With Michigan in the midst of one of the snowiest and coldest winters that I can recall, my husband and I have decided to enact a spending freeze. Truthfully, the two have nothing in common besides pain and heartache…lost hopes and dreams….
Okay, so I am being a bit dramatic, but who wants to “enjoy” a spending freeze? I certainly would prefer to spend money at a store and look at my receipt to enjoy how much I have saved! However, with unexpected car repairs and a small mountain (or at least several tall hills) of debt in credit cards and loans, it is looking more and more responsible to just stop spending altogether.
What does this look like?
Well for starters, we aren’t going to stop paying our bills. This is the whole purpose of the freeze: to be able to cover our bills and whittle down our debt faster than otherwise.
No longer allowed are my wandering trips to Target, with glorious hauls of clearance treasures. When shopping for limited groceries, I am no longer permitted to visit the baby section at Meijer to peruse the discounted toys and clothing. No more spontaneous trips for coffee, ice cream or Sunday lunches after church (unless paid for with giftcards from Shopkick*). The freeze also stops our “I don’t feel like eating anything in this house, so what do you want to get for dinner?” nights (These are not as common, but definitely add up faster than anything else).
It isn’t all bad, though. Not spending ANYTHING would eventually prove to be counter-productive, as my stockpile of groceries can only carry us so far. Moderate grocery spending is okay, but I have stopped to think, “Do we really need this right now?” with everything before it hits the bottom of my cart. I also signed up for an every-other week delivery from Door to Door Organics** of fresh (and sometimes local) organic produce. The grocery stores around me (Meijer and Kroger) do carry various organic produce, but the selection is random and sometimes the quality is questionable. Although Door to Door Organics isn’t cheap, I can customize my order with up to five substitutions on the weekly list. This means that I get exactly what I want, for the recipes I plan to make with the ingredients I already have at home, and I don’t have to scour the produce sections of multiple stores to come up with that much healthy food. This, as a result, presents less opportunity for me to wander the other aisles of the stores in search of clearance items that we don’t need.
Kroger has been a godsend to us over the last several months, as they regularly reduce natural and organic items in their Nature’s Market section. Sometimes these items are marked down well before their “Use By” dates and other items can be frozen until we need them. The only problem, however, is that a trip through these aisles sometimes results in more items than we can truly afford. By not visiting them as often, I am positive that we will save money and only get just what we need, when we need it.
We are blessed.
We start this spending freeze with so much more to fall back on than most. Thanks to We have a freezer full of stockpiled venison, pork, and Costco-sized bags of organic green beans and corn. We have shelves full of canned applesauce, pearsauce, pickles, jams, apple and grape juices, salsa, and cinnamon pears from last fall. We are so blessed that it seems ridiculous to think about complaining, but it sure is easy when I am used to spending the little money we have.
For the next three weeks (to start), we will squelch the urge to spend in hopes of getting a bit further ahead this year.
I wonder if anyone else is taking on a similar challenge?
New International Version (NIV)
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
I would probably add:
“a time to spend and a time to save.”
*To sign up for shopkick with my referral link, click HERE.
**I do not make any money from you signing up for Door to Door Organics, but if you would like to get a 50% discount on your first box, please send me a message.