As of today, we are officially one month into our spending freeze! This month has been challenging to say the very least. But as with any challenges, we learned some valuable lessons.
The first thing that we learned is that we ate out A LOT. It took a lot of willpower for us to not order pizza, or swing by Subway for lunch. We were so used to stopping for food if we were hungry, or grabbing a snack at the gas station if we needed one.
To avoid eating out, we carefully meal prepped our meals for every single meal and snack. To fill our love for pizza, we found that we could buy a take-and-bake pizza from Aldi as long as it fit in our grocery budget. This allowed us to get our pizza fix without going over budget or breaking our spending freeze rules!
Changing our mindset to avoid going out to eat and learning to eat up what we have is NOT easy. It seems that no matter what happens, we want to treat, reward, celebrate or comfort ourselves with food. Breaking that cycle is almost impossible. But we are working on it!
The second thing that we learned is that sometimes it’s okay to break the rules. During our first month of the spending freeze, we “cheated” three times. I’ll be fully transparent- we were not perfect this first month. But in my opinion, eating out three times is not a bad way to start. We can only improve from here. In one situation, one of Branden’s friends came into town. We hadn’t seen him in over a year! We certainly were not going to make him eat our leftovers! Both of the other situations were similar. Other than that, we did not buy anything extra! No clothes, no shoes, not even any cute finds from Target.
The third thing that we learned is that this spending freeze is going to be worth it! Putting our extra money aside has already allowed Branden to pay off one of his smaller student loans and pay off HALF of his credit card debt. And we’re only one month in! We can’t wait to keep chipping away at our debt.
The fourth thing that we learned is that I truly CAN survive without coffee. This month I went to Starbucks a grand total of ONCE. And the only reason I went then was because Branden had a gift card. I’m still alive and kicking over here, even without coffee!
Want to learn more about our spending freeze and why we are doing it? Check out this post. Have you ever done a spending freeze? Or found a way to pay off your debt? We would love to hear your experiences!