Don’t reserve mindfulness for the emotional areas of your life. Take charge of your finances this year with our six easy ways to become more mindful of your money
Words Joy Montgomery
STOP LIVING PAYCHEQUE TO PAYCHEQUE
Living paycheque to paycheque is often tempting, especially when you’re young and surviving on a small salary. However living this way can put unnecessary stress on your life. Constantly trying to keep up with expenses and ending the month on single figures is not sustainable. Try starting small. Aim to have £10 left at the end of each week, then increase this month on month. Look for small ways to save – whether it’s foregoing that morning coffee or opting for non branded groceries.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR MONEY PATTERNS
When you’re stressed about money it’s easy to be in denial about your spending. Yet sadly ignoring the problem won’t make it go away! By tracking your day-to-day spending habits you will be able to identify unhelpful patterns. Try keeping track with a spending diary or planner for a month – there are also apps that can help with this. Whether it’s stress-spending or an unnecessary levels of anxious frugality, this process will allow you to become more self-aware and in turn create healthier habits.
PLAN YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE
Making a long-term financial plan is the best anti-dote to impulse buying. Even those on the smallest salaries should think carefully about what they’re saving for. Identify your priorities and hopes for the future and work back, creating a saving plan. This process will put your spending in context. Rather than reacting to each money decision individually you will have a palpable goal and motivation to work towards.
SET A 24-HOUR WAITING PERIOD
This may sound simple, but it’s a powerful way to become more mindful of your spending. Rather than spontaneously picking up that new jacket or piece of tech, decide to sit on the decision for 24 hours. This short period of time will allow you to be objective and in turn make a more considered choice. The mental and psychological space takes away the emotional charge we often experience when we see something we want.
TAKE STOCK OF WHAT YOU HAVE
If you find yourself regularly spending money aimlessly, try taking an inventory of your possessions. Focus in on the things you buy the most of – whether it’s clothes, books or homewear. As you go through this process feel free to bin things that you no longer use. This way you will re-discover old favourites whilst helping you to be more mindful of what you already own. This knowledge will allow you to make better and more informed decisions in the future.
This is another deceptively simple yet effective way to keep track of your finances. We all know how easy it is to mindlessly swipe a credit or debit card and ignore the bank statement at the end of the month. And contactless hasn’t made this any easier! Research shows that when we hold cash in our hands we’re less willing to part with it than using a card. Using cash is also an easy way to keep track of spending on a daily and weekly basis. Work out your weekly budget and withdraw that amount at the start of each week. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it goes!