Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

January spending freeze results and February’s challenge

Roughly a month ago, I shared that I was doing a spending freeze in January. The purpose was to regain mindful control of my spending. This didn’t mean I couldn’t spend money; it simply meant there had to be a reason for it and if I couldn’t give myself a good enough reason, or there was no point other my own laziness or inability to control myself, I prohibited myself from the purchase. I didn’t care about savings or anything else other than getting back into the habit of paying attention to my money. 

I gave myself 3 rules:

  1. Donโ€™t spend money on unplanned expenses
  2. Gift cards are cheating
  3. Stuff other people buy me is not (ex., husband bringing me coffee)

That’s it. That’s all I had to do. Not difficult at all, right?


So let’s talk about how I did. 

I did buy some things:

  • 1/5ish (I forgot to write down the exact date but it was early in the month): $26.99 at Ulta. This was for gigantic bottles of my shampoo and conditioner that ordinarily run around $28/bottle and were on sale plus I had $9.50 in coupons and reward points. I now do not have to buy shampoo or conditioner until maybe the summer since I had bought two bottles at the same price at the end of December. 
  • 1/9: $12 for a subscription to The New Yorker. I read a ton of articles from this magazine and I was tired of running out of my monthly free ones. So now they come to me, unlimited.
  • 1/13: $255 for tickets to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden. I know. It’s a lot for a concert. But it’s item #2 on my life to-do list to see Billy Joel at home (I’ve seen him in Philly twice) because growing up in New York, he’s basically a religion. When the tickets became available, we bought them without thinking twice. 
  • 1/14: $12 on a bow keychain for my daughter. She’s a cheerleader. We were at a competition. This happens sometimes. I think I was also still on my Billy Joel high because I ordinarily have zero problems telling her no.
  • 1/25: $2.39 for an iced coffee and $14.40 for a book (Bottomland by Michelle Hoover). The coffee because I just wanted it and the book because it’s not available at my library in any form except audiobook and I don’t do those. I also supported a local indie bookstore by doing so. 

Total without concert tickets (I’m not including them since they were planned for; I just wasn’t sure when we’d actually be able to buy them): $67.78

I’m completely pleased with how I did and since the point was to fix a bad habit, I’d say I succeeded. I don’t see myself going back to what I was doing because it didn’t leave money for the things I actually want to buy and now it’s there. 

Which is awesome. 

30 Day Challenge #2

With that out of the way, let’s talk about my February challenge. 

This month, I’m not so much aiming to fix a bad habit but more to use up what I have and get my reading pile back down to something normal (rather than the impending avalanche that lives on my nightstand). To accomplish that, I’m going on a library diet. 

It’s true. 

For the next 30 days, I am not allowed to put a book on hold (the ones that are currently there are fine), get books from NetGalley, Kindle First, friends (except one from Steph that we talked about last month), or anywhere else. I currently have 6 library books on my nightstand, 5 more on hold, 4 NetGalley books, and roughly 2394370 books I’ve bought. It’s out of hand and I need to rein it in. I have no shortage of what to read not to mention my stacks are anxiety inducing and I’m three books short of having to move my nightstand lamp to the floor to make room. 

If I’m being honest, I’m panicked as hell at the thought of not putting books on hold but it’s become a legit problem. I read fast but not that fast and book FOMO is real. I used to not care and now I care too much. I need to stop caring and read what I want, when I want. 

February’s challenge should help with that. 

That’s it. Wish me luck!

Have you ever done a library diet? How’d it go? Any helpful hints?

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  1. Linda Sheridan

    Great job on spending less. I have been tracking my spending and will continue to do so.
    Good luck on the no hold!
    Love, Steph’s Momma

  2. Heather

    I have that exact problem with library holds…it was starting to make me feel a bit anxious but then I just gave myself permission to return them unread and request again later. I still have them saved on my TBR list so I can always find them again. The temptation is real though to just keep requesting…I like your February challenge idea. ๐Ÿ™‚ So excited for you to see Billy Joel! That show will be incredible I’m sure!

