Saving Money: Being Mindful of your Spending
Gain awareness of how you spend your money so that you can make better choices.
We hear a lot about being mindful: focusing your awareness on the present moment, but we don’t often practice mindfulness. We often go through our day thinking about the past or what we want to do in the future. Or we distract ourselves by reading while we eat and texting while we walk. By doing these things, we are not living in the present and not consciously aware of what we are doing.
Not being mindful can also affect how we spend our money. Perhaps you have a habit of stopping by Starbucks for your coffee on the way to work and buy lunch out each day. It doesn’t seem like a lot of money but it adds up. A $3 coffee and $8 lunch five days a week equals $55 per week and $220 a month, which equates to $2,640 a year!
You don’t need to practice mindful meditation to become more aware of your spending habits. The first step is to start tracking your income and expenses for a few months. You need to know all of your money/income that is coming in and all the purchases/expenses that are going out each month. Also be aware of and account for annual expenses and the unexpected. Unexpected expenses can include anything from a care repair to a medial emergency. You can’t predict these occurrences, but they are inevitable and it’s best to have an amount each month that can be used for such events.
The next step is to create a spending plan that takes all of your fixed expenses (rent, utilities, insurance, transportation, etc) and variable expense (restaurants, leisure, travel, Uber, coffee, etc), as well as the amount you want to save each month into account. You could learn how set up a budget, but that can feel very restrictive. A spending plan is something you design that meets your wants and needs. You can then decide if you need to make changes to your spending.
Maybe you are saving for a house and want to be able to put more money in your savings account each month or you love to travel, but don’t have enough savings to go on that trip you have wanted to take. You can make the conscious decision to bring your lunch to work or reduce the use of Uber rides because the house or trip is more important to you. Likewise, going out to restaurants can eat a lot of your money. Going out to eat can be an opportunity to see friends and socialize which may be important to you. If you want to save money, you can eat out less often or organize a potluck, which costs a lot less money while allowing you to spend a fun night with your friends.
There are many ways to save money and it is easier to take advantage of money saving tips when you are motivated. The motivation comes from spending money of what’s most important to you. The point is not to cut out all your daily pleasures but to be mindful of them and make conscious decisions on how to spend your money on what you value most.
Do you need help realizing your financial goals? Try my “Freedom to Spend” coaching package.
If not now….When?