Reduce Mindless Spending


Reduce Mindless Spending

By Erica Gellerman

Have you ever walked into a Target for two things and come out with 15? Are you always logged into your Amazon prime account so you can buy safety pins, socks and hair ties with the ease of one-click shopping? Or have you ever come home to put away your new black shirt, only to realize you already have three others just like it? If not, I am incredibly impressed. But if so, join the Be BETTER Challenge this week to reduce mindless spending.

This week the Be BETTER Challenge is to only purchase an item if you need it. Take the time to research what you already own and actually use it, wear it, eat it, drink it, etc.


reduce mindless spendingI’ve always considered myself a budget conscious, savvy consumer. I know when to buy private-label products, and I like to wait until things go on sale to get the best deal. But lately I’ve noticed that I may not be as in control of my spending as I once thought. My check card gets a heavy workout, sometimes daily. I came home the other night to realize I had mindlessly bought another tape measure, without checking, which brings my home collection to five. And I realized that my nail polish collection has grown extensively, but I have never used any bottle more than a couple of times.

To help reduce mindless spending, let’s focus on three steps:

  1. Understand why you are spending mindlessly. Is it because you don’t have a lot of time to run errands, so when you’re out you pick up all the little things you think you might need? Has it been a while since you’ve gone through your closet or junk drawer to take inventory of what you already have? Or is shopping your way to de-stress? I am guilty of all three, but you may have different reasons for mindless spending. Understanding the why will help you make a plan to stop this habit.
  2. Now that you understand why you do this, create a plan for the areas where you do the most mindless spending. I decided my two areas of opportunity were taking inventory of what I currently own and to stop stress shopping. I spent the weekend going through my closet, my “junk drawer” and my bookshelf, as those are the areas where I do the most mindless spending. I donated any duplicate items I had, and this gave me an opportunity to remind myself of what I already own. I am also going to make a conscious effort to stay away from my favorite stress shopping stores (Nordstrom Rack and Target) and go for a walk outside instead. That’s not to say I won’t ever visit those stores again; I just will make sure to visit them only when I have a list of what I need, and not because I had a bad day at work.
  3. Create a weekly or monthly spending allowance, and stick to it. Extra purchases can easily sneak into your necessary shopping trips. Make sure you take those into account, and keep track of them against your spending allowance.

Be honest with your spending allowance and your progress; that way, we can cut back on our mindless spending together!

More Links: Mindful spending means paying more attention to the money exchange. We love this blog on The Frugal Girl...her motto is Cheerfully Living on LessOne way to help with habitual mindless spending is to take a different perspective on money exchange. If we buy from more local/artisan relaters then the money we spend is going directly to the producer, thus paying the hard working people for their service and products. This also encourages us to make the mindful choice of buying quality products that last longer than disposable cheeper ones

Week 30-31 (Life) Goal: Engage in Real Conversation


ConversationReal Conversation: Don't ask "How are you?" We are conditioned to respond a certain way when asked the question, “How are you?” Without thinking, we say, “good; how are you?” Even if we are not doing well, we are programmed to respond that way. If someone changes up the question and asks, “What have you been up to?” our autorespond still replies, “good; how are you?” The depth of our conversation is limited when we ask questions that do not require truthful answers. The conversation has an excuse to be over at once because we don’t have to think or engage in listening.

So this week, we ask you to engage in true conversation with those around you. Don’t simply ask people, “How are you doing?” Ask a more specific question that requires them to engage in real conversation, with a real answer. This is going to be tricky because you will have to overcome a habit, but you will see that asking real questions allows you to connect with people in a deeper, more meaningful way.

The next question might be, what if I don’t want to connect with people or dive into deep conversation with friends, families or even strangers? If that thought crossed your mind, then that is the second part of this week’s goal. Take the time to engage in conversation with people. You will be surprised how much you can learn about someone from a two-minute conversation.

Tips on what to ask instead of “How are you?”

  • How is work going?
  • How is your daughter enjoying school?
  • Do you have anything fun planned for this weekend?
  • Have you done anything cool lately?

We are excited about this week’s “Don’t ask ‘how are you?’ ” goal. You’ll find that people are touched when someone asks a question and genuinely seems to care about the answer. Take the time this week to engage in true conversation.

Blog written by Aly Simons

Week 6 (Life): Jambo. The Random Act of a Hello


Jambo” is the word for “hello” in Swahili. When you walk the street in rural Kenya, even women carrying 20-gallon buckets of water on their heads will greet you with a big smile and “jambo.” The custom is contagious. You find yourself saying hello to every person who passes you on the street. By the end of the day, you will have greeted hundreds of people, most of the time with a handshake in addition to saying jambo. You feel connected to the people in the community because the hello requires eye contact, which forces you to be in the moment and connect with the person in front of you. When I come back to the United States, however, I quickly revert to my American habits and rarely extend a hello to someone as he or she walks by.  


This week our Be BETTER life goal is to greet people with HELLO when you walk by them or interact with them in passing. It is easy to be so wrapped up in our own world that we forget to make eye contact and extend a greeting, or we consider it an annoyance. We all have a lot on our mind, so much so that we live in the world within our mind more than in the world around us. If we shift that focus to the world outside our head, the power of that hello can be contagious.


When you have a couple of minutes before a meeting starts, or if you are walking through the mall, don’t become consumed by text messages or fire off a quick email. Instead, make eye contact, smile at someone and say hello. By reminding yourself to say hello, you contribute to a BETTER community and environment.