Being aware of your money; where it goes, how much you have, and how much it’s growing is an important skill to know. Mindfulness extends to all areas of our lives including our financial well being. Being mindful with your money is so important to keep yourself out of debt, maintaining a financial safety net, and saving/investing for your future. It is also an important tool for getting into a better relationship with money to further increase your overall financial wellness.
Financial wellness is feeling secure with the amount you have while also being able to do more of the things you love without having to go into debt to do so. Mindful financial wellness habits are designed to help you make the most of your money without sacrificing what you truly want from life.
Make your money work for you
First and foremost, money is a tool. It’s designed to be able to exchange for goods. And like with any good tool, we should continue to optimize it until it’s super easy to utilize. Let’s say you’re building a table. And you have to screw in the legs. You could use a tiny screwdriver, it’ll work. But it’ll be super tedious and will probably take quite a bit longer and force you to expend more energy than you’d like. Or you could use a power drill which would obviously be easier and much faster. Now ask yourself, is your money working like a tiny screwdriver or like a drill?
Luckily, getting your money to work for you isn’t all that hard. All it takes is a little awareness and direction.
Start by paying yourself first.
What this means is take a portion of each paycheck as an extra bill to yourself (aka this goes to your savings). Mindfully saving for the future starts with paying your future self today. It doesn’t matter if you can only afford to put aside $20 a month, do it anyway. Start saving for a vacation, retirement, a new car, whatever; just get in the habit of saving a couple extra dollar signs each month.
Automate your bills.
This one is so easy and so great. Late fees are expensive and life happens. Sometimes we forget a bill is due with everything going on in our lives. By being aware of the fact that you’re human and could forget to pay a bill, automating them is the smart thing to do. Almost every bill can be automated nowadays anyways so really, why wouldn’t you?
Use credit cards if you can control yourself.
Yeah, yeah. Dave Ramsey fans out there are cringing – well I hate Dave Ramsey. (Don’t get me started) – anyways, credit cards aren’t always bad. Again, they are another tool. If you cannot control your own spending, then yeah credit cards aren’t going to be your friend. However! if you can use them easily without worrying about maxing them out, why wouldn’t you use them? If you have any kind of rewards card and you’re not spending above your means, not using them means that you’re losing out on free money. You could argue that the money isn’t free, but if you’re paying off your card before the end of each statement, it’s free money (or maybe free miles, gas points, or other rewards).
Invest your money
no one wants to work forever. And a lot of us have expensive dreams (traveling the world, owning a business, retiring at 30 – just me?). Letting your money sit in a savings account is great… for emergencies, not for long-term financial wellness. Mindfully investing some of your money into real estate or dividend stocks is a great way to create some passive income. Of course do your research, diversify your investment portfolio, and don’t be impulsive or reckless with your investments.
And I know that stocks and real estate can be risky. But, true financial wellness requires a little bit of risk, a lot of research, and trust in yourself and the universe. If you don’t have a lot, check out ways to start small with investments. I’ve used Stash and Acorns in the past which round up your change. It didn’t make me a ton, but it got me more comfortable with it so once my money grew a bit, I moved over to some dividend stocks.
Financial Wellness Requires Changes in Your Money Mindset
Figure out your why
Your why for wanting more money seems obvious – to have more and be more comfortable, right? But dig a little deeper. Knowing you want something because it would make life easier isn’t as motivating or powerful as knowing how it will make it easier. Maybe you want to save for a trip you’ve always dreamed of. Or that you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck. Or maybe you just want to be able to buy some a bottle of wine that’s more than $4 at the grocery store. Your why doesn’t have to be huge. But it needs to be a powerful motivator and reminder for your efforts.
Give up the impractical frugality
Cutting expenses is a great way to improve your financial wellness. I love being frugal. That’s also partially because being frugal makes you more mindful of the environment a lot of the time. However, there are some frugality things that are simply not practical for your life. If you work 40 hours a week, making literally everything from scratch for meals isn’t practical. Sure, you can make your own noodles from scratch for cheaper, but are you really going want to do that after work? You could sell your car to get rid of the car insurance cost, but if you love going hiking and camping way out in the middle of nowhere, Uber ain’t getting you there. Life is not a one size fits all. Cut your expenses but don’t expect to be able to incorporate every frugal tip you find online into your life.
