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Written By Colin Graves

I’m not quite sure what I’ve gotten myself into.  Earlier today I made the decision to kick off 2017 with a personal spending freeze.  In short, I’ve committed to ZERO discretionary spending for the entire month of January.  I’m referring to it as a ‘personal’ spending freeze, as I’m choosing to not try and pull my wife and kids into it, this time around.  🙂

I certainly didn’t wake up this morning with a month long spending freeze in mind, but it’s not as spontaneous as it may seem.  I have some inspiration as well as a bit of a backstory.

A few months ago, I wrote an article about the benefits of a spending freeze. In it, I detailed how I regularly implement a 5 day no-spend period to supercharge my budget.  A fellow personal finance blogger, Amanda over at CentsiblyRich, made the following comment after reading my post:

spending freeze

I remember reading Amanda’s comment and being super impressed by the thought of a MONTH long spending freeze! After all, I thought five days was pretty extreme.

I think I spent a few minutes considering how a month was even possible.

Admittedly, at the time, my reply to Amanda’s comment was probably more polite than sincere :), I kid.  That being said, I’ve been quietly looking forward to January, hoping for an epic month long no-spend announcement from Centsibly Rich!  As such, I was excited to see Amanda’s post yesterday, in advance of the her family’s upcoming January spending freeze.

It’s a great article, complete with a checklist to help anyone prepare for a month without spending.  When you’re done here, make sure you head over to her site to check it out!

What My Spending Freeze Will Look Like 

What I’m committed to, is cutting out all spending on discretionary items during the month of January.  That means, no buying coffee (a frequent occurrence) or eating out, and no spending money on entertainment, clothing, or other non-essentials.

It won’t include fixed expenses, such as mortgage, utilities, etc.   It also doesn’t include groceries or gasoline for the vehicles.  That being said, we will attempt to reduce our monthly grocery bill to $600, and eliminate all non-essential driving, to lower our monthly spend on gasoline.

Our average monthly grocery bill is approximately $800, and our fuel bill around $300, due primarily to the 35 miles I commute to and from work daily.

Why am I doing this?  

I see this as a great way to set the tone, financially speaking, for 2017.   Consider it like a budgeting boot camp of sorts.  I’m inspired by Centsibly Rich’s more extreme no-spend, to be sure, and it’s also a personal challenge, to be fully disciplined with my spending for more than a few days at a time.

Are there any exceptions?

When it comes to discretionary spending, I really want to avoid making exceptions, however there may be one.  I’m planning a trip to Phoenix in March, with my son, for major league baseball spring training. There may be some expenses that come up in January, strictly related to our trip.   Otherwise, it’s cold turkey.


If you feel inspired, I encourage you to join me!  Your spending freeze can look different, it can be more or less extreme than mine.  Either way, I’d love for you to let me know how things go by commenting below, or dropping me an email!   Again, if you’re looking for some tips on how to prepare, I encourage you to check out Amanda’s post!

As for my month long no-spend, I will post regular updates, so you can see how I do!  🙂


  1. THANK YOU so much for the shout out, MMM! 🙂 Now that you’ve stated your intentions publicly, you have to let us know how it goes (and how much you think you are saving!)!

    I admit, the thing I’m most concerned about it the food. I plan to cut back drastically on groceries (besides the essentials) and, with two teenagers in the house, I expect there will be times I’ll dream of frozen pizzas. I will, no doubt, spend more time in the kitchen! But I am soooo excited about saving the money – since I have a huge insurance bill due in January, I hope to (mostly) cover it with my savings.

    • Now that I’ve made it public, I’ve passed the point of no return haha. To summarize my anticipated savings, I’m planning to save about $300 of discretionary spending; coffee, eating out, miscellaneous items, $200 on groceries, and about $50 in gas for the vehicles, so I’ll say $550 in total. Enough to pad our
      savings to begin 2017!


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