At the beginning of January, I started my third year doing the Contentment Challenge. This challenge is to spend 3 months not buying things like household decor, clothing, and other items that may fall into similar categories. Each year I do it, I approach it slightly different depending on what I want to be focusing on.
Here’s how I set it up for 2023 –
- Who is doing it? In the past, I had done it on my own. This year, there are a few components that overlap with Teddy so we are pursuing contentment in those areas together.
- When am I doing it? I started January 1st and plan to go through the end of March.
- Did I buy anything to prepare? I bought a few things prior to starting this. I bought a few books from my Wishlist I wanted to read, a few bible studies for the year, my planner for the year, a pair of shoes for events I had coming up, and some things for our wedding.
- Will I eat out? This is one of the areas where Teddy and I overlap. Since we had previously been doing date nights weekly, we decided to just one for the month where we’d go out to eat. We find. thisis one of our favorite connectino points together, so didn’t want to eliminate it entirely. Outside of that, we are able to go out to eat if someone else invites us. This isn’t a challenge to say no to quality time with others, just for us to be more mindful of where ewe are spending our money and where we find our contentment.
- What about gifts for others? Giving things to others is encouraged! The contentment I’m working on is for me, and giving things to others is a great way to show gratitude for what I have but also share what I have with others.
- What about things I want? I have a list on my phone for things I “want” during the 90 days. I just keep adding to it and then after those 90 days, if I do really need to get something then I will.
- How do groceries work? I personally do not like grocery shopping in the first place, but to avoid buying things not on the list, I do my grocery orders through Shipt and have someone deliver it to us. Even with the membership fee, I save so much by not adding extra things to the cart that I would be in a store.
- What will you fill your time with instead? Any time I’m not spending shopping is often to read or spend quality time with Teddy or the dogs.
Here’s how it’s going halfway through –
- Since starting the challenge, Teddy and I found that we really treasured our monthly date we had in January but really wished we had done it more than just once to connect intentionally. We decided for February and March to adjust to 2 “day dates” during the month where we’d get out and go hiking and then get lunch or dinner together after. This is one of our favorite ways to spend time together, so we decided to make adjustments that fit what works for us and what we needed in this season.
- For my birthday which was in February, I got a few books from my wishlist on Amazon which was a pleasant surprise since I didn’t have to wait another 1.5 months to get them.
- I had been running outdoors and using the gym during the colder winter months in PA. After testing our old treadmill to see if it was a usable alternative on windy days, and recognizing it was unsafe to use, Teddy surprised me with a Peloton treadmill for my birthday. I was over the moon excited about this and have used it almost every day since.
- We purchased some wedding items that we couldn’t plan for prior to January.
- Most of what’s on my “Wants” list in my phone is books or items for our clothing/outdoor gear for our honeymoon. I also don’t have a lot on it as when I look at it days or weeks later I realize that thing I wanted in the moment is not something I still desire as strongly.
- We’ve been cooking meals pretty much every night and then having leftovers for lunch. This has required more planning on my end but is worthwhile since I get to try new recipes and foods that I may not have had I not been doing this challenge. Using Shipt to purchase the majority of groceries has also been helpful.
- I have been intentional to use what I have. Even though I may want to purchase a new book to read, I’ve been trying to use the library as well as what’s already on my shelf or what I can borrow from a friend to read. I’ve also enjoyed the creative nature of using things around the home for different purposes rather than buying new. Instead of a new bin for dog toys, I found a basket I used to keep for gardening. Instead of buying new highlighters for when I read, I scavenged the house seeing what all I could find. I like the resourcefulness that the Contentment Challenge requires of you.
- It makes decision making so much easier. So many people on Instagram are just posting things you can buy. If it’s something I may want to revisit, I add it to the list. Otherwise, I move on. It makes the ability to be decisive even quicker and clear which I’ve appreciated.
- We’ve been able to put additional finances from money we’ve saved from not spending into areas that matter for us – whether that’s saving or paying something sooner than needed.
- I had budgeted that I can get coffee somewhere once a week when I desire, but not a set amount. This has worked out really well as it’s something I look forward to and can plan for during the week.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed these last 6 or so weeks of the challenge. It’s helped me clarify my priorities, invest my time well, get more creative, and remind myself that discipline equals freedom.