To Freeze = An act of holding or being held at a fixed level or in a fixed state.
Friends, I might have the most unpopular opinion on the internet right now - I want to NOT buy things from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Not because I don’t love Nordstrom (I do!), but because I want to see if I can simply not buy anything. The truth is, I already have everything I could possibly need, and (too) much more. My closet is packed with clothing, jewelry, shoes, and makeup. Coincidentally (not at all coincidentally-ha), clothing, jewelry, shoes, and makeup are some of my favorite things! As are books, record albums, home decor, craft supplies, cozy blankets, coffee mugs, candles, lotion, fake plants, and bath bombs. And I have plenty of them all, because they’re my favorites.
But here’s the question: When we continue to buy more of our favorite things, does it dilute our joy by making everything we own a “favorite,” thus eliminating any real FAVORITES? What happens if we stop buying new and shop our own closet? Is it actually necessary to purchase Urban Decay’s new eye palette, or can I just use the unopened Bobbi Brown palette I haven’t touched since ordering? Do I really need to go to Michaels/Hobby Lobby, or can I just do a craft project with the supplies I already have on hand? Is it okay to not have a three year stockpile of “Leaves” candles? Basically - Can I use and enjoy what I already own? In a world of Amazon Prime and Sephora Flash Shipping - Can I NOT press the “purchase now” button!?
Okay - That paragraph makes me feel a little frantic. Elevated heart rate, quick typing, and more questions than answers swirling in my mind. I am convinced that the only way to answer my questions is to do a true “spending freeze,” hereafter known as “The Freeze.” I’ve had trusted friends stop their spending with a temporary “freeze” in the past and they LOVED the clarity and de-stressing aspect of NOT acquiring things. The only advice I have been given is to be realistic.
A realistic time frame sounds like a month, to me. (We’re not getting crazy here, people!) July 14 - August 14. You can do anything for a month, right? And, let’s be honest, I know I can do this because I lived ages 19-25 in a permanent “spending freeze.” College life, just graduated college life, new career life.. Straight up #POOR. (But that’s a story for another blog! Ha.)
In the spirit of being realistic, I made a list of “exception expenses.” In other words, the things that I fully expect to continue paying for during The Freeze.
Monthly payments - Mortgage, student loan, utilities. I can’t chose to not pay these, clearly.
Hair, skin, and nail care. I work in a professional environment and having frightening hair root regrowth and/or bad nails is simply not acceptable. And.. I am obsessed with skin care and currently on a mission that I can’t abandon, trying to fade my melasma. Melsama, it should be noted, from being a tanning bed binger in my teens and 20s. (Interestingly enough, even when I was #POOR, I budgeted for a tanning membership. Insert face palm while flipping my younger self the bird for bad decisions resulting in current skin damage.)
Audible/Other books - I can’t just stop reading for a month. But I do commit to reading what I can from the library. (PSA - If you didn’t know, you can download your local library’s app, using your library card, and listen to audiobooks or check out eBooks for free!) I “read” 3-4 books a week, mostly because I can listen to Audible or my library’s app on my drive to work. Shout out to Samantha Jo for introducing me to the power of audiobooks!
Necessary gifts - I am a gift hoarder. If I see something that I think someone will like, I buy it and save it until a birthday/Christmas or just the next time I see them. It’s fun. But it’s not necessary. So, for definition of this list, I’m saying that a necessary gift is for any birthday, wedding, baby shower, or other actual event. No “just because” or Christmas-hoarded gifts during The Freeze.
The one caveat to my list of exception expenses is that I have a dollar amount budgeted. As in: Just because skin care is on my list, it does not mean I can go wild and spring for laser treatments or a new La Mer serum.
Let’s take a look at what I absolutely cannot buy this month.
Anything that I don’t absolutely NEED in the next 30 days.
Let’s recap my “why.” I really want to answer my own question: Am I diluting my own joy and gratefulness with my constant purchasing? Plus, less stress sounds great and I would love to reduce my carbon footprint and save some money along the way. These are the things I am going to need to remind myself throughout the month!
The Freeze is going to be uncomfortable for me, to say the least. My email is inundated with marketing from my favorite brands and stores daily. Social media is saturated with shopping information. Not to mention the domino effect that is the Amazon Smile experience: you think of something, look it up on Amazon Smile, and breeze through check-out at breakneck speed before you know what hit your wallet. (It’s so easy. Too easy, amiright?)
Avoidance is going to be my first line of defense - Deleting emails before reading to avoid FOMO (Ahem, Nordstrom). Not making any Target, Home Goods, or Hobby Lobby runs. And staying away from any and all online shopping. Plus, I am holding myself accountable by telling you about my goal.
So, tell me - Have you done The Freeze? Tell me your secrets, tips, and tricks! What was the most rewarding result of your “spending freeze” journey? What was the hardest thing to NOT buy? How did you avoid triggers? Or are you one of the few strong enough to enter a Target with a shopping list and exit with only that which was on said list? Give me all your wisdom.. And wish me good luck!