Hobo month is barely a day old, and already there’s trouble. For the uninitiated, Hobo month is a brief hiatus in discretionary spending; nothing that isn’t deemed absolutely necessary can be purchased. So, hot dog buns? Yes. Creme brulee pastries? No. Shampoo? Yes. Axe hair paste, even for 11 year old boys with dedicated hair styles? Nope. Sorry.

I’ve been looking forward to this month for several reasons. We have projects and events coming up which are going to require a little more cash on hand than tends to be readily available, so socking away extra cash right now is a really, really good idea. Also, I just get so sick of all the little errands; Honey, we need napkins; Mom, I need new sneakers; Moooom, I’m supposed to bring chips to the school picnic tomorrow…Super Target really should start sending me Christmas cards for all the time we spend together. Resolving to forgo all those little wants and “gimmes” should save me time normally spent running to the store and that, in itself, is a blessing.

The biggest benefit, however, is that it resets the definition of need vs want. Which is, of course, the hardest part and the source of current contention. The day before Hobo Month started some hoodlum stole my youngest son’s bike. Remember the bike? The one thing he likes to do more than anything? The one thing that keeps him out of my hair for any length of time? It sure as heck feels like I need it, never mind him. But I just can not bend the rules on day ONE, for god’s sake. There are other bikes here after all. Yes, they are girl bikes. Yes, they have pink flowers and the word “FASHION” in pink glitter paint on the side. They also have handlebars, two wheels and a seat and are owned by girls willing to share with their little brother. So if the need is for wheels the want is for a manly bike free of feminine cooties. Hobo Month says NO to a new bike.

Which brings to mind my own questionable needs. There are things that I am convinced are necessary to my well being that, in all honesty are not. Magazines; Tonic water for gin and tonics; my daily fix of diet green tea ginger ale, the best soda on the planet (and a good source of vitamin C!); Coffee…well now, that IS firmly in the need category– people need me to not punch them in the head in the morning, so we’ll probably keep that one. (Although those little packets of instant coffee from Starbucks are a mite harder to justify) The easiest thing to do would’ve been to stock up on my little luxuries prior to the start of the month, but, dang it, I didn’t. I did place on online order for a purse organizer just under the wire, but that was a belated Mother’s Day present so it totally does not count. Don’t judge.

For their parts, the kids seem to be accepting Hobo Month without too much resistance. They figure that come July 1st we’ll just traipse on down to the store and get everything they have been denied…a notion that I’m not spending a lot of time trying to deny. I’m placing my faith firmly on their short attention spans. By July they will have moved on to an entirely different group of desires and forgotten the things that they think they need so desperately right now. I however, will be at Super Target purchasing ginger ale and magazines and perhaps, just perhaps, a proper, manly bike.

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The Rise & Fall of a Momocracy

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