The 8 Phases of a Spending Freeze


As mentioned in a previous post, my husband and I decided that we would go on a week-long spending freeze every month this year. We go a whole week without shopping—at the store and online. We pick the week randomly, usually deciding a day or two beforehand. This helps keep us on our toes, and also helps us avoid weeks when we know we will have to spend money. ┬áNow that we’ve gotten six spending freezes under our belts, we’ve started to notice that each spending freeze goes through the following phases.

Day 1: The Confident Phase

“I’m totally nailing this spending freeze. We got everything we needed yesterday and we are set for the week! This is going to be so easy.”

Day 2: The “Oh Well” Phase

“Rats, we forgot to pick up more _____. Oh well. Good thing we’re only going on a spending freeze for a week. I’m sure we’ll get by without it.”

Day 3: The “I Just Found a Great Deal!” Phase

“Hey honey, we just got the weekly ads in the mail and look at what they have on sale! We should get _____! … Oh yeah. We’re on a spending freeze.”

Day 4: The Failed Spontaneous Phase

“Let’s be spontaneous and go to _____! … Oh wait. We’re on a spending freeze.”

Day 5: The Turning Down Friend/Salesman Phase

“Oh, I’d love to come to a lunch date with you, but we’re on a spending freeze. Care to meet up at a park?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, but we’re on a spending freeze right now. Maybe we can buy your product later.”

Day 6: The Countdown Phase

“Just two days left. Just two days left.”

Day 7: The List-Making Phase

“Okay, so what have we run out of so far? Let’s make a list so I can pick up everything tomorrow.”

Day 8: The Spending Phase

“Thank goodness it’s over! Let’s go to ALL THE STORES.”


By far the hardest part of the spending freeze is breaking our habit of going to the store for every little thing. We get so used to spending money nearly every day that it can be hard to adjust. But it’s really been worth it! It has helped us keep our spending in check and reevaluate what is really important to us.

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