Becoming More Mindful About Money
Planning any New Year’s resolutions for 2023? Along with goals like eating healthier and exercising more, money-related resolutions are common. If you’ve committed to tackling debt or saving more in the coming year, that’s great news.
Here’s how you can take this goal even further: Try becoming more mindful about your money. It’s a personal change that could really pay off, and not just financially.
More Mindful, Less Stressed
Do you fret about your checking balance or feel a sense of doom when opening your credit card bill? About three out of four Americans are stressed out about their money. Taking a more mindful approach to your finances can help.
Think of mindfulness as a moment-by-moment awareness of yourself and your surroundings. It involves slowing down, being present in the here and now, and relating to yourself in a way that is kind and nonjudgmental.
Here’s how this can apply to your finances. By adopting a practice of money mindfulness, you can bring more clarity to your financial decision-making, which can lead to a healthier relationship with your money.
These 7 steps can help you get started.
1. Face Your Finances
It’s tempting to avoid things that feel uncomfortable or overwhelming, but the first step to addressing habits that aren’t working for you is to take an honest look at your personal finances. Maybe you habitually put off paying bills, struggle to keep your finances organized, or use “retail therapy” to feel better after a rough day.
Be aware of how you manage your money, without judging yourself for past mistakes. No one is born a financial guru. View past mistakes as temporary setbacks that you can learn from.
Mindful money move: Review your account statements and check your balances regularly. Know where you stand financially.
2. Check Your Attitude
We start developing financial habits at a young age, but the lessons we carry into adulthood aren’t always helpful.
If money was a sore topic in someone’s childhood household, they might grow up to become overly focused on their spending and easily overwhelmed by their expenses. Or, if someone’s early role models spent money without a second thought, this person might also fall into the same habit – treating money like a limitless resource, even when their account balance says otherwise.
Mindful money move: Look at your values and habits around money. Consider which are useful and which are holding you back.
3. Be Grateful
Sure, financial security is important for everyone. But are you defining your self-worth based on the size of your salary or the things you own? If you worry that all your friends have a nicer car or take better vacations, you could feel pressured to keep up, spending beyond your means in pursuit of an unrealistic lifestyle. But it’s not a competition.
Mindful money move: Remember that everyone’s financial circumstances are different. Focus on the nonmaterial things you feel grateful for now – like family and friends – rather than the stuff you want.
4. Be Intentional
So many of our financial habits are just that – habits. Set clear goals so you can actively form habits that reflect your priorities.
If you want to save more money, come up with a clear plan, such as setting up automatic monthly transfers to your savings, asking your employer to direct-deposit a portion of your paycheck to your savings account, or cutting out one weekly expense and socking away the extra money you’ve saved.
If your goal is to become debt-free, choose a strategy to help you tackle this debt and support it with meaningful actions, no matter how small.
Mindful money move: Use online budgeting tools like American Heritage’s My Money Manager to get insight into where your money is going, follow a budget, and track your progress toward financial goals.
When it feels like you’re doing a million things at once, it’s hard to focus on much of anything – much less “stay in the moment.”
Finding simpler ways to keep track of bills and their due dates, deposit checks, and handle other financial responsibilities can save you a lot of time. This, in turn, gives you the