don’t have to do. I have enough toothpaste to last two years, enough soap to last a year or more, and enough toilet paper to stock a small army and other essential sundries needed for my home. Since I use a special line for make-up and hair, I usually take this time to make sure that I have more than enough to make it through the month.

WHY:

3. Build your anti-impulse purchase muscles. Willpower builds up the more you use it. Since you’ll spend two weeks building willpower, you’ll be better able to resist impulse purchases after your spending freeze. This alone can seriously clean up your spending!

I am more mindful of my spending now, even when I am not on a freeze. It just helps me not to make purchases that are not beneficial to me or my family. I now no longer eat out for lunch everyday. I don’t always say yes to my grandchildren when we are in the store and they want something. I am teaching them how to be mindful of their spending. Impulse purchases are a thing of the past for me, and trust me, I was an impulse shopper. If I wanted it, then I bought it. I had so much stuff at one time it should have been a crime.

Now I have learned how to live without that “thing” I must have. All it was going to do was sit and collect dust anyway. Doing a freeze has been the most enlightening thing for my husband and I; it has taught us so much about what is important and what’s not.

Okay, you know it’s homework time. This week, I want you to go ahead and stock up on those essentials. As always, I want to hear from you, what excites you the most about the spending freeze? Let me know in the comments below.

Your Money Make-Up Artist,

Tracie

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Spending Freeze: How and Why Part II

spending freeze challenge

 

 

Are you getting excited about the spending freeze? Have you joined my exclusive Facebook Group for this phenomenal event? If not, you can do so here. For a recap of the first reason how and why you can go here and read last weeks post. Now on to how and why part II

WHY:

2.Get your budget back on track. A spending freeze can be very revealing. It will tell you just where you’ve been overspending on nonessentials – whether it’s your daily latte, weekly meal out, or monthly shopping binge. When it comes to your budget, information is power. Understanding where you’ve been overspending – by not spending anything – is a great way to take control of your budget for the future.

When I did my very first spending freeze four years ago, I was surprised at just how much money I was spending on eating out for lunch everyday, a pack of cigarettes everyday and other miscellaneous expenses. Not to mention, how much money I was spending by taking my grandchildren in the store with me. If they wanted, candy, chips or a soda you better believe Nanny was going to get it for them.

When that month was over, my husband and I had saved over $300! We were able to use that saved money to start our vacation account. Oh the joy we felt when we picked out destination, Tybee Island, GA.

Each month after that first month, we did a two week freeze and we had over $1500 to take our vacation with. Each year our focus has been different during the freeze and this year our focus is on funding our grandchildren’s vacation to Kentucky.

HOW:

2.Look through your freezer, fridge and pantry. Plan meals for the two weeks, and stock up on what you’ll need to make them. Ideally, you won’t grocery shop at all, but you could set aside a small amount of cash to purchase fresh items, like fruits and veggies, halfway through.

By using coupons, you can save even more money and put the savings with the money you save during the freeze. I find that crockpot meals work very well for these two weeks. You can even try casseroles as well. Whatever you decide, make sure that you go to your freezer and pantry first to plan your meals. Then go and buy what you don’t have. I have found that those few pieces of uncooked chicken, or those few uncooked pork chops come in handy during my spending freeze.

Last week, I gave you homework. I asked you to get a piece of poster board and write your goal amount that you want to save and what you are saving for. This week, I want you to take that poster and hang it where you can see it everyday. I would like to hear from you, what amount have you decided to save and what are you saving it for? Comment below and let me know.

Your Money Make-Up Artist,

Tracie

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Spending Freeze: How and Why Part I

spending freeze challenge

 

October is a long month; we have five weeks to account for this month. That is why this is the perfect time to prepare for a spending freeze.
You’re probably wondering, What in the world is a spending freeze? A spending freeze is basically a period of time during which you freeze your spending. In my Facebook group, Pretty Money Crew, we are going to do a two week spending freeze during the first two weeks of November. I am going to do the spending freeze for the entire month, but for those of you who are new to this, I would suggest that you start out with a short amount of time.
Now, the majority of people obviously can’t go without spending any money for two weeks. You’ll still have to use things that will eventually cost you money such as your electricity, water and vehicle. And you’ll still have to stock up on things – like food and personal hygiene items – that obviously cost money.
But for a period of two weeks (or whatever other interval you choose), you won’t actively spend any money. Even though you’re still racking up a few bills and spending on essentials, a spending freeze can be an amazing way to re-evaluate financial priorities, appreciate what you have, and boost your savings account.
In this Glam How Financialista series, I will give you five tips (one per week), to help prepare you on how to do a spending freeze and why you would want to do one.
WHY:
  1.  Jumpstart your savings faster: Unless you have a set budget, you probably don’t know how much extra money you spend on unnecessary things each week. With a spending freeze, you get to see exactly where the holes are in your finances. This is one way to plug those holes and start saving. I have helped friends of mine save hundreds of dollars and they were able to put that money into a savings account or pay down debt.
HOW:
  1. Before we start, you will want to decide where the money you save will go. Have a purpose for it, or you will just end up blowing through that money at the end of the freeze.
For this week’s assignment, I want you to get a poster board and write your goal on it. Some things you might write are how much you want to save and what you will put that savings toward. When you get that done, set it aside and I will tell you what to do with it next. Until then have a great one!
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8 Money Saving Tips For Back To School