  3. Rebecca Jo

    I so need to do that. My pile of books is AMAZING… & my Kindle is FULL of books I’ve yet to touch… & yet, I just bought 2 more books &2 new ebooks this week.WHYYYYYYY??????
    I need to keep a journal of the money I mindlessly spend. I’m sure I’d be shocked.

  4. Stephanie

    haha I love that you have that many books to get through, it’s pretty funny when you think about it! Good luck reading everything this month!!
    You did awesome on the financial challenge, I’m super impressed.

  5. Kimmi

    You did awesome on the no spending! That is really really good. I haven’t done our numbers yet but I think that we did pretty decent this past month as well. I know that we did not spend nearly as much going out to eat and that was a huge bonus for us.

    I couldn’t do the library challenge I’ve got like eight bucks on my nightstand for books on hold and I just bought two more the other day with the gift card that I wanted to use up. I would already be failing.

  6. Lauren

    Ha I love the library “ban.” I mean if you add the book on goodreads, at least you have a reminder of it and you can put it on your hold list later, right? Or is that cheating? I think you did really well with the spending. I tend to get mindless, too, and then wonder where my money goes. And Billy Joel is also on my list of people I would love to see. I’m scratching Coldplay and U2 off this year and I’m SUPER excited!

  7. Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders

    We did a no spend January as well and we ended up breaking it to buy tickets to the Rodeo which has some concerts that we really want to see. I say that’s a good thing to break it for so that you don’t miss out on seeing a performer that you really want to see. I love your idea of a February library ban! I need to try and do that too since I have a huge Netgalley list and a ton of books that I own that I need to read!

  8. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    Congrats on a successful spending freeze. I also love that you were smart and not ridiculous about – i.e. the Billy Joel tickets. I know they were planned for but even if they weren’t – some things you just also have grab too. Book FOMO is real. I never really had a problem before but now I have it big-time. I have 7 books on hold and put one more on hold last night. And decided to be very mature and not put a second book on hold. But then proceeded to look through what ebooks were available now from my library. ๐Ÿ˜€ I also have 3 books on Netgalley. I went off them for awhile, got bored a couple weeks ago and oops. Good luck with your library freeze – you can do it!
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…January Recap: The Reign BeginsMy Profile

  9. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    So my library diet was in January and it was successful. But like a fat kid on a REAL diet I requested six books yesterday. LOLOLOL

    I think you did great on the spending. I had some unexpected necessary expenses come up, but then I flat out bought two pair of leggings and I blame trump for them.

  10. Kristin

    The only FOMO I have is book FOMO.
    I’m not allowing myself to buy any books in February. I have like 8-10 waiting for me currently on my kindle.
    Also, I did track my spending in January (posted yesterday), so I think I’ll do that once a quarter. Like you said, it’s just about paying attention.

  11. ShootingStarsMag

    I get a lot of books for review, so I’ve been trying to not accept/request as many so I can focus more on the books that I already own. I don’t go to the library as often since I don’t work there anymore, but I can see how adding books to the hold list would be difficult to stop doing! It’s like one-clicking free books, you know?

    It looks like you did a great job with the January challenge though. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yay for supporting indie if you ARE going to buy a book, right? LOL

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Afraid to Fly by L.A. WittMy Profile

  12. femmefrugality

    Haha I’ve got four on my nightstand right now! Maybe should join you in that….
    That’s awesome on the spending freeze. Also awesome about Billy Joel. I grew up on that stuff–to the point where one of my kiddo’s favorite lullabies is in fact ‘Lullabye’.
    femmefrugality recently posted…Where to Go If You Donโ€™t Have Health InsuranceMy Profile

  13. texerinsydney

    I put myself on the same type of library diet in December (mostly due to the fact that closing the shop meant no longer using the same library.) I found that it slightly rolled over into January as well. I have got some books read from my own bookshelves, and that’s a win.
    I think spending less than $100 unexpectedly is a successful spending freeze. Well done.

  14. Christina

    Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden will be sooo awesome. What an awesome experience. I need to do a library hold freeze too!! I have at least 30 on hold and just put three more on my list. I do that every Tuesday when new releases come out and I can’t keep up!


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