Party Like a Minimalist

I just read an alarming statistic – Americans spent upwards of $15 billion on food, beverages, decorations, and apparel for this year’s Super Bowl, an event that lasted about 4 hours and in most people’s minds, an event that has now been forgotten (especially for Falcons fans). $15 billion comes out to roughly $135 per person – and by “per person” we’re talking about the 111 million folks who watched the game.

The outrageous spending for the Super Bowl is not a unique occurrence. Every big event (or holiday) in American culture is characterized by excessive spending. I bet if you Google “how to save money on ____” and insert any random event (birthday, Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, etc.), you’ll get 9 articles advocating some level of spending for every 1 article that talks about saving money by using what you already have at home. Why? Because we’re conditioned to equate celebrations with spending.

Nowhere was that more evident than in the grocery store on Saturday. We were amazed  – overwhelmed, really – by the huge amount of Super Bowl nosh in people’s carts – chips, dips, wings, all sorts of beverages, and party trays by the dozens. We even watched one lady blindly grab a stack of $17.98 veggie trays (not even a glance at them or the price) and pile them atop her tier of beer. So many thoughts crossed our minds – how much of this stuff will actually be eaten? How many calories are in all those processed foods? How many people will call in sick on Monday because they ate or drank too much? (The answer to that last question is about 1.5 million.)

As a minimalist, seeing such examples of extreme over-consumption makes me a little angry at the person (for not being more aware) and at our culture in general for perpetuating the lie that happiness comes from the store. At a time when 80% of Americans are in debt, we should be doing more to encourage living within one’s means. Yet, of all the articles I read today about Super Bowl spending, not a one of them spoke to the fact that the vast majority of viewers weren’t in a position to afford all the awesome new things being hawked in those $5 million dollar ads (much less the $15 billion that they had already spent in the name of watching those ads).

Our Game Day Sandwich

Now make no mistake, we love football and were just as excited as everyone else to sit down to the Big Game yesterday. Heck, we even had my mom over for dinner and served chips and salsa for an appetizer! Our entree was a play on words – we made soup for the Super Bowl, along with a really big sandwich. Our cost for items outside of our normal grocery list – just $1.49 (for a loaf of Ciabatta bread that was on the clearance table).

My point in all of this is not to convert everyone to minimalism or chastise folks who spent more than a buck and a half for their game day celebration. My point is to raise awareness. As a society, we need to stop falling prey to the idea that big events require big dollars and realize that simplicity doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We can apply a “less is more” mentality to every aspect of our lives – including times of celebration. Partying like a rock star for every occasion is expensive, time consuming, and mostly unfulfilling. Remove the hype and hoopla, the crazy need to outdo the Jones, and you also remove all the stress.

My advice – be a trendsetter and party like a minimalist instead. Spend time not money on putting your party together. Be creative and resourceful, using what you already have at home. Invite only the people you enjoy being around. Serve only what can reasonably be consumed in the time frame. Create an environment where it’s easy for you and your guests to avoid all excesses – overeating, overspending, and over-indulging in drink. And most of all – be the life of your party.  Be present, enjoy the moment, and those around you will do the same.

Weekly Progress to Goals Report (week ending 2/4)

    • No Spend Days = 3
      YTD = 20/200
    • Meatless Days = 3
      YTD = 16.5/144
    • Miles Walked/Hiked = 8/0
      YTD = 65.8/1,000 and 3.6/100
    • Decluttered Items = 38
      YTD = 188/2017
    • Side Hustle Income = $67.57
      YTD = $155.28/$1,825

11 thoughts on “Party Like a Minimalist

  1. I did so much better with the graNDBABIES’ bd party this year!! No decorations! No plates, cups, cutlery! Daughter made pbj, served on paper towels, and I brought the juice boxes. All the kids had a blast, it was at a huge playground, and I barely spent any money!! Win!!
    And the only present we are buying is a bike, since she outgrew hers. Which is going to little sister.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m one of the guilty party throwers. I spent $600. on my 50th bd party. My husband nearly passed out.
    Now, my daughter is encouraging me to trim down the budget to plain food only for parties. Hopefully I can make progress there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 50 years is something to celebrate. I’m not sure we would have done any better (especially considering we’re already thinking of where we might like to go to celebrate that particular milestone).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Our family is not football fans, so we don’t do anything for the game. I find out who won by checking Facebook the next morning! It’s amazing to me just how much money people spend on events. There’s so much you can do at a reasonable price! For example, for Valentines day I usually make sugar cookies with the kids (that’s coming up this weekend actually). It’s a fun activity, doesn’t cost anything beyond ingredients I already have in the house, and celebrates the holiday just as much as going out for an expensive dinner or buying overpriced flowers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true! We’re still deciding between making cookies or cupcakes with the little one this weekend. She recently learned how to turn on the oven light to look through the glass window and now she wants to make a “cookie” all the time. (Everything that goes in the oven is a cookie).

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Soup and sandwich looks like a great meal to me and no problem getting to sleep with a too-full stomach. We kept our Super Bowl party sensible and ate what we bought (as opposed to overbuying.)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Way to go on a $1.50 soup-er bowl! Events are one area where I still have this tendency to pull out all the stops- mostly because I somehow think that is what other people expect. I often just choose not to host things because it’s overwhelming. But, I think next time we have people over I will put some soup in the crock pot, make some corn bread, and call it a day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I understand all too well about expectations. My mom still thinks that we need to go all out for certain holidays and events. She’ll spend days prepping food and obsessing over minor details and is almost always disappointed at the end of the day because something didn’t go quite like she planned. We’ve been trying to flip that script since we moved back and show her that simple is better. Sometimes she’ll fuss that we didn’t do something she thought we should – like make coleslaw and baked beans for last 4th of July (LOL) – but she’s slowly coming around. After the Super Bowl she said, “I really had a good time” and I could tell by her expression that she meant it. It takes time and constant effort to change expectations.

      Liked by 2 people

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