Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sharing a No-Spend January with our kids

Santa has been here, we have lots of new things to enjoy, and we are READY for this!

A couple of years ago, after losing my dad and going through a very difficult and emotionally draining Christmas, Jordan and I realized we were coping by backsliding in our financial habits.  We had made some understandable convenience purchases (fast food, especially) because we were stressed and busy.  I had indulged in a little "retail therapy."  Once the dust settled after Christmas, we realized our finances were headed in the wrong direction and we wanted to put on the brakes.  So, we embarked on our very first spending freeze to kick off the new year!  As I look back on January 2014, I have happy memories of getting creative together instead of going shopping, and realizing how much we loved what we already had.  I remember a sense of accomplishment replacing buyer's remorse.  The clutter left our house, the money stayed in our bank account, and it felt wonderful!

This year I knew right away that I wanted to revisit this experience.  Now that we've been through the highly motivating Living Well Spending Zero daily challenges a time or two, this time we are changing things up a bit.  Our daily challenges will be tailored to our family and focused on areas in which we need to improve.  Also, I will use this month as an opportunity to discuss personal finance and practice frugality while homeschooling my kids, and will be blogging about how that goes.

I will start posting tomorrow, and it is my goal to write every day in January!  It feels good to be back to my little blog after neglecting it for so long.  My babies are finally old enough that I might have a few minutes a day to focus on writing!

Are you starting the new year with a spending freeze?  I'd love to read about your approach too!

*I'm editing to add our personal spending freeze guidelines.  Here are the things we may spend on:

Regular bills and budget items - utilities, mortgage, internet, Netflix, etc
Essential groceries - milk, eggs, and ingredients needed to complete what we have
Coffee - which we will make at home
Dog and cat food, cat litter, other pet needs
Haircuts for me and Robert - his hair is in his eyes
Gas for the car

We will NOT be buying candy, alcohol, soft drinks, or other similar items.  Luckily we are pretty well stocked on candy from Christmas!  We will not be going out to eat all month, unless we must do so in order to not miss spending time with a group.  I may be leaving a thing or two out, but this is the general spirit of it.  Here we go!