This year it’s all about me practicing money mindfulness. Why? ‘Coz I got ‘Money on my mind and mind on my money’ and neeeeed to get some dollar in my pocket.
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There’s heaps of literature around on mindfulness and how it can help us to be happier and healthier. We can apply mindfulness to pretty much any area of our lives. For me mindfulness means being more aware of the present and the here and now, instead of living in the past or future and fretting and worrying our days away. I’m now a hell of a lot more aware of the relationship between my thoughts, feeling and actions.
One area of my life that I’m applying mindfulness to is spending. I’m trying to be more conscious of my thought patterns and my relationship to spending in an effort to get my finances in order and start saving for my dreams. Over the next six months my partner and I want to blitz some debt and start saving for our wedding!
So how will I ‘mind my spend?’ Let me tell ya! Here are some questions I’m asking myself in order to become more mindful with my dough:
1) Do I need to go into that shop? Do I know what I need to buy? Have I written a list to avoid impulse purchases?
2) Do I want it, or do I need it?
If I need it, can I buy it cheaper somewhere else? Do I need to buy it – can I instead borrow the item from a friend/family member?
3) How am I feeling in the present? Am I feeling grateful and happy? I’ve found that when I’m in a good head space I’m a lot less likely to buy crap I don’t need and make impulse purchases.
4) Have I budgeted for it?
5) Do I really need to buy another coffee from the café? I love take out coffee and I don’t want to stop buying it altogether, but now I’m making it a treat, instead of a regular habit. Having take out coffee in a flask and making my lunch for work the night before makes a big difference to the wallet.
6) I love to treat myself…who doesn’t?! It makes us feel good. A few weeks ago my cousin and I went to our local charity shop during the Christmas break and we picked up some complete bargains. I picked up a purse £1 (brand new) and a cool book for a few quid (also new). I got to treat myself without breaking the bank. My cousin picked my some amazing bargains too.
So now I’m going to ask myself when I want to treat myself occasionally, can I pick up something small from a charity shop or do something that doesn’t cost money – like run a hot bubble bath or paint my nails?
7) What’s in my wardrobe? I’m now more mindful of all the clothes, shoes and hand bags I do already have. Over the Christmas period I was lucky enough to receive some amazing gifts, including a pair of boots, a pair of jeans, a jumper, warm jacket and perfume – pretty much everything I needed and wanted. So I went through my wardrobe and de-cluttered and bagged up the clothes I wanted to donate to the local charity shop, and the clothes I wanted to sell on gum tree to make some extra cash.
I now have more space in my wardrobe and I know what items of clothing I have as I managed to catch up on the piles of washing! I can now get creative, accessorise and mix and match items and make use of and appreciate all the clothes I already have. I don’t need to buy any more clothes/shoes and bags for a long time, which means more ££ to put towards my goals and a nice de-cluttered wardrobe.
The same applies to food shopping. Before I go to the supermarket, I try and do a quick stock check in the kitchen, so I already know what food I’ve got in the kitchen before I buy another shop.
8) I’m going to be more mindful of cheaper alternatives when socialising with friends/family and when having a ‘date night’ with the hubby. Instead of going out for a meal on Saturday night it can be even better to cook a nice meal at home (fajitas are our favourite). A few nights ago we went to a friends house for a few drinks and watched a movie, it was cheaper than going to the cinema and bar for a few drinks. Not only did we spend less money, we spent more quality time with each other. You can’t really speak during the cinema and sometimes it’s hard to have a conversation with your friends in a packed out noisy bar.
Here’s a few reason’s why I’m really hopeful mindful money will get me some results in the cash department:
1) It’s sustainable.
I feel hopeful that throughout this year I can be mindful with my money and sustain it as a mind set/lifestyle. It can be a new sustainable and long term way for me to approach spending. I’ve ‘tripped’ up already, and bought that extra coffee, hot chocolate with marsh mellows and a sarnie from the café that I didn’t need to buy if I packed my lunch etc, but did I beat myself up? Hell no, I just accepted what I did and why I did it and I got myself right back on the mindful train. Choo choo. (Oh dear).
I guess, not being particularly mindful all the time is inevitable…why? Because I’m human. But what I’m going to do is…keep going, I’m not going to feel guilty for having ‘set backs’. I think they will be a part of the process.
2) I feel more in control.
3) I’m not depriving myself of anything. I still treat myself now and then – Instead I feel more grateful of what I already have and I appreciate my treats a lot more.
Have you used mindfulness to cut down your shopping? I want to hear about it! Comments welcome!