January Spending Freeze

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Yuck… December’s money ended so ugly that I don’t even want to talk about it. (Not even because I splurged on other people. I traveled a lot and treated myself. I deserve it?) In order to recover, I’m joining this spending freeze!

I like that it’s flexible and leaves room for each participant to set their own rules. My rules:

  1. Disney Doesn’t Count. I have my Disney account fully funded (I hope! :|) and have pre-purchased a lot of things like park tickets and such. (And obviously my flight/race/hotel/rental have all been taken care of.) Anything left in the account post-Disney will stay there for my next trip.
  2. $20 MAX per week on food. I’m trying to eat through my pantry (remember last January’s pantry challenge? there are even stranger things in there this year) and this will be for both groceries and restaurants. One thing I have learned is that I really enjoy eating out, and I really enjoy my Starbucks treats, and it’s more worth it for me to cut back elsewhere than to be upset about not getting these treats. Plus, since it’s my birthday month, I should be getting lots of freebies!
  3. No. New. Workout. Clothes. (With one exception, if the lululemon Speed Tights or Pace Setter Skirt go back to markdown. I have been coveting those bad.) And really, I can survive the month without any extra clothes/entertainment spending. Hopefully Disney will sate me for the whole month!
  4. Race registrations are okay. I have two to register for this month, and they are planned expenses.
  5. Instead of impulse shopping, adopt impulse student loan payments. I am really looking forward to knocking my next smallest loan dead this year.
  6. Be smart with my gym money – some of you might know that I won a six month membership to the gym I already attend (and love sooooo much!) at my company holiday party. Originally I saw that extra $78 as workout clothes money, but I really need to direct it elsewhere.

So that’s really less of a “freeze,” I guess, but gives me some guidelines for more mindful spending. Like I said, I plan to knock out at least one of my student loans this year, and I want to get my emergency fund re-fully funded after the car and phone fiascos from last year. While I don’t have specific resolutions for the year (too much pressure,) those are definitely two goals I am committing to.

Are you embarking on any spending challenges in January or for all of 2014?