by Jasmine Johnson
I grew up in a single-parent household. My mom did such a great job raising her three kids with what she had. However, I picked up practices that were not conducive to healthy money management. We lived paycheck to paycheck and relied on government assistance and payday advances.
Growing up with such financial stress encouraged me to strive for something different as an adult. With many years of trial and error, I learned a lot about finances and became debt free and financially independent.
Since then, I have dedicated my life to learning more and educating others about money as a financial coach and blogger, focusing on the mental state of women and how they can live intentionally. LiveHappiGirl’s goal is to inspire women to live for themselves and seek healing through internal happiness, not in things or people.
That’s why when I hear the words “retail therapy,” I cringe. Someone is out there spending money to fill a void that can’t be solved with the misuse of money. As a financial coach, I guide individuals and families to make healthy money moves and address the mindset needed to achieve their goals.
Being financially mindful is key to achieving financial goals.
Financial Mindfulness Defined
Financial mindfulness is being aware of your mental and physical state with money. Often, we operate with our subconscious. These behaviors are familiar and safe. Before creating a financial plan for myself, I continued to get payday advances because they were familiar. It was subconscious; I was oblivious to the harm my habits were causing. However, once I decided to change, I became conscious and mindful of my behaviors. I wrote out everything that needed to change with my finances and altered one thing at a time.
Practicing mindfulness puts you in control.
Our lives are forever changed when we become mindful of where we are and make intentional steps to put ourselves where we want to be. We must connect our mental state and financial state for progress.
5 Things that hinder financial progress:
- Spending money without a budget
Many think a budget will hinder them from having a life. It does the exact opposite; you tell your money where it will go. A budget is a plan for spending your money for a specific time frame (weekly, monthly, annually).
- Lending money without boundaries.
I struggled with this so much with family and friends; I felt an obligation to help. I’m a natural giver and want to help, but sometimes, giving so much created a financial bind for me. So, now, I have a “Giving” category in my budget for those who may need my help. Don’t tell them I said that. Because of my budget, I can also take from my “personal spending” category if my giving category is depleted. Remember, set those financial boundaries.
- Spending money subconsciously.
It’s so easy to get into the rhythm of paying bank fees, buying the latest and greatest, and auto-drafting subscriptions that we don’t stop to ask ourselves if it makes sense. Be conscious of your spending with mindfulness. By the way, don’t let banks make extra money for simply holding your money.
- Lack of financial education.
Without knowledge and understanding, it’s hard to progress. It’s okay to allow a professional to assist you on our journey, but you MUST understand what’s going on. Pursue financial education through books, financial professionals, and the internet. You can find anything you want to know on the internet; just be sure to read from a reputable source. Reputable sources like CNN, Investopedia, or NerdWallet take the time to research and produce information on solid evidence.
- Having the wrong mindset
As mentioned before, our mind controls everything we do. So, if we believe in our minds that we can’t change, then we won’t. Take a second to imagine yourself making financial changes. What would that look like?
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” -Henry Ford
Your financial mindset will carry you when you feel like giving up.
Consciously forgive yourself for past mishaps, create a new financial plan for the future, and act on it.
By acting, you can reduce one of the leading causes of stress. Financial stress and its impact shouldn’t be taken lightly. When stressed, we naturally want to get rid of that feeling. For me and many others, this resulted in “retail therapy.” However, that’s temporary and more like a numbing aid – it wears off. Use your mind to get your money right, not the other way around.
Be mindful. Meditate on the life you want, get intentional with your financial plan, and be mindful that your thoughts and words become reality.
Which mindful practices helped my personal finances?
I read books by some of the best money experts, with Robert Kiyosaki being one of my favorites. If you haven’t already, check out his book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.”
- Alone Time.
I took a lot of personal time to be present with myself and focus on the bigger picture. I learned a lot about myself and what truly matters to me in those moments.
- Reviewing Statements.
A great practice I started many years ago is going through every line item on my bank statement monthly. Although I keep a good record of my expenses, this practice helps me see where I could cut back and even allows me to catch bank errors. In the past, the bank has incorrectly charged me a fee or deposited a check with inaccurate numbers. No one is perfect; check behind the banks too! I still do all this today to stay on track and adjust if needed.
Words of advice:
Always know where you are financially and figure out where you want to go. You will never reach your financial goals if you don’t acknowledge these things.