Be prepared but not overly prepared
This kind of goes back to the savings and investing part. You could hoard all your money like some medieval dragon but at a certain point it gets a little excessive. When you have a good amount of savings and/or investments built up, you don’t have to keep saving. You can and you should continue to add money to both. But there is being prepared for the future and for emergencies and then there’s just being excessively cautious. No matter how much money you have, you still only get one life. Enjoy your money too. Treat yo’self once in a while. Give to causes you care about.
Yes, you should be mindful of your financial wellness, but it’s also money that you’ve worked for. You deserve to enjoy some of it. And speaking of deserving money…
You deserve money
That’s not designed to be greedy. As we discussed, money is simply a tool. You deserve to achieve your goals + dreams. You deserve to be secure and happy. And you deserve to reach your full potential. Thinking that money is evil or strictly for the greedy, isn’t going to help you in the slightest. Be mindful of how you talk about money.
I was never one to believe in the Law of Attraction until my friend convinced me to try it for a month. Changing the way I spoke about money changed everything. I stopped saying that I was “sooo broke” and kept telling myself that “I have enough” and shockingly, my financial situation improved and I was like a magnet for finding spare change on the street (not that that really helped my finances but it was super cool). If you don’t believe that you deserve to have that financial stability and success, you’re going to self-sabotage.
Know your numbers for Financial Wellness
Figure out how much money you make. Then, figure out where your money is going. Knowing how much you have and how much you owe can save you a giant headache later. You don’t want a surprise overdraft fee because you thought you had enough to go out for drinks on Friday.
And on that note, don’t live beyond your means. If you constantly find yourself digging for change in your couch cushions to make it two more days until pay day, you’re living beyond your means. Sometimes that can be a horrible realization, but there’s always a solution.
Being aware of those numbers along with your net worth, amount invested, and your amount saved helps you create long term and secure financial wellness.
Ignore the Jones’
stop keeping up with the Jones’ or the Kardashians, whichever. The Jones are broke and miserable and the Kardashian clan is crazy. Know what you like and need and forget what everyone else is doing (and buying). Live more to the wise words of Emma Watson.
Don’t feel stupid if you don’t like what everyone else pretends to loveYour Queen, Emma Watson
Wait 24 hours
If you have a big issue with impulse shopping, this mindfulness habit can help you break that habit. When you wait 24 hours before buying an impulse buy, more often than not, you’ll realize you don’t really want it. So instead of telling yourself “no you can’t have this purchase” (which honestly just makes you want it more, you’re giving yourself permission to buy in in 24 hours. I find that if you give yourself permission to buy it, it feels less rebellious and fun and then of course, you’re a bit more rational about buying something impulsively.
Make a list
Don’t go to the grocery store hungry or without a list. If you feel like you need new clothes, what do you need? If its tops, do you need t-shirts, basics, work wear, or sweaters? Knowing what you need/what you’re looking for before going to the store keeps you mindful of the things that you’re buying.
Put your expenses in hours
Ah, yes. This horrible little tip. It’s actually a great tip, I just hated using it when I was struggling with retail therapy. Basically convert the cost of something you want to buy into how many hours of work it would take to make that much and see how quickly you decide if you want it. For example if you make $10/hour is that $30 shirt worth 3 hours of work to you? Being intentional with our spending often requires us to put purchases into perspective.
Being mindful with your money is so important for long term financial health. Luckily, it really isn’t that difficult to do. With these habits you are well on your way to living a life you intentionally designed to love. You deserve all the good things and financial well being. Through mindful spending, understanding your numbers, and planning for the future you can spend a little bit more time actually living rather than working just to live. So with all that being said…
How are you going to start improving your financial wellness today?
Mindfulness can be hard to get started with. We know how beneficial it is but where do we even begin? Fear not my friends! I have created a super easy 10 minute mindfulness guide for beginners and I’m here to share it with you! Download it below!