April Challenge – Build Reserves

“Whatever financial stress you may be feeling today, know that buying less is probably the most practical solution.”  Joshua Becker  http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

Many years ago I designated two months a year as “No-Spend” months — April and October. This challenge provided me with the opportunity to review my financial status – what came in / what went out — and build a financial reserve. As the late Thomas Leonard once said,  “Reserves make everything easy.” My goal is to build a reserve of money, a reserve of space, a reserve of time…

What reserves are you seeking? Want to come along for the journey? Hop on board and see just how much of a reserve you can accumulate throughout the month of April. If you take on this challenge you might discovered that deep into the cupboards, drawers and closets you just might find exactly what you need or a substitute that fits the bill just fine.

Make this journey a bit easier by putting a reminder on the refrigerator, mirror or bulletin board to question Needs vs. Wants. It appears that ‘wants’ seem to shout out louder than necessary. Can you wrap your head around the thought of “do I really need it!” Are you collecting moments (memories) or things?

You might ask, “Why the month of April?”

Because… It is spring time, spring cleaning time to be exact. Time to purge the excess, the unloved, the unwanted. Time to refresh spaces while building reserves. Here is what I will focus on over the next 4 ‘no-spend’ weeks. Are you coming along?

1.  Clear the kitchen cupboards, storage areas, refrigerator and freezer. It is time to use up those items that have inadvertently been pushed to the back. Why should I keep buying more groceries and household supplies when there are still usable items forgotten behind closed doors. I will allow myself to purchase milk, eggs, fruits and veggies, but at the end of this month, my grocery bill will be minimal and I will reap the benefit of money in the bank. Yippee… That’s a reserve, financial freedom!

2.  As the temperature begins to inch upward, it is time to rotate out the winter clothing and restock closets and drawers with lighter-weight items that were evaluated, cleaned, repaired and stored last fall. Life in New England means we have two completely different wardrobes requiring an organized out-of-season storage solution — a reserve. Spring is the time that heavier sweaters, pants and turtle necks that get worn year after year from November to April need a place to hibernate during the warmer weather. While I am at this bi-annual task, I will seriously re-evaluate each item. Time to purge! I hate to place winter items into storage bins without the conscious thought process of do-I-really-like-it, do-I-really-wear-it, and is it still worthy to be in my life?

3.  Now on to my bigger spaces. It is time to rethink possessions — those things lurking behind closed doors and those things out in the open taking up valuable space. With the desire to have a bit more breathing room, I will begin to re-evaluate everything I own and refrain from spending money on anything new. For me,  NO household item, no matter how small and trivial, will be purchased unless there is an absolute need to replace a well-used worn-out item. No wants, just needs! Build a reserve of space.

4.  I do have one exception to the No-Buy month — relationships. This is not the time to hide away from family and friends. Spring is for caring, sharing, a time of blossoming, a time of rejuvenation. Go forth and build a reserve of love.

“The day you stop debting is the day you will begin to bring more money into your life.” 

~Jerrold Mundis, How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously

Throughout the month keep track of your finances. I challenge you to see just how much you can decreased debt and increased your reserves.

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