Whether you believe mindfulness is just a catchword or a bonified wellness movement that’s here to stay, its simple principles can transform many areas of life, including your finances. Mindful money management can help you feel less stressed and more peaceful and confident.
Mindfulness is a secular practice of maintaining awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and environment. The idea is that tuning into the present moment allows you to live more fully than rehashing the past or fretting about the future. It also involves paying attention to mind chatter and emotions without judging them as right or wrong, good or bad, true or false.
Popular ways to practice mindfulness include meditating, journaling, taking pauses, focused breathing, and exercising. These activities help you concentrate on one thing at a time, or nothing at all, instead of allowing your thoughts to scatter and dominate your psyche.
Consider five ways that practicing mindfulness can improve your finances.
5 Ways Mindfulness Makes You a Better Money Manager
- Quit making impulse purchases.
- Dedicate time to tend your finances.
- Don’t worry about what you can’t control.
- Make financial decisions with more clarity.
- Stay focused on your financial goals.
Here's how to use mindfulness techniques to accomplish more in your financial life.
1. Quit making impulse purchases.
If you struggle with spending too much or making impulse purchases that you end up regretting, staying present can be the key to taking control of your buying habits. Pausing before hitting the buy button online or pulling out a credit card is a powerful strategy to be more mindful and successful with your finances.
Create a rule that before buying anything over a certain amount, such as $50 or $100, you’ll give yourself time to think about it. It could range from an hour to a month, but the longer you wait to make a buying decision the better. I like to wait at least 24 hours so I can sleep on any purchase that is a want versus a need.
Another way to settle down the often emotional impulse to spend is to engage the logical part of your brain. Try doing some simple math and calculate how much time it would take you to earn what an item costs.
For example, if you earn $25 an hour after taxes, buying a $250 pair of boots costs 10 hours of work. Ask yourself if they’re really worth the equivalent of a long workday? Only you can decide. Being a more logical shopper can instantly change your mindset so you think more rationally instead of letting emotions guide you.
Putting time between an impulse and an action allows you to make better choices. Then you can reconsider with a clear mind if making a purchase is necessary and in line with your financial goals.
2. Dedicate time to tend your finances.
Just like you might devote time on a regular basis to exercise or going to the gym, try being consistent with your money management. Even dedicating 30 minutes a week can ensure that you stay in touch with the big picture of your finances.
Create non-negotiable space in your calendar for financial tasks, such as paying bills, reviewing financial transactions, and taking stock of how you’re measuring up to goals. If you have a partner or spouse who shares your financial life, set aside a regular time to discuss money as a team.
You might set a recurring money date to take a walk, go on a picnic, or have a relaxing dinner out when you can also catch up on family finances. It’s best to talk about money when you’re not feeling rushed or stressed.
Good topics to discuss are ideas to earn more, save more, and get more organized. Also, talk about your dreams for the future so you can incorporate them into your financial plans. You could also talk about money management with a trusted friend or family member, or write down your ideas and goals in a journal.
3. Don’t worry about what you can’t control.
The practice of mindfulness emphasizes noticing negative thoughts but letting them go. Thinking negatively about anything for a long period of time, especially money, can create undue stress and rob you of the joy of life.
If you discover that you’re worried about issues that are not under your control, such as getting laid off or having a large unexpected expense, turn your attention to what you can control.