Practicing Money Mindfulness with Values-Based Spending
We all know that money doesn’t buy happiness. But what if there was a way to spend your money that aligned with your values and actually made you happier?
Let’s welcome values-based spending to the conversation.
Values-based spending is simply being mindful of how you spend your money, ensuring it aligns with your personal values.
This means taking a close look at your spending habits and being intentional about where you spend your money.
For example, if one of your top values is family, you may choose to spend money on experiences that will create lasting memories with your loved ones. If you value 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, like switching to reusable shopping bags or installing 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 more profoundly and ensure that your spending aligns with your deepest values.
Increase your values-based spending with these three questions
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 involves being thoughtful and mindful about every purchase. 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 understand your spending habits better, set a budget that aligns with your values. If you’re a foodie, you may want to maintain a large budget for eating out and buying groceries but cut back on things that provide less joy. Perhaps you restrict your clothing budget to thrifting or more environmentally outlets if you’re a fashionista who worries about fast fashion’s impact.
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 feel physically and emotionally while 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 possessions.
Values-based spending is all about aligning your spending with your 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.
Mitigating stress with values-based spending
Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for reducing financial 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 stress it causes us.
So next time you feel 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 clearly understand your values. Also, being intentional about money makes it easier to stick to a budget and avoid stress-inducing debt.
Values-based spending is key to improving your relationship with money
Values-based spending isn’t about depriving yourself or living a life of austerity. Instead, it’s about being mindful and thoughtful about your purchases and making choices that align with your values. With a bit of practice, you can easily incorporate values-based spending into your budget.