One of my news year’s goals was to consume less. And while I originally intended it to be a money-saving, space-saving minimalism move, it’s turned out to be much deeper and meaningful for me than just physical stuff. These simple (albeit not easy) tricks have helped me stay in a more content mental space and I hope they can do the same for you!
Stick to an allowance
Jon and I have lived in so many different financial seasons. We’ve been blessed to enjoy a new home and a handful of beautiful vacations in a year and also unable to enjoy a taco dinner out with friends because the money simply wasn’t there. One of the things I notice about the seasons when we lived with less income was that we were more intentional spenders. There wasn’t an option to be carefree – the consequence was wondering where our money went and likely overdrafting the account (which, I can attest, can make one feel 👌🏻 *this big* in the grocery line).
We’re now in a much more secure financial place but are still very intentional spenders and savers. We each have $100 per month to spend however we’d like. In the past, I’d feel guilty when new clothes (or pillows, lamps, rugs…) would show up in the mail but with this structure, there is no justifying purchases or perceived need. I can buy five Glossier lipsticks or one very cute bikini top. This helps me prioritize wants and keep emotional spending in check.
Unfollow shops on Instagram
This move has been pivotal for me. In the past, I’d stumble across a fashion blogger or online shop, love their style, and click that “follow” button. Harmless. What I didn’t realize was that I was inviting content into my brain that was creating a fake need for new stuff. I didn’t want or need a new floral dress or oxblood leather chelsea boots until I saw them online. Then, I’d either succumb to the temptation and impulse shop or obsess over it until I could justify the buy. Now, by not being exposed to a dozen #ootd posts, I am more sure of my own style, more content with what’s already in my closet and confident in what I really want to buy with my allowance each month.
Practice “one in, one out”
Like at a crowded bar. I read a life hack a few years ago about turning all your hangers backwards until you wear and wash a piece and then putting it back in the right way. After 3 months, anything still facing backwards either needs to be put away for another season, sold or donated. I created a capsule wardrobe a few years ago and though I don’t adhere strictly to the 37-piece-per-season rule, I am super intentional with what I buy. I think through a purchase for weeks, plan out how it will go with my other pieces, and weigh how versatile it is in different seasons and outfits. Once I arrived at a strong “base” wardrobe, I decided to implement a “one in, one out” rule. Every time I bring a new piece in, I either donate or sell another. This keeps my closet from overflowing and if I’m able to sell the outgoing piece on my online yard sale, I’ll add the money our date night or vacation budget.
Take Facebook off my phone
Y’all. What IS it with Facebook? If you reeeeally think about it, it’s mainly just weird. Stay with me here. We’re “friends” with over a thousand people that we wouldn’t even invite to our birthday dinner. We know where they work and what pissed them off that day and that they need to replace their master bath toilet and who knows a good plumber? We lay awake at night scrolling through their lives but wouldn’t approach them at the grocery store if our lives depended on it. (Note: I know this could also be said about Instagram but for me personally, because it’s more visual, I’m more inspired than inundated). Anyway, the moment I deleted the app from my phone was when I realized I knew the names of the children of people I hadn’t seen in over 10 years. Like knew their names. Why was that in my brain?
Yes, I’m still on Facebook. I still use it to keep up with people I do wish I could see more often and family and friends who are far from us. But, I limit my access to it because it’s just not that life-giving (or normal, but whatever). I realized that if I want to create margin in my life, my brain was a great place to start.
Balance input and output
I notice that when I’m not cautious, input (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, Magazines, etc.) can outweigh output (journaling, painting, writing, praying, talking, thinking, etc.) I gravitate towards consumption in especially stressful seasons even though I know that output generally helps combat that stress. There is certainly nothing wrong with input, especially to learn or connect or be inspired, but I think a balance of both is the key to expanding creativity and maintaining wellness.
I’d love to hear how you combat consumption. What do you struggle with and what has helped?