Every so often, I get a text message from my friend Kayla. It’s usually a screenshot of an order from Amazon or a selfie in a Target mirror. We notoriously shop our feelings away. We’re not proud of it, but the last two years have been rough, so sometimes we resort to a quick dopamine session of shopping.
And while we have never looked cuter, with rising inflation and a growing existential dread, we can’t keep going on like this.
In an effort to improve how we manage money and our feelings, we looked into strategies for coping better. Here’s what we found.
Practicing mindfulness can help you save and improve your relationship with money
Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment and paying attention to what’s happening around you. When you’re mindful, you can focus on your thoughts and feelings without judging them. This practice can help you become more aware of your spending habits.
Several studies support the idea that mindfulness can help people save money. One study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people who practice mindfulness are more likely to make thoughtful decisions about money and stick to a budget.
Four ways that practicing mindfulness can help you save more and spend less
1. Mindfulness can help you be more aware of your spending.
When you’re mindful, you’re paying attention to your thoughts and feelings in the present moment. That means you’re more likely to catch yourself when you’re about to make a purchase you don’t need. Also, if you tend to overspend when emotional, mindfulness can help you deal with that. When you’re aware of your thoughts and feelings, you’re less likely to make impulse purchases you’ll regret later.
2. Mindfulness can help you change your attitude toward money.
If you’re constantly stressing about money, mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings about money, change your attitude, and find a more positive outlook.
3. Mindfulness can help you prioritize your spending.
You’re more likely to prioritize your spending on things that are important to you when you’re mindful of your spending. Because of this, you’re less likely to waste money on frivolous purchases.
4. Mindfulness can help you stay disciplined with your budget.
Mindfulness can help you stay disciplined and avoid overspending if you’re trying to stick to a budget. When you’re mindful of your spending, you’re more likely to stick to your budget. Oh, and you’ll see the results in your savings account.
Managing money takes work. Mindfulness makes the work a little easier.
9 Ways to Practice Money Mindfulness
1. Keep a spending journal.
Write down everything you spend for a week or month, and then look closely at your patterns. Not into all the extra work? Yeah, neither am I. Try downloading a money tracking app that automatically pulls your transactions through a secure connection with Plaid. Then, check out where you can cut back.
You increase your mental accounting by categorizing your spending. In other words, you’re more aware of how much you spend and what you spend it on. Hello, money mindfulness!
3. Pay attention to your feelings about money.
Are you feeling stress or anxiety about your finances? During an episode of the Nav.it money podcast, Ashley explains how her experience with really wealthy but racist people made her avoid wanting to grow wealth. Mindfulness can help you work through these emotions.
What do you hope to achieve financially in the next year? How about the next five or ten years? Keep these goals in mind when you’re making spending decisions.
5. Focus on values-based spending.
Not everyone has the same outlook on what they value. For some, it’s a fancy car or good food. For me, it’s travel. Mindfulness is all about being present and enjoying the moment. Your moments should be defined by you, just like your personal finances.
6. Use cash instead of credit cards.
When you use cash, you can see exactly how much you’re spending and are less likely to overspend.
7. Be mindful of your triggers.
Do you tend to overspend when you’re feeling stressed or down? Be aware of your triggers and practice mindfulness when they pop up.
8. Make a plan.
If you know you’re going to be tempted to overspend, come up with a plan ahead of time to guide how you’ll resist.
Practice gratitude for what you have when you’re feeling good about your finances. You’ll stay mindful of your blessings and make more mindful spending decisions.
Practicing money mindfulness pays off.
Mindfulness is a practice that can take some time to master, but it’s worth the effort. It’s also an essential tool if you’re looking to save money. You can make more thoughtful decisions about your finances by paying attention to your thoughts and emotions. Start with baby steps and practice a few of these tips each day. Over time, you’ll develop deeper money mindfulness and see the savings add up.