Financial Detox: January 2016 Report

So, a month ago I  wrote about wanting to do a major financial detox and spending freeze and reduce spending in all areas thru January. Well, I tried, and I give myself a solid C+ grade. Not a fail, but certainly not an easy A.

What I said I’d do:

  • No personal spending or unnecessary, thoughtless spending
  • No book buying
  • No eating out
  • No house spending

What actually happened in each category:

Personal: B grade

I actually did quite well in this category. In the whole month of January I only bought two things for myself. One was a potted miniature rose bush that I got at the grocery store for $5.99 because it had been raining and cloudy every day for over a week and I needed something to cheer me up a bit. I also bought a new pair of jeans, cheap ones from Target. I am in the process of losing  quite a bit of weight (more on this later). My fat jeans were either worn to threads with holes in the bum and on the inner thighs, or they were so loose they really didn’t fit anymore. My one-size-above-target-size jeans are still too small, they are pinchy and I can’t sit in them. I didn’t have any in-between pants and found myself without something to wear to a few networking type events. So, I bought a pair of $24.99 jeans to bridge the gap. But! No shoes, no clearance tops, no leggings, no nail polish or manicures or fancy facial cream to try. No coloring books or art supplies or cute earrings or chunky necklaces. No glossy magazines or pretty notebooks. I did not buy all new underwear and bras, or all new gym clothes, even though most of my current things need to be replaced and/or burned in a fire. I believe this shows an incredible amount of progress on my part.

Books: A grade

I did not buy any books this month, something I haven’t done for a VERY long time! I am trying to decide how long I can go without buying a single book and still maintain my own sanity and happiness levels. (Don’t you dare Marie Kondo me on this one, she and I are not remotely on the same page when it comes to books!)

Eating Out: C grade

I was great at not eating out…for the time I was at home in Arizona. But, I totally spaced the fact that I’d be in Salt Lake for a week for work, and ate out lunch every day and two dinners while I was there. I also went to a buy-your-own-dinner networking event here in Arizona and wasn’t committed enough to a) eat before I went and/or b) bring my own dinner to a restaurant. BUT! I didn’t spend money at Starbucks on the daily drink runs with my co-workers, and I didn’t buy dessert (except that one time, okay, twice) which is “extra” of the eating out expenditures…so, not awesome, but not terrible either. And I really only sucked at this one for a week, the rest of the month I did a solid A- grade!

House Spending: F grade

You guys, we had great intentions. And I would like to point out that no additional throw pillows or duplicates of things we already have were purchased. AND I took two full car loads of things to the thrift store (lamps, pillows, blankets, clothes, books, decor items) and sold several via CraigsList.


We bought a new California King mattress for Christmas, and after it was delivered realized that we needed a new bed frame…we carefully bought the one that didn’t also require a box spring… but turns out, it totally required a box spring. And we needed sheets to fit the new (gloriously large!) mattress…and a mattress pad, and a bed skirt to hide the ugly bed frame…and it got very “if you give a mouse a cookie” when it comes to bed things. The queen-sized duvet and comforter are still making do as is, but frankly, that is more because I haven’t found a replacement I like and less to do with trying to save money.

Also, after MONTHS of searching, I finally found the rug I want for our master bathroom….and I bought it, on the spot and without even thinking about it, because there were only two of them and one had some weird staining in the corner.

I ordered a pile of custom mats for various frame-able art pieces that I wanted to get unpacked and hung. We have guests coming mid-February and I wanted to make sure all the art was hung and off the floor before then, so I took the plunge (and, can I just say, my gallery walls are looking SO SO GREAT! Decor win, financial detox fail.)  I also printed some poster-size prints of a few photos to hang, and I love seeing them framed and “important” in our home.

I did unpack all our moving boxes but one, and ended up buying some bins and storage containers to help keep the closets tidy. I could have used cardboard boxes, yes. But I wanted those spaces to be done so badly, I ended up biting the bullet and buying the bins I wanted. Seeing my own closet in a state of contained zen gives me warm fuzzies every morning, I’m not even upset about it.

We spent quite a bit at Home Depot, but ended up buying the last of the paint to finally get rid of the horrible yellow-diarrhea-brown walls in this house, and we bought most of the supplies for finishing up the garden planter  boxes in our backyard.