Why is mindfulness important to me as a mother?
The day my oldest daughter said “Damnit” when her toy wouldn’t turn on, I knew changes needed to be made. I had to become more mindful of the things I said around her. And, let me say: that is super hard when there are many DAMNIT moments in my life.
I want to teach my children as many good traits as possible to be their best selves.
Being aware of my habits and adjusting when necessary displays what growth looks like to my girls. In writing down my to-do list, I have found my daughter wanting to write out what she will do the next day – even if it’s just “1. School.”
My daughter asks for maybe two things while joining me for a grocery store run. I say no and explain why we can’t have them, and we move along—sharing why is essential so she can process it for herself when I’m not around. She’s not the only one, though. When checking out, I fight the urge to grab those shiny Cookies & Crème candy bars. As I see the chocolate bar, I run this same explanation to myself—I don’t need it because it’s an impulse buy.
But, I must be conscious of what I show her through my actions. We all know that our kids pay more attention to our actions than what we say. They are learning through us.
Here are ways my family and I practice mindfulness with our finances:
- Make a budget together.
- Speak openly about finances and hold each other accountable.
- Explain to our daughters in detail why we can’t buy everything that’s pretty in the store. No impulse buying, remember!
- Set goals together and adjust them as needed.
- Discuss big purchases with one another to be sure we are not making emotional purchases.
- Remain mindful of each other’s feelings and avoid shaming when a mistake is made.
- My husband and I read books together! We will always have room for more information that ultimately helps us grow. Knowledge is power!
7 ways to be financially mindful at any stage of your financial journey:
- Create a financial plan
Identity where you are with debt, income, and expenses. Then, acknowledge where you want to be financially. We can’t get anywhere without knowing where we are and being honest with where we want to be. Honestly ask yourself, “What type of lifestyle do I want for myself and my family? Why?” Doing this will ensure you are doing it for yourself and not because that’s what society says you should do.
- Create a budget
This is a plan where you identify your income and intentionally set the amount you will spend in each category. You have free access to my budget sheet.
- Track expenses
You can do this with a pen and paper, an Excel sheet, or a budget app of your choice. You can do all this in the Nav.it app and accomplish your financial goals through automated savings.
- Be mindful of your debt and avoid accumulating more
Before I became FREE, I listed each debt item on an excel sheet and made a specific payoff date for each one. Seeing my debt go down motivated me to keep going, and I even sacrificed elsewhere to pay it off faster. YOU CAN DO IT!
- Identify wants and needs
A need is a necessity, like food or a roof over your head. A want is something desirable that you could live without, like new shoes.
- Teach your kids healthy money habits
Your babies are learning a lot. Let the lesson of money come from you, not only verbally but also with your mindful money habits.
- Get an accountability partner
It’s so important to let the people in your circle know your plans and to ask them for help. Although financial assistance would be fantastic, I’m referring to them helping you stay the course. We all need that cheerleader to cheer us on. They tell us when we’re off course and remind us why we are even doing this.
I’m a very mindful mother NOW, but it wasn’t always that way. I had to be intentional with my goal of being a better me and creating a structured life for my kids. How we view ourselves, take care of ourselves, and live our lives will roll into how we view other things, like money.
Remember that none of us are perfect. However, we must focus on our individual growth, become more mindful of our financial goals, and take proper action when we stray the course.
Our future selves will thank us later, and so will our babies! 😉
We’re changing the narrative around money but change can’t happen with a one-sided conversation. That’s why we’re excited to bring different voices and experts to share their wisdom from the Community. Send us an email and let us know what you think. And remember the Nav.it money app offers you free tools for budgeting, automating savings, and tracking your expenses.
You can download it at Google Play and the Apple Store.
Jasmine is an Accountant, Financial Coach and Blogger. Her life struggles and success with money and mindfulness led her to these platforms. She then dedicated her life to learning constantly, educating many in finances and inspiring others to live intentionally. She is married to Sidney, and the mother of Malia and Naomi Joy. She’s a firm believer in family, growth and mindful practices.
For financial coaching, head to Square 1 Accounting and head to Jasmine_theMoneyCoach to connect socially.
For more mindfulness and intentional living resources head over to her blog or her Instagram at LiveHappiGirl.