Being Mindful With Your Money
Mindfulness - the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis (Merriam-Webster)
Being mindful, in general, can change your life. So it’s no surprise that practicing mindfulness with your money can have a lasting impact on your finances. When you don’t pay attention, it is difficult to pinpoint where your money is going or what your money is doing for you. Mindfulness makes you more aware of what’s coming in and what’s going out, and allows you to change your habits and lifestyle if necessary. If you want to make this change and start your money mindfulness journey, start by making a decision to be more conscious about your money and taking control of your financial decisions.
What things and/or experiences do you value?
Does your spending align with what you value?
What makes you happy?
What kind of consumer are you?
Ask yourself questions regarding what you learned about money during your childhood and how those thoughts and beliefs shaped your current money scripts. Pay attention to your answers to these questions and keep them in the back of your mind when you’re facing a financial decision. Visualize what you truly want and value as you question yourself about potential spending.
Don’t ignore your intuition when faced with a financial decision. That gut feeling is happening for a reason! Practice money mindfulness consistently and put more thought into how you’re using your money. Think about your expense spending, your saving, your investing, etc. as well as your regular everyday spending. Being aware of why you’re buying something, paying for a certain expense, or saving/investing a particular amount helps you to be more intentional and avoid making impulse decisions. Slow down. Take a second to stop and think about why you’re doing one thing over another. Also, cutting spending can only go so far but there is no limit to the amount of money that you are able to bring in.
Do you believe that you can bring in more money?
Do you believe that you are worth a higher income?
What beliefs are stopping more money from flowing into your life?
Pay attention to your thoughts about making money. Believe that you can make as much as you desire and seek out opportunities to do so.
What emotions do you associate with money?
What does enough feel like?
What does “sufficient” mean to you?
Consider how your income and the money that you spend each month affects your life. Pay attention to your current money patterns and habits and how you respond to and behave with money. Being mindful is sort of like a give and take. It may mean that you don’t spend money at all sometimes. It may mean that you spend more on higher quality items or things/experiences that genuinely make you happy. Just remember that money is a tool, not an obstacle, and you control it. You get to decide how you will use money and whether or not you will be motivated by scarcity or abundance.
Be mindful of your negative thoughts and behaviors and forgive yourself for any financial mistakes that you made in the past because of those thoughts. Pay attention to which feelings/circumstances/situations cause you to overspend and/or be impulsive. You’ll eventually start to notice your triggers, and you can work on better ways to respond. Recognize when you feel anxious about money.
Does this anxiety happen during certain times of the month or year?
Does it happen when you spend a certain amount or when your account reaches a certain balance?
What things can you take control of to prevent these anxious feelings?
Tips to practice money mindfulness:
Wait 24 hours before buying items above a certain threshold.
Be mindful and intentional about how you’re using your money. Is it contributing or taking away from a goal? How does this purchase/expense make you feel?
Ask yourself questions before making financial decisions.
Become familiar with your thoughts about money. It’s easier to restructure negative thoughts into positive thoughts when you can recognize them.
Be present. Notice how your feelings affect your choices.
Reward yourself after you’ve gotten into the habit of making better choices consistently. It doesn’t have to be a reward that requires spending money, but positive reinforcement helps the habits stick.
If you’re having trouble grasping the concept of money mindfulness, use cash. Seeing money physically leave your wallet/hands will make you more aware.
Create a routine. Set aside time to focus on your finances consistently (spending plan, checking balances, etc). Check in with your money daily.
Get clear on what you want and how you want to feel. Not just things, but experiences and quality of life as well.
If you have impulsive thoughts regarding financial decisions, take some time to think about it before making the decision.
Pay attention to your bank and credit card statements.
Talk about money with your family and friends. Not talking about it makes it seem taboo.
Pay attention to how you feel when you spend money on certain things. Be mindful of when you feel bad after spending. Be mindful of when you spend money on things that don’t make you happy. Pay attention to the purchases that you make out of habit. The things that you don’t need, or even really want for that matter. Do less of that. Be mindful of when you purchase something that brings you joy. Be mindful of spending that makes you happy and makes you feel good. Do more of that. Just be more intentional with your money.