I have decided April 2008 will be my necessary spending only month. This will be interesting because I do like my trips for chips to the vending machine. In anticipation of this, I am buying birthday presents and birthday cards to cover the next two months, and trying to fit in the somewhat frivolous purchases before March 31. This does not include my car repair (appointment April 2), the replacement windows for my house and my spending for the lawn and garden. I may also give myself a pass for a bicycle helmet purchase since that has been planned, comes from my "spending money from my tax refund and it necessary for me to use my bicycle. My reasoning for challenging myself financally is twofold:
1. Save more more money. While being frugal and saving money is always a good thing, I have a new expense pressing on me: a looming auto purchase. I want to delay trading my car for a new one as long as possible, but I have to start pushing my savings level from an easy $50 per pay period to as much extra money I can find. Getting me closer to a nice auto savings cushion means I can own my replacement car outright instead of paying an auto loan. I have not abandoned adding to my found money account, but it will get the small amounts of money (<$10) while the car will get the larger amounts (>$10).
2. Encourage me to consider the necessity of each purchase. While I can be thoughtful and engaged when thinking about buying an item, I can also be impulsive and stupid, spending when I should not. By deciding "I am not spending for April", I commit myself to an action and make it easier for me to say "no" to a purchase. If getting the item or service is important enough to me, I will still want it in May and can purchase it then, if the spending plan allows.
Regardless of my reasons, I am human. While this challenge gives me an easy out for not spending, temptation is there and I may spend for a few incidentals. I am hard on myself so there will be lots of internal arguing, but I will also try to forgive myself for missing the challenge. This is a 30-day month and that is a long period of time to go without spending any money on fun and unnecessary stuff. Wish me luck and I will keep you apprised of my progress in April.