Saturday, April 19, 2008

Is April still my no-spending month?

Other than two sweet treats indulged on the last day of the work week, yes, I have kept to my no unnecessary spending vow. I had to buy prescription cat food for one of my cats. In addition, I made my planned bike helmet purchase, funded by my extra spending money from my tax refund I received in February. The helmet fits great, looks nice and I received a discount at the bike shop because of where I worked, saving me $5.25. I did buy a used bike rack to strap on my trunk, but it fit into the same money from which the helmet came.

I am also not counting my gardening supply purchases, which come from a separate fund, not my spending plan. I also know this as saving me money in the long run. Whether it is planting a vegetable garden, adding a new raised bed for strawberries or planting new trees around the house, I know these will add value to my property, lower my food bill and save money on cooling in the summer. Plus I really like seeing things green up, produce something and I know this was done with my own labor (with some help like my dad's soil contribution).

Otherwise, I have not gone out to eat, in contrast to earlier in the month, bringing my lunch faithfully to work. Even better--it is a lunch I made, not purchased frozen and microwaved. Right now I am on a honey wheat bread, sliced turkey, cheddar cheese, low-fat mayo and spicy brown mustard sandwich kick and loving it. I have been gobbling down the bread so quickly, it barely lasts three days, which is really unusual for me. I get these cravings for a type or specific item of food and take it until I get tired of it. The sandwich seems to be the current food trend.

My bike purchase and my new helmet came together today as I decided to go just over a block away to a garage sale. Despite earlier complaints, I was able to get on and ride the bicycle with little difficulty. I had a harder time adjusting the helmet to fit me than riding the bike. Even that short ride had the cardio going (not strong, but definitely noticeable), but I am encouraged to try riding again. I think it will be a nice alternate means of transportation in town. I plan on sticking to my neighborhood as I am feeling cautious about the downtown traffic. The sale had ended by the time I got there, but there were a few items on the curb I poked into. Turns out it was a clean-out-Grandma's-house garage sale and the woman informed me that the house was clear. I would call that a success.

While I have not strayed too far from the goal of my no-frivolous spending month, I realize that I do still spend more than I need. Yes, the bike rack fit into the extra spending money fund, but I did not need a bike rack. I bought it for convenience and that I only paid $10 for it. Who is to say I would not find a similar bargain next month. While a bike helmet forwards my green living potential, a chocolate bar from a vending machine does not. I am finding it more difficult than I anticipated to cut spending. This does not bode well for trimming my budget to increase my savings rate.

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