The last and final step of the Forget the Joneses Project this time around is to go on a spending freeze. Don't buy ANYTHING that isn't an absolute necessity (such as paying your mortgage or filling your car with gas to get to work). Prepare meals from what you have at home already, skip eating out, and find ways to entertain yourself for free.
The amount of time you devote to the spending freeze is up to you. Personally, I'm challenging myself to a one-week freeze. The longer you can successfully stick to the spending freeze, the more debt you'll be able to eliminate. If you have debt, you may be better off challenging yourself to a one-month freeze. What have you got to lose?
- In order to ensure you succeed, plan your freeze for a period of time that doesn't compromise your success. If you try to complete a spending freeze during a vacation or when a lot of activities are planned you may be setting yourself up for failure.
- Plan your meals in advance based on what you have at home. Challenge yourself to use up whatever fresh produce may be at risk of spoiling.
- Stay out of the stores. If you MUST go to buy something necessary, stick to a list. Set the timer on your smartphone to see how quickly you can get in and out so you're not tempted to linger.
- What will your weekend entertainment be? Plan ahead so you can pick up movies from the library, invite friends over for a potluck, etc.
- Do you have a special event to celebrate? Try your hand at making homemade cards and making a homemade gift.
- Barter for goods and services.
- Kids need new clothes? Trade in old ones at Once Upon a Child and use the proceeds towards what is necessary.
If you plan on joining us, let us know here. How long do you plan to put a moratorium on spending? When will you start? Sticking to the freeze is easier with the support of others! What will your biggest challenges be? Do you have any advice, tips or stories to share with other members? What are your tips and advice in getting through the freeze successfully?