If you’re like most people you’ve probably gone for periods of time without really thinking about how you spent your money. Maybe you even avoided looking at your bank statement so you wouldn’t see how much money you spent and how little you saved.
It’s something a lot of people do, especially nowadays when we can spend our money so easily without handing over cash. If you’ve ever looked at your bank account and wondered where all your money went, or if you ever went to clean out your closet and wondered where all the clothes came from, you probably weren’t being mindful.
Money mindfulness means being intentional and present with how you spend your money. It means not mindlessly handing over your bank card without paying attention to the cost of items or shopping online with little thought to whether you can afford to do so. Mindfulness can lead to considering whether you need to spend money or if there are ways you could spend a little less.
Here are two main benefits of money mindfulness.
Money mindfulness doesn’t mean you have to change your spending habits, although that is a likely side effect. It means knowing why you’re spending and what you’re spending your money on.
Let’s say you always start your day buying a cup of coffee. Over time, the cost of that cup of coffee adds up even if it isn’t expensive. You’re used to buying that cup of coffee, so it becomes ingrained and you don’t even think about the cost.
If you’re mindful of your money, you’ll become more aware of spending that money. You’ll ask yourself if you need that cup of coffee, it if makes you happy and if it’s worth the expense. If the answers to those questions are yes, then great. If they’re no, you might want to consider purchasing a coffee maker for your home to save yourself money.
Either way, you’re not just making a purchase because you’re used to doing so, you’re making it after asking yourself if it’s something you need and that you feel good about.
When you become more mindful about your money you’ll likely save more. That’s because there will be times when you’ll ask yourself if a purchase is something you need or will bring you joy and the answer will be no. By being more mindful, you’ll start to walk away from those purchases and over time may find you have more money in your savings account.
You may also find that money mindfulness means you eat out less or create a budget for yourself. You may limit yourself to only buying groceries you know you’ll eat. You don’t have to make these choices, but once you become intentional about how you spend your money, you might find these other steps become important to you.
You might also restrict your spending to purchases that align with your goals and values. Or you may discover patterns in your spending, such as that you tend to go on shopping sprees when you’re feeling sad, bored or under stress. This may lead you to find more productive ways to deal with sadness, stress or boredom or other emotions, further saving you money.
Money mindfulness provides you with a way of making sure you are comfortable with how and where you spend your money. It gives you control over your spending rather than letting the habit of buying things control you.
Although money mindfulness doesn’t mean you have to change your spending habits, understanding how and why you spend might result in a change in how you think about money and could result in greater savings.