https://flic.kr/p/97xw2S https://flic.kr/p/97xw2S%5B/caption%5D

As summer comes to a close our precious children or grandchildren will be going back to school. Just think of all the money you will save! No more summer camp fees, no more exorbitant utility bills and no more outrageous activity expenses— this list could go on. But then you start back-to-school shopping and suddenly find yourself spending just as much money if not more!
Well today I am here to give you a few tips that came in handy for me when my babies were getting ready to start a new school year. Read on and let me know in the comments, if this was helpful to you.
Shop At Home First-Everyone is in the mindset that they have to have all new everything. NEWSFLASH, you don’t. Items such as scissors, if in good shape, can be used again. Look through your drawers at home and see what items you can reuse.
Tax Free Weekend-Some states participate in the tax free weekend and if your state is one of them you better jump on that deal!
Recycle Clothing-When you are a parent of multiples like I was, this can save tons of money. First, go through all of last year’s clothes to see what fits. If it still fits in the waist but is a little too short for the height, you can easily cut them off and make shorts for girls or boys or make capri pants for the girls. Next check the clothes for spots and fading. If they are faded buy some RIT dye and refurbish them. Last year’s sweaters can be made into sweater vests by cutting the arms off and the sleeves can be used as matching leg warmers for the girls during those cold winter months.
Think Outside The Big Box Stores– Places such as Big Lots and Dollar stores are great places to purchase less expensive school supplies.
Host A Back-To-School Swap– Round up some of your friends, neighbors or relatives with children close to the same age and gender as yours and host an annual back to school swap. Here’s a bonus: you can even trade toys and books too and you will save a bundle.
Stick To What Is Needed– After you determine what is in your current inventory, make a specific list of what is needed and stick to that list. If you don’t stick to the list you may end up purchasing items that you really don’t need.
Find Coupons– Often times we receive circulars in the mail and consider them junk. Don’t throw that circular away, it may contain back to school coupons for supplies or clothes. Also be sure to check your Sunday paper for coupons. Who knows, with coupons you may be able to get some things for free.
Don’t Stop Shopping– I know that sounds crazy but it’s not, I promise. Continue school shopping throughout the year; we often miss some great bargains throughout the year because we don’t think of school shopping. Keep an eye out for sale items and bargains in the “off season” and when you find something buy it and put it up for next year.

BONUS TIP: Get social! Follow some of your favorite stores on Facebook and Twitter and watch for deals they post. Sometimes fans are offered deals that are not published for the public. Some stores will even offer you a deal if you check in on Foursquare or Facebook while you are there.

Happy Shopping

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10 Ways to Save Money This Summer

Image by D. Sharon Pruitt of Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr/CC
Image by D. Sharon Pruitt of Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr/CC

School’s out for summer, and you know what that means: expenses seem to multiply! From higher utility costs and increased grocery bills you may find lately it seems that your budget is busted! And this doesn’t include summer camp or daycare fees for the kids. Plus, it’s difficult to save money during the summer months due to vacations. But don’t fret, I am here to help! Here are a few tips on how you and your family can have fun this summer without breaking the bank and still put money aside for savings.

  1. Plan ahead. I know it is too late for this summer, but you can get a jump on next summer by simply planning ahead. If you know that you will spend more during the summer, set aside some money each month. It is much better to do that than to rack up debt and pay for it later (with interest)
  2. Find free entertainment. Check around your city or neighboring cities for free carnivals, festivals or family- friendly musical entertainment. Invite some friends with kids to make the afternoon even more fun.
  3. Take day trips. Check out lakes or beaches within a couple of hours driving distance. Leave early and stay all day to maximize the fun without adding the hotel stay
  4. Seek out free trips. Mark your calendar for free days at the museum, nature center or the zoo to battle summer boredom
  5. Create a camp. Don’t have enough money for camp? That’s OK, create your own! Create a theme for each day. Let the older kids in the neighborhood be the counselors to the younger kids in the neighborhood.
  6. Visit your local library. Head to the library each week for a steady supply of free reading materials and educational media. Some libraries also offer family movie nights during the summer.
  7. Plan a staycation. Pick a weekend and pop some popcorn and watch movies. Here’s a bonus: while you are at the library checkout some movies. That saves on the cost of renting them.
  8. Go camping – in your backyard. Pitch a tent in the back yard, build a campfire, make smores, tell ghost stories, roast marshmallows and have fun
  9. Be smart when booking hotels. When you do want to get out of town for a few days be sure to – book a hotel with a kitchenette as eating out for every meal tends to become quite pricey. With a kitchenette, you can prepare meals in the room and save tons of money.
  10. Reserve rental cars midweek. If you need to rent a car to get away, reserve your rental for midweek pickup and you will often get a better price. Rates can spike by as much as 10% during the weekend rush. Also consider prepaying. If you pay in full when you make a booking, you can slice as much as 35% off the total cost.

Here’s a bonus for you:  Use summer downtime to teach your kids about money. Teach kids resourceful lessons about money by encouraging entrepreneurism and lemonade stands. Have them make their own piggy banks. Open up a savings account for each child. Set goals for earning and saving,- and offer fun rewards for meeting them.

HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!

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