The Contentment Challenge

the_contentment_challange

The Contentment Challenge is a lifestyle challenge adapted by Kat Schmoyer and originally created by Nancy Ray. If you would like to read more about the challenge, check out her post here. This challenge is meant to help you save money and focus on the things you have rather than the things you want. To me, this is a huge need in my life. With the plans we have for 2017 and the future, recognizing minimalism and budgeting is a necessity, and I hope to follow this challenge to help me realize that.

The Contentment Challenge will follow a monthly theme, and you have the opportunity to set goals within those given themes. For now I am going to highlight the first three months of prompts (which is also what Kat is doing!) The first three themes are gratitude, generosity and freedom. In January, I would like to take a step back and look at everything in life that we have. I will be working on a gratitude journal throughout the month, and will recap at the end of the 31 days, as well as outline my plans for the February theme.

Because I like to think and act like a planner, I am going to follow this challenge fairly similarly to Kat. I will have monthly goals for myself and also strive to find my own successes to follow the theme itself. The following are my guidelines for the first three months, and I will reevaluate at the end of March.

The guidelines:
1- Less spending on unnecessary travels. While this is huge because traveling is now such a large part of our lives, I want to limit what we spend on traveling alone. This can be done by using reward points, hotel nights, and being more conscious of spending on food/drinks while traveling. I would like to achieve this by setting a final price for all of our travel in 2017 and working from that budget. While I will not be sharing the total cost here, I will still be checking in on our progress.

2- NO purchasing clothes. I have an overflowing closet and clothes are something I do not need. While Target will soon be bringing out the adorable summer clothes, I must refrain and be grateful for what I already have. I hope this guideline teaches me to not only spend less on unnecessary clothing, but to also play around with my wardrobe more.

3- Only go to dinner 5 times per month. We eat out far too often, which is a big expense that is hard to realize. We need to grocery shop, meal plan and get into the habit of eating in our own house. January is a low-key month for us, so this is the perfect time to break this habit. This guideline is from any restaurant where we don’t have a gift card. Chick-fil-a, Panera, sushi, etc. Eating out is limited to 5 times between breakfast, lunch and dinner. The only exception to this is when we are traveling (see guideline #1)- we currently have only one trip planned which is in March, but may go somewhere for my birthday in February.

4- Four coffees from Starbucks or other coffee shops per month. I have thankfully had gift cards for Starbucks and when the Ravens win, Dunkin Donuts is free, but I always seem to buy something else while I am there. I need to limit myself to a total of 4 coffees from outside places. Both my home and office have a Keruig, I need to use that and only that for the most part.

5- Discuss all purchases. Dave and I trust each other, we don’t run every single purchase by each other because we both work hard to earn for our family, but discussing all purchases may help us see more of what we actually need rather than what we want. Even something as small as a new light bulb, we are going to talk about it. We will also keep track of our purchases in order to visualize where our money is going.

6- Spend time intentionally. When I am stressed I normally shut down. I waste my time by watching TV, scrolling social media, or just sitting around because I can’t take anymore. I want to remove that waste from my life and think more about what I am spending my time on. Time is a gift.

The Goals:
1-Read 5 books that align with my beliefs and goals. Starting with finishing The Best Yes. These books must be books I own, books that are gifted, or books that are borrowed.

2- Start a Prayer journal. To go along with the gratitude journal I will be starting in January, I want to keep track of prayers in that same book. I have learned that it is important to pray specific prayers and to be able to look back on what God has done in your life.

3- Find a volunteer program to join. I have looked several times before but I think I am being too specific on how I want to volunteer and have not taken the time to pray about where I am needed. I would love to find a program with babies suffering from their mothers addiction, but I will be happy whenever I am led.

4- Make a budget plan and stick with it. Once we are able to sit down and take a look at our finances, I want to make a comprehensive budget to see where our money goes each month, we should be able to reevaluate what a worth the money and where we can save instead.

5- Intentional lunches. I want to start spending my lunch break doing something productive to benefit 1 of three verticals- my relationship with God, my business, or myself. My original goal is to do this 3 times a week. No more working through lunch, watching tv during lunch, etc.

I will be adding guidelines and goals to this list as the months go on, so check back!

If you decide to participate in The Contentment Challenge, let me know! I think it will be a great way to hold each other accountable and achieve our goals.

  • http://ohhey-ilikethat.com Lauren

    What a great challenge! And I love the idea of a gratitude journal–I may have to start one, too!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Thank you!! I decided to actually ‘start’ everything next week because the last 2 weeks have been crazy with being away and then heading to NC. Let me know if you start a gratitude journal! We can encourage each other :)

  • http://www.christineeveryday.com Christine Everyday

    I love these ideas! I will have to use some of them myself. I hope 2017 is great to you!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Thank you!! Happy New Year :) So excited to see your face around here again!

  • Kat

    I am so exited you’re joining this challenge!!!! And I want to read The Best Yes, too!!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Thank YOU, Kat! This is the best challenge and I am so thankful to be joining you. The Best Yes was AMAZING!

  • http://www.wanderingweekenders.com/ Ashley @ Wandering Weekenders

    This sounds like such a great challenge! Chris and I are notorious for eating out too much and spending too much on everything. We actually both decided to do a no spend January to try and purge after Christmas. So hopefully that helps us out!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I have been going nonstop since the start of the year, so all of my goals are kicking off on Monday. A no-spend January is awesome- I can’t wait to hear how you do!

  • http://mylifeasbrianne.blogspot.com/ Bri

    I really like the idea of this! I might just do it.

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Thank you!! I am loving it so far. The gal that started it also made an accountability Facebook group- let me know if you want to join!

  • http://lostrightdirection.blogspot.com/ Jenn

    I plan to do a “no spend” year as well. I’m definitely guilty of buying clothes and shoes that I don’t need. My plan is not to buy any clothes this year (minus a bridesmaids dress for a wedding).

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      It is so hard not to spend, especially because gifting is my love language. My best friend just got engaged, so my husband agreed that I will be spending a little extra here and there for that, but I still am running everything by him. I really hope we can find a balance this year.

  • http://www.thefreeandwildblog.com Annie

    Oh, girl, you know you are speaking my language right now. Like my heart is jumping up and down going “YES YES YES” I am SO incredibly intrigued by this and sounds like something that my own heart is after. We are obviously trying to some most of the same things this year. We’re limiting travel that we pay for, eating out less, saving money and being grateful. One of my personal goals is to volunteer 12 times this year. Would you want to try to volunteer together in January? We could maybe try to get something on the calendar! I love this, Macy, and I love your heart to find contentment. That’s a beautiful thing that not everyone in this world can understand or strive for.

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I LOVE that we are on the same wavelength this year, I am really excited to be on this journey with you- especially with budgeting! I would definitely love to volunteer somewhere with you! Lets chat and figure something out.

  • Lindsay

    Simplifying makes everything better. Enjoy the journey!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I agree! Thank you! I can’t believe how hard it is.

  • http://lifeweimagined.blogspot.com Laura Powell

    I love love love this idea! I’m going to have to incorporate this into our plan for 2017!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      It is such a great challenge! If you want to take part, let me know! The gal that started it also created an accountability Facebook group and it’s been really helpful already.

  • http://www.dreambigandbuytheshoes.com/ Emelia @ Dream Big & Buy the S

    This is so awesome. I thought the place that I volunteer may need too much time that I didn’t have until I actually took a tour. I know you will be led somewhere wonderful. Can’t wait to hear about your journey with everything!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      That is wonderful! I think I was being too specific with how I wanted to volunteer (I would love to work with babies) so I am going to keep looking but with wider parameters. Thank you!

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