I shared about the contentment challenge a bit on Instagram this week, and had some questions about what it is, and how it works! The Contentment Challenge is a three-month spending fast created by Nancy Ray, a photographer based in North Carolina. I've been following along with Nancy and her team for some time now, because although we work in very different industries, Nancy's tips on how to responsibly run a business and become a better leader are gold and have helped me so much!
Here's a quick rundown of the Contentment Challenge:
SAY NO TO:
- Shopping for clothes, "stuff," impulse buys, etc.
- Allowing your belongings and drive to shop to control your life
SAY YES TO:
- Accepting and giving gifts as needed. I was nervous to begin this challenge over the Christmas season, but we'll still be buying holiday gifts for people - just in a way that's mindful of our gift-giving budget!
- Reading 1-3 inspiring books during the challenge.
- Trying a new hobby.
- Filling your life with things other than spending!
You can find more details about the Challenge in Nancy's free guide, available here.
I have always been a bit of a lax spender - casually adding things to my cart that I don't need and clicking on sale emails. It's led to a lot of frivolous waste, and though I've worked throughout high school, college, and beyond - I don't have a ton to show for it. I've been thinking and praying about this challenge for months now, and it feels like the perfect time to start.
I also want to work with Drew to reach our financial goals before we embark on bigger life adventures, like vacations, having babies, and owning a home. I've wanted to be a mama for as long as I can remember, and although we aren't ready for kids right now (or anytime in the next few years), I want to feel financially stable and safe before they're even around!
Last, I've been feeling myself place too high of a value on things lately. I want the latest of everything, I'll add items to my Amazon cart on a whim, and I don't appreciate what I have in the meantime. By slowing my spending, I'm hoping to open my eyes to how much I do have and how to enjoy it, as well as find hobbies that don't have anything to do with money!
PREPARING MY LIFE + HEART
To get ready for this challenge, I spent some time preparing my heart and closet for the next three months without spending. I took a look at the clothes I own and made some mindful purchases to create more of a capsule wardrobe to carry me through fall and winter (this is a decent overview of what a capsule wardrobe is). Between now and January, I really just needed to consider outfits for: a sweet friend's wedding, Christmas Eve, and Christmas - plus some fresh headshots with Amanda.
To prepare my heart, I've read all or most of Nancy's posts about the challenge to learn more about the process. I also took a look back at my spending for the last few months, which was emotional and difficult, but necessary for me to remember why it's so important to me to begin this challenge. I reflected on how frequently I purchase clothes and "stuff", plus on how much I've improved my spending habits over the last year. A year-long, unpaid internship will really help you refine your budget, let me tell ya!
I've also chosen a few Bible verses to keep on notecards near my desk, and I'm embracing some She Reads Truth devotionals I bought a while back but never fully completed. I haven't shared much about faith on the blog, but I wouldn't be doing justice to the Contentment Challenge if I didn't share how big a part of it that faith plays.
"One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor but has great wealth." -Proverbs 13:7
The root of this challenge is to bring attention to what matters most, and that includes drawing closer to God instead of material items.
I've done a few more little things to make things a little easier on myself during the next three months, including:
- Moving my credit card from my wallet to my desk drawer, meaning I'm only carrying my debit card
- Refreshing my budget spreadsheet (I keep a separate one from Drew since we take on different expenses with our paychecks)
- Unsubscribing from store emails and ads
- Sharing about my challenge with my friends for accountability
- Adding the Contentment Challenge to my November Powersheets as a daily goal
Are you interested in joining me in this challenge? Let me know in the comments below, or reach out via email and let's chat about it!