my spending freeze

Why I do a spending freeze at the beginning of the year

A spending freeze?!?!  Yes, you read that right! I’m going on a clothing spending freeze for the month of January and February. Gulp! I’m actually hoping it will trickle on over into March but I’m going to have to baby step my way into a 3 month shopping fast.  Gulp! It’s going to take me the first half of January to “process” all the purchases still rolling in and get them returned anyway. Gulp! (again)

My sister Jess ( and I did this self-imposed fashion spending fast last January because we had both felt like our shopping habit was getting a bit crazy. I found it quite liberating. She’ll have to tell you what her thoughts were on it, but I imagine that it was positive because she’s doing it again this year too. Can you hear her gulping from there? Ha!

Why a spending freeze?

(Confession time!)

Save Money (Captain Obvious here)  It seems like my spending escalates throughout the year and climaxes during the Christmas shopping season. It appears I might actually buy myself at least one something for every two ‘somethings’ I buy for others, making this budget restraint needed at nearly an intervention level.

I’m Tired  Shopping has become like a job and I’m not loving it.   There are some things in life you have to do even if you don’t love it – shopping isn’t one of them! My shipping and receiving skills are at an all-time high. The amount of returns I make, both in- store and online, are exhausting and I’d love to use that time for other things. I literally sigh out loud when I open the door or mailbox to the plethora of packages that are there. Pet Peeve: If stores would package all items from one order into one box, the damage wouldn’t look nearly as bad and I could look my UPS man in the eye again!

Overwhelmed by Stuff  Giving myself a respite from the influx of ‘things’ is crucial for allowing me to assess what I DO have. I can take the time I would normally be what I call, ‘processing’ the new stuff to clean out and organize what I already own.

Spark Creativity Shopping my closet. Truthfully, I have enough clothes that I could probably recreate (at least loosely) many a Pinterest inspired outfit with pieces I already own. I could make it a game or see it as a challenge to make it easier. Check out for inspiration in doing just that.

Confession: Incoming and outgoing boxes in my house just today. And I always have a bag of returns in the back of my car.

Making it happen – The Reality

Stop Shopping This sounds like a no brainer, and it is. But just like most exercises in discipline, it’s easier said than done. Here are a few ideas that I use to help keep me honest and on track during this fashion spending freeze.

  • Throw away catalogs before they even enter the house. Blur your eyes to the cover if you must.
  • Unsubscribe from retailers you follow. They’ll be back once you’re shopping again.
  • Delete emails in groups without opening.
  • Close sidebar ads on your email accounts if possible.
  • If you must ‘fondle the merchandise’, try doing that with the clothes in your closet.  
  • Play dress up and put together new looks with what you’ve got.
  • As for the fashion bloggers we all follow; it may not be necessary to unfollow.  But if you’re too tempted, here are a few more ideas to try first:
    How to avoid shopping on a fashion spending freeze

    The more you don’t shop, the easier it gets. Promise!


That’s it! I’ll update you about how it’s going and how I’m feeling about it. If I’m having serious detox symptoms, if I’ve fallen off the wagon or if I’m jumping for joy – in all the cool outfits I’ve made without spending another dime of course. I’ll also tell you how I plan to modify the challenge as I get to the end point.

If you think your spending is out of control or your closets are bursting at the seams, I extend to you the challenge to start your own spending freeze and find out if you can do it. If a month or two sounds too long, try a week  or so at a time. You make the rules! Chances are, we could all use a little shopping detox after the holidays. You might just find out you like it and keep it going.

Your non-shopping buddy,


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  1. Linda Howell

    Love that you do this Paula and that you offer helpful hints. My holidays were usually crazy this year which forced me to do more on-line shopping than normal. I find that, more addicting than normal shopping which takes time, fuel, etc. because you can do it easily during your down time from the comforts of your chase. What I’m doing is pausing, closing my computer overnight and forcing myself to consider “need” before I push BUY IT. I am finding half the things that enticed me get deleted once the purchase is considered more.

    • Paula

      Thanks Linda. A pause is a good idea! I see it as a renewal of sorts.

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