For the longest time, I kept seeing all these bloggers challenge themselves to save money. I’d read a stream of income report posts, how to budget, tips for saving…you see where this is going. Finally, I decided I was going to do it myself! I chose January to make amends with my bank account after some serious holiday spending. After I chose my month, I was a bit nervous because I realized it was also my birthday month, but alas — that actually worked in my favor. So, how did I do it? I’m so glad you asked!
First things first, I paid all of my January bills early, so I was able to pocket all of the money I normally spend on my student loan and annoying adult bills for the month. The total savings there was $570. 
Next, I took $150 and put it in an envelope. That was all I was allowed to spend on random coffee stops, trips to Target, drinks and dinners out. $150 for 31 days — that’s it! I write a bar column, so I decided almost immediately that I would need to save my funds for drinks out, which meant not buying stupid shit at Target or online on a whim. When my envelope money was gone, that was it! I wound up only using $100 of my $150, so I was able to pocket another $50.
I also took the money we spend per month on groceries and slashed it in half. I know…ballsy. But I really wanted to challenge myself to 1. Use more of what is already in my refrigerator by meal planning and 2. SAVE MONEY. Doing this allowed me to pocket an additional $200. Admittedly, we ate a lot of protein shakes toward the end of the month. 
In terms of making extra money, I sold some household appliances, gently used clothing and outdoor furniture. I was surprised by just how much stuff we have that never gets used. I emptied closets, drawers and our garage and sent many things on their merry way! I also picked up two freelance gigs — one writing and one editing — that I don’t normally have. These actions combined helped big time, as I was able to add $750 to my growing savings total.
During the month, I also made $50 using Swagbucks and $25 from affiliate ad networks here on my blog. 
And because it was my birthday month, I also got a little spending cash in a couple of cards! The total was $50 and I never have or carry cash, so it was definitely a real treat!
So, if you’re keeping track, that’s $1,695 sweet, sweet dollars in one single month. Honestly, I did not have high hopes for myself and by the middle of the month, I wanted to go shopping worse than ever before. But! 3 weeks in, I sort of felt like I was in a competition with myself and wanted to beat myself, even though I didn’t really have a standard set. Hell, I would have been happy saving $50 and calling it even. 
I would highly recommend this sort of challenge to anyone! Have you ever done a spending freeze?
February 8, 2016


  • Jen

    Nice job! We automatically put money into a savings account on payday so whatever is in our checking account is fair game. We also only have 1 credit card with a low limit so we can't make very many rash purchases.

  • I want to try this so bad! I'm for sure needing to save up some money. Thanks for the post!

  • That's awesome! It must have taken so much discipline to only give yourself $150 fun money for the month, but great rewards!

  • My husband and I did a month of no spending. We did the Live Well, Spend Zero challenge. I was amazed at how much we saved! It is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but also one of the most rewarding. We are doing it again in March and I am so excited to see the outcome!

  • You can use all your saved money to go on a girls' trip with me!

  • That's huge! I'm impressed!

  • Jen

    Great job!!! We have an automatic transfer that goes into savings every month and that has been huge for us.

  • We are all about the savings right now. And groceries is probably our main tackle. Which translates to me actually searching our cabinets and fridge so I don't over buy what I already have…So basically, it's all about working on my laziness…LOL

  • After we had Hadley, Jamie and I sat down and took our first SERIOUS look at where every single dime goes, and we quickly realized that we spent SO MUCH MONEY on the dumbest, most spontaneous purchases. Living off of only his Army income has required us be much more frugal, but I've LOVED the lesson and realized that the more you make, the more you spend. Love this breakdown. So much more realistic than other blogger's posts I've seen.

  • You go girl!! I have never done a spending freeze, probably couldn't do it. LOL. We do have allotments set up every month though for savings, and the kids' accounts, so I feel like that is very adult of us. haha! I should freeze my coffee buying, then I would really save!

  • I'm basically doing the same right now. I decided instead of always eating out, I would actually cook. We've easily saved around $2000. Now I am trying to work on our grocery budget to get that more under control.

  • Wow!! I seriously need to try that with the grocery thing. Maybe not in half, but something to encourage me to actually thaw and use some of the stuff in my freezer instead of just picking up more stuff every day (seriously). And I love the idea of this as a self-competition thing. Probably more healthy and productive than some of the other areas (food, exercise) that I get this way with… Thanks for sharing!

  • Go girl!!! Saving is THE BEST! It's always nice to see more money going in than there is leaving my acct. Some months during wedding planning I was able to save about $2k but it was much more challenging when Tim moved to Chicago and we ate out all the time lol