Things we did not buy: plants for said boxes or said yard; the rug and chairs I finally decided upon for the porch off our master bedroom; the lovely throw pillows that would be just perfect for that one spot; a rug for the dining room; extra frames for the gallery wall in my office and our bedroom; a bulldog puppy; a pony.

Ok, so lots of things for me to learn, here. I think a financial spending freeze is generally probably a bad idea within 30 days of moving into a new home. Perhaps I’ll try this again in March and see if I can improve my grade.

Have you ever done a spending freeze?  Would you ever consider it? For you, what constitutes a spending freeze? Not spending ANY dollars outside mortgage/rent/bills/gasoline? Or any unnecessary dollars? How do you calculate grocery bills into that number?

Harriet sig




19 thoughts on “Financial Detox: January 2016 Report

  1. I’m on day one of my spending freeze, and I discovered yesterday that we’re almost out of butter. Figures. The only place we can cut back on spending is in groceries and going out to eat. We could also cancel Netflix if we were going extreme, but that would be far too devastating. This month I’m trying to find little ways to cut back, like walking a little more (I might save $2 in gas across the entire month) and using what we have rather than buying more convenient items (we’ll definitely be eating some bizarre food combinations this month). I’ve been referring to it as “armpit month” because we will be eating the armpit of our pantry and food storage.


    1. The other day when I was reading about what you were planning on doing I was slack-jaw impressed. I…I don’t think I could do the kind of pre-planning for groceries and food that you have done. Granted, maybe in a few months when I have a chance to build up our pantry and freezer from Just Moved In: Freezer/Pantry Are Empty kind of situation I’d be more inclined? I’d be interested to see how this would be different for you in the summer when you have some garden produce to supplement.



  2. You’re an inspiration. I’m trying to force myself into an indefinite spending freeze (because new car!). The prospect of no new shirts makes me tremble. No new books will force me to work on my backlog. The thing that will kill me is no going out to eat, though…


      1. I think that if things get desperate, I might have to go to the library. I love libraries in theory. I hate having a time limit on what I’m reading in practice. (Also, the fact that my wife racked up a boatload of fines on my library account because it’s in my given name and no one would question her identity because of that doesn’t help matters).


        1. Silly wife! (Also, I am trying to remember your given name, and can’t for the life of me think of anything but Spin. So, there’s that.) I also like libraries in theory, but sometimes I get a little skeezed out by how many people have touched and who-knows-what-else’d the book I want. I’m okay with used books, in general, so I don’t know what my issue is. Probably something along the lines of “Used car, one owner, little old lady who drove it to church and the grocery store for 20 years, low miles, no pets/smoking/kids.” That is a car I’d happily buy. As opposed to the car that started as a rental, then was owned by a day care establishment, and then by a beligerent college student. I don’t want that car. Or to touch that (proverbial) book. Huack.



  3. Uh yeah. Trying not to spend any money when you have just moved into a new place is damn near impossible. Sounds like you bought needed things though and not just wanted things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The first time I tried it was really really eye-opening. I kind of knew what I’d be getting into on the personal spending front, but I was really surprised at how much I spent on house stuff (note: stuff, not crap, it is all being used on a daily or weekly basis for a higher functioning, more efficient home).

      Let me know if you try it!



  4. I give you an A for effort! Everything you bought was 100% necessary in some way. Tying into your recent post on your emotional struggles, it is ok to spend when you feel there is a legitimate need (even if it’s just to make you feel like your home is more “put together”). Our whole lives together (literally) have been a spending freeze in some way or another. Including right now, when neither of us has had an income for 6 months AND we moved to another country so all of our stuff is gone. So damn anyone who judges you when you buy that 22TL lipstick because damn it you need a release (projecting much?)!
    But anyway, February is short so no excuses there hahaha!


  5. We just moved into a house and OMG, so much money is going out… I can’t handle it! I have not done a spending freeze, but I am ready to try it out (just too keep me sane)…. but I don’t see that happening for another couple of months. We have too many “must haves” on our list right now (e.g. a washer and dryer, which won’t come cheap).

    Kudos for you for trying. In the grand scheme of things, you did abstain from buying certain things, so that’s good 🙂


    1. Yeeeeeah, it’s ridiculous. I really think giving myself two or three more months and then trying this again would be a good idea. Hope you’re settling in nicely! Moving can be so exciting/draining.



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