Do you ever feel like you're always chasing after money, and it's never enough?
You're not alone. Money is a source of stress for many people, and it always seems like there is just never enough. But we are here to flip the script and change that. And I am not talking about limiting budgets or complicated savings plans, but about practicing money mindfulness.
You're probably wondering what the heck is money mindfulness? I thought the same thing the first time I saw it too.
Money mindfulness can help change all that. When you approach money with mindfulness, you learn to appreciate its power while also managing it in a way that brings peace into your life. Money mindfulness can change your life. When you approach money with mindfulness, you can make wiser decisions with your finances and find more peace around cash.
What is mindful finance?
Mindful finance is all of the things money mindfulness entails. It's paying attention to everything that has money behind it. From bills to purchases, mindful finance looks at how your money choices affect your life and what you can do better next time. It's less about “keeping track” of what is going in and out and more about paying attention to the how and why.
Who should practice money mindfulness?
Really, everyone. Whether you're trying to save for a house or want to be more mindful of your daily decision-making process, money mindfulness can help you get there. If you find yourself always stressing about money, money mindfulness can help. If you're already a financial wizard, money mindfulness is still beneficial because it allows you to become even more aware of your decisions and how they affect everyone around you.
How can you be mindful of your finances?
There are three things you can do to begin practicing money mindfulness.
The first step is simple: know your numbers. You need to know how much money you bring in and spend, including expenses like rent/mortgage, car payments, childcare costs, food bills, etc. It might seem tedious at first, but having this foundation of information will help you in the long run. I created a mindful spending journal that can help you recognize what is coming in and out so you can then come up with a plan that works for you.
The second step is also simple: know your values. Ask yourself what's important to you and how spending cold, hard cash aligns with those priorities. This isn't just about money—it's about time too. Where does your time go? What things do you spend your time on? Knowing these things can help you figure out how to spend your money more wisely and prioritize the things that matter.
The third step is perhaps the most challenging: begin tracking. Tracking everything you spend for an extended period of time (a month or even a year) will give you a much more accurate picture of your financial life and allow you to see your spending patterns. It's hard to budget for things if you don't know where the money is going. This will also help you become more conscious of what you buy and why, which will ultimately help you curb impulsive spending habits.
You can track your spending on paper or with an app like Mint, which takes away all the thinking and tracks your spending for you. You can also use an envelope system to set aside specific amounts of money that cannot be touched until the end of the month. This helps curb impulse buying because it forces you to think about why you're spending money on certain things.
Doing these three simple things will help you find peace with money and realize just how powerful it can be. This isn't about getting rich or even becoming a millionaire—it's about slowing down long enough to think about your money choices and make the ones that will bring you the most happiness, freedom, and ease in your life.
Why is it important to be mindful of our finances?
Being mindful of your finances isn't just about having enough money to pay the bills and save for retirement—it's about developing a sense of peace around cash, knowing that you do not have to be controlled by it. Whether we like it, our society is primarily dictated by money. It determines what schools we go to and how long we go to school. It determines what jobs we take and how much we make. Money has an astonishing amount of control in our lives, and very little of it is good (especially if you don't know where your money is going).
The reason it's essential to be mindful about money because the more focused you are on your finances, the easier it becomes to see your blind spots. And those blind spots can be costly! That one impulse purchase that you thought would make you happy leaves you feeling envious and unsatisfied (and broke). Or the credit card bill that came in the mail because of a misunderstanding between your company and the bank wasn't noticed until it was too late. Money mindfulness allows you to be aware of where your money is going, and it's a vital first step for any financial plan or budget.
What are some excellent ways for someone on a budget to ‘practice money mindfulness'?
It can be as simple as spending five minutes a day thinking about all the transactions that have taken place throughout the day —what you purchased and why. Did your clothes or shoes cost more than they should have? What part of the store did you go to, and what brand were those clothes? This kind of thinking can help you learn about your money habits so that when there's a budget shortfall, you'll know where it came from.
How can mindfulness help you with your finances?
Mindfulness can help you to prioritize. There are so many things vying for our attention throughout the day—laptop updates, phone calls from friends, your children's needs—but there is only one of you, and it takes a lot of time and energy to do everything. So it's up to you to decide what matters most.
Instead of allowing yourself to get caught up in the busyness of the day, be mindful of what's essential. Maybe you value your education, or it's having enough time for healthy meals. Or perhaps it's spending time with people who don't know how to stop talking. Whatever it may be—you have to prioritize, and money mindfulness will help you do just that. It will help you make a better decision about spending your time and money, which will ultimately help you find more freedom in your life.
How can I be mindful of money?
You can do a few simple things that will help you better understand your money mindset and become more mindful with your money.
Explore your money mindset
Start by writing down all the people in your life and how they affect your relationship with money. Maybe it's a parent who taught you to follow the rules, even if they're unfair. Or perhaps some friends encouraged you to spend more than you should have.
Write down your feelings about money and how it makes you feel. Some people say that mindfulness is all about the present moment, but mindfulness isn't just about stopping to smell the roses. It can also be a tool for digging deep into your past experiences to clear out those childhood wounds that influence us today.
Awareness of Earnings
Try to keep track of your earnings for a few days (or even weeks) to see where your money's coming from. Not only will this help find opportunities for increasing income, but it will also help you become more aware of the types of situations that make you feel good about yourself and which ones leave you feeling anxious or ashamed. This is especially good to do when you feel like you aren't making enough (or any) money.
Learn about your money habits
Once you've explored your mindset and earnings, the next step is to learn about your habits with spending and saving. One great way of doing this is by keeping a journal with every expenditure for a few days (or even weeks). This is more than just writing down what you bought and how it made you feel. This is about exploring the reasons behind your purchasing. Did you spend money on a new pair of designer shoes because they were on sale, or was it because they went perfectly with your outfit? Why did you buy that shirt when a similar one was less expensive?
At the end of this exercise, you'll know how much money you spend on what and why. It will also help you better understand your buying habits when it comes time to save or make more money.
Doing something about it.
Once you've explored your mindset, earnings, and spending habits—it's time to do something about it. Just knowing isn't enough because there's no real change without doing.
The great thing about mindfulness is that the next step is never far away. You can choose to take small steps towards bettering your financial situation, or you can make a larger goal and work backward from there. Whatever that is, take the first step. Maybe it's tracking your spending. Perhaps it is creating a spending plan. Whatever that step is, make it easy and commit to it.
When it comes to money mindfulness, you should know that one of the best things you can do for your emotional health is get rid of debt. Not only will this help with financial security, but it will also free up your brain space for other things like creating opportunities and improving relationships. This is not something that is going to happen overnight. However, sitting down and coming up with a plan to make a world of difference. Try not to be discouraged by numbers. Just remember that every dollar you put towards that debt gets you one step closer to being debt-free. So explore ways to pay off your debt and start chipping away at it.
Prioritizing what matters most
When it comes to spending and enjoying life, there can be limitations. I mean, your paycheck is only going to go so far, right. However, I always like to look at these limitations as temporary. Maybe you can't spend hundreds of dollars on a weekend getaway this month, but you can save up for it, for example.
The key is to prioritize what matters most. However, you don't have to take this too far and eliminate all spending either. The question you should ask yourself is: “Does this bring me joy?” It's not just about whether or not something makes you happy, and it's also about what will be possible if you can afford it.
Take the first step towards greater mindfulness.
Change is hard. If it weren't, then everyone would do it, right? When something comes easily to us, we sometimes struggle with change. Sometimes that change involves money. Maybe you've worked hard to get where you are financially, or perhaps money has always come easily for you, and you never even realized there was another alternative.
The great thing about money mindfulness is that all you have to do is take the first step. It doesn't matter if it's big or small. Just get an idea of where you're at and start moving forward. Sometimes this means cutting back on some expenses so you can focus on paying off debt or saving. Or maybe it means taking on another side hustle so you can put more away each month.
How can you spend your money mindfully?
One way to live a more mindful life is by looking at your finances. Be aware of the reasons why you're spending money on certain things, and don't just buy whatever catches your eye. Think about how it will impact you in the long run– not just short-term happiness or satisfaction. Another thing that people who have gotten into mindfulness do is spend their money on themselves instead of other people.
Money mindfulness isn't just about spending it, though that is a part of the equation. It's also about making more and living by your definition of success. This is why you should consider getting a side hustle. Not only can this bring in some extra cash to pay off debt or save, but it allows you to get more out of life.
Making time for gratitude
Not only will money mindfulness help you spend your money better, but it'll also make you happier as well. One great way to do this is by practicing gratitude every evening before bed. Sit down and think about the things you're thankful for– no matter how big or small they might be.
Doing this makes you see that there's more to life than just the material items, and it also focuses on the people and experiences that bring us joy instead of just stuff we can buy. I'm not saying that money doesn't have its place in your life, but I am saying that sometimes you need to take a step back and remember what the point of it all is.
Start a meditation practice.
Finally, another great thing you can do is start a meditation practice. This is one part of mindfulness that I think is under-rated. You don't have to sit for hours upon end by yourself to meditate either. Just pick a few minutes each day and take some time to breathe deeply and enjoy the calmness of life.
Practicing money mindfulness to reduce financial stress
There's no question that money can bring us stress. After all, it's the root of many problems in the modern world. I'm not here to say that mindfulness will make your financial worries disappear, but it will help you understand why you're feeling anxious about your situation.
If you find yourself stressed out because of money, look into the root cause. Maybe it's guilt, perhaps it's your upbringing, or maybe you need to take a different path in life. If you feel some shame around money, mindfulness can help with that too.
Mindfulness will not only help you better manage your current situation but also allow you to see that there are more opportunities available to you than just the ones you're currently taking. After all, the choices we think are available to us are based on our previous experiences, so broadening your horizons can help you find what you need in life.
So, next time that money stress comes up, try some mindfulness techniques and see if it doesn't change everything.
Why can being mindful about your spending help you have a more stable financial future?
If you want to reduce the financial stress that money brings and increase your ability to save, you must change how you think about money. By taking a mindful approach to spending our resources, we can regain some control over what happens in our lives and make better decisions with limited resources. One of the best ways is by setting aside time for gratitude each evening before bed– focusing on what makes us happy instead of what doesn't. Another option is starting a meditation practice either on Insight Timer or at home (just 3 minutes per day). Finally, consider creating a side hustle, ask for a raise, or start your own business to increase your income and build more self-awareness of who you are as a person. Doing this can dramatically change your personal finances, not only for the better but also for good.
So what steps will you be taking today to practice money mindfulness?