Practicing Money Mindfulness with Values Based Spending
by Kaitlyn Ranze
We all know that money doesn’t buy happiness. But what if there was a way to spend your money in a way that was aligned with your values and actually made you happier?
Enter: values based spending.
Values based spending is simply being mindful of how you are spending your money and making sure that it aligns with your personal values.
This means taking a close look at your spending habits and being intentional about where you are spending your money.
For example, if one of your values is family, you may choose to spend money on experiences that will create lasting memories with your loved ones. Or, if your value is health, you may choose to spend money on healthy food and activities that will improve your well-being.
Sometimes values reflect something grander. For example, let’s say one of your values is environmental sustainability. You might start looking at ways to reduce your carbon footprint by making more eco-friendly choices in your spending. This could mean anything from switching to reusable shopping bags to investing in solar panels for your home.
Making values based spending choices doesn’t have to be complicated. But it can be a powerful way to connect with your money in a deeper way and ensure that your spending is aligned with your deepest held values.
3 questions to ask yourself to increase your values based spending
What is important to me?
What do I want my money to achieve?
How do my current spending habits reflect my values?
At its core, values-based spending is about being thoughtful and mindful about every purchase you make. It doesn’t have to be expensive. By being intentional with your money and spending according to your values, you can avoid the pitfalls of impulse buying and overspending.
Here are five practical ways to increase your values based spending:
1. Be mindful of your money.
The first step to values-based spending is mindfulness. You need to be aware of your money and where it’s going. Keep track of your expenses for a month and see where you can make changes. Can you cut back on your grocery bill? Are there any subscriptions you can cancel?
2. Set a budget.
Once you have a better understanding of your spending habits, set a budget that aligns with your values. If you’re a foodie, you may want to maintain a really large budget for eating out and buying groceries, but cut back on things that give you less joy. If you’re a fashionista, but worry about the impact of fast fashion, maybe you restrict your clothing budget to thrifting or more environmentally outlets.
3. Shop mindfully.
When you do shop, be mindful of your purchases. Ask yourself whether the item is something you really need. Also, are you in tune with how you’re feeling physically and emotionally while you’re shopping? Sometimes external stressors like work or even hunger can impact our spending behaviors.
4. Consider the long-term.
When making a purchase, always consider the long-term implications. Will this item last for years or will I need to replace it in a few months? Is it something I’ll use often or will it just sit in my closet gathering dust?
5. Invest in experiences.
Finally, remember that experiences are often more valuable than things. Instead of buying a new piece of clothing, for example, you could save up for a trip to Europe. After all, research has shown that experiences bring people more happiness than do possessions.
Values based spending is all about aligning your spending with your personal values. When you do this, you’re essentially making money work for you instead of the other way around. You’re telling your money where to go instead of letting it control you.
Values based spending: a way to mitigate stress
When it comes to our finances, mindfulness can be a powerful tool for reducing stress. By taking a thoughtful and values-based approach to our spending, we can create a more mindful relationship with our money – and, in turn, reduce the amount of stress that it causes us.
So next time you’re feeling stressed about money, take a step back and ask yourself, “What is important to me?” You might be surprised at how much easier it is to make spending decisions when you have a clear understanding of your values. Also, when you’re intentional about your money, it’s easier to stick to a budget and avoid stress-inducing debt.
Values based spending is a key to improving your relationship with money
Values-based spending isn’t about depriving yourself or living a life of austerity. It’s about being mindful and thoughtful about your purchases and making choices that align with your values. With a little practice, you can easily incorporate values-based spending into your budget.