I bought pretty much nothing except for living essentials from March 17-April 17, 2011. It was not too difficult to spend less, but I am not sure how helpful such exercise would be for others. Most people should know that they do not need much to survive and that the necessities of life are really nothing too much.
I did make three exceptionally symbolic (on hindsight) purchases which were non-essentials. They are: an outdoor thermometer, a lunch at a cafetaria, and cola to go with my home-made pizza. I bought the thermometer because I was near the home improvement store and one of my parents asked me to buy it for them. Second, I bough a lunch at a cafetaria because I was a meeting with a friend for lunch and it would have been socially inappropriate to bring one’s own lunch to such situations. Lastly, I bought some pop out of that sense of “little things in life that you enjoy” for imbibing something fizzy with pizzas.
I guess it bring me to conclude there are three moments in which it is appropriate to spend money on the non-essentials: 1) gifts for others, 2) social appropriateness, and 3) little moments of enjoyment in life. I cannot think of anyways to argue these, and I do not want to become an ascetic. I will enjoy my ability to consume materialistically again while keeping my sense of awareness for the essentials versus the frivolous.