Friday, October 26, 2012

Join me for the Mindful Consumption Challenge

It's said that money won't buy happiness. Yet, the US economy is fueled by consumer spending. More pointedly by ego -- the constant need to keep up with "The Joneses." Find out if you're immune.

In November, join me as I turn the focus inward as I make a conscious decision to be happy with what I have and challenge myself to be a mindful consumer. I was inspired to take the Mindful Consumption Challenge by Katie of Modern Eve, who in turn was inspired by Joselyn of Simply Lovely. I hope you'll be likewise moved.
Why November? A month where Black Friday and Cyber Monday signal incredible shopping? Amazing deals? Unheard of "savings"?
I'm choosing November because "I need" "I want" shouldn't overshadow giving thanks.
Can you be happy with what you have?
Are you immune to ads, to blogs suggesting you need more?
Join me in being thankful for what we have today. Let's let go of expectations that maybe we can be happy if we just had [INSERT WANT HERE] tomorrow.
First, what is mindful consumption or mindful spending you might be asking. Does it mean I can never buy something again? No, you can still go shopping. However, instead of just aimlessly wandering a mall you have a mission. Katie states it simply: "Buy less. Buy only what [you] need, what [you] love and what’s in the budget." She also created a handy infographic to help you avoid wardrobe creep.

Mantra of the Mindful Consumer

  1. I will only buy things that I need.
  2. I will only buy things that I have budgeted for.
  3. For things I am considering buying or planning to buy:
    • I will only buy things that I envision having for at least five years.
    • I will only buy things that I really, truly love or that intrigue me.
  4. I will end the year with either the same amount of possessions I started the year with or with fewer possessions.
  5. I will gift or donate possessions
    • that I haven't worn or used in over a year.
    • that I need to have altered before it fits or fixed before it works.

Challenge Guidelines

Each time you're tempted to get something you don't need or that's not in the budget, remind yourself of what you have. In the month of November,
  1. Record each personal or nonessential item that you buy and its cost. Clothing, makeup, accessories, home decor, gadgets, etc. are counted. Food, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, etc. aren't counted.
  2. Keep yourself accountable. Each time you're tempted to get something you don't need:
    • Tweet what you want with what you're thankful for with the hash tag #havenotwantchallenge
    • Share a photo collage of what you want with what you're thankful for on Instagram use the hash tag #havenotwantchallenge
  3. Share your "true" savings for November. Record each item that you wanted, but didn't need and didn't purchase, write it and its cost down. Remember to include sales tax. Tally the avoided purchases to calculate how much you saved. Unlike "savings" from retail sales, this translates to an increase of actual money in your savings account.
  4. Share your purchase history for November. Katie has shared her August and September purchase histories.

Participating Bloggers

Gretchen of What Arabella Did
Vanessa of Finding that Place Called Home
Becca of The Dabblist
Wendy of Tales of Two
Tania of Maui Shop Girl
Lydia of Seeking Querencia
Jt Clough of Maui Dog Remedies
Rabbi Adar aka The Coffee Shop Rabbi
Nicola of Little Miss Tweedie Bird
Jaclyn of Little Paper Trees

Ready to join us?
Add your name to the comments below.

I'll add your blog to the list of bloggers taking the Mindful Consumption Challenge. I'll also add your Twitter handle to the Mindful Consumers Twitter list.
What have you got to lose? A little face? Think about what you'll gain. Less heated discussions about money. Less credit card debt. More well being.
Ciao Bella!
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.


  1. I'm in - I want to play! Today has been a purge day while my 3 yo daughter played at Grandma's house.

    Hopefully this will challenge our ingenuity and result in a calmer and less chaotic home environment (plus more money of course!)

    @whatarabelladid - Twitter

  2. I'm reading Simplicity Parenting at the moment and I'm at the stage of giving away most of the toys that my children just don't need. It's going to be very satisfying. It's right to live with less and to teach our children to live simply and not just consume. I love the title of your blog. Vanessa from BYW

  3. I love this, thanks so much for posting. I am with you!
    ~Becca from BYW

  4. Love this! I'm in - November is perfect for this! Thank you.
    -Wendy from BYW

  5. Eden, this is brilliant. May I repost it to my blog, with all the appropriate attributions, of course?

  6. Thank you all for joining me! I'm so excited to put the focus on what we're thankful for.

    Rabbi Adar please feel free to repost and share.

  7. I'm in! I've been working on my own "minimalist" self project and this will fit in nicely.

    Buy only what you need, what you love and be thankful for what you have is a perfect fit for the direction I've been headed in and is a bit more realistic to me than the shopping diets abound on the internet.

    Cold turkey may work for some but for me it's not learning how to live and consume in moderation. Like food dieting we need to learn how to eat properly and mindfully, not take a short term approach that is hard to sustain.

  8. Hi Eden, My name is Lydia and I blog at I read about your challenge on the BYW Facebook page. Even though I know it will be "challenging" (pun intended, it is something that I've needed to do for quite some time. No time like the present. Thanks for letting us know about the challenge. I look forward to checking out your blog. Blessings.

  9. I'm certainly in. I've just moved to Maui from the Big Island, from 2500 square feet to 350 square feet. I've been wanting to go minimalist for a long time. This is perfect. But I notice even now I buy things I don't need... even food when I already have things I can make at home!

    I'm stoked to blog about this subject too!

  10. Welcome Tania, Lydia, and Jt! Glad to have you with me on the challenge. Rabbi Adar is also in. It's exciting to have a mix of "long" time friends as well as new. I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone better.

  11. Oooooo please add me in! Money really can't buy you happiness and we really need to realise we are enough we do not need all this unnecessary 'stuff' in our lives for it to be perfect. Please count me in on this challenge, I down with appreciating everything I've got this month. Showing gratitude and looking after my belongings. x

  12. Eden, your challenge is up on my blog, - a little late, but I think there's enough of November for it to be meaningful. I lifted your terrific graphic (and gave you credit for it.)

    This is a wonderful idea - it's already made me much more aware.

  13. Welcome to the challenge Nicola!

    Rabbi Adar thank you for sharing with a wider audience. It's amazing how we don't think about what we have, we just want more.


Thank you for taking the time to join the conversation. - Eden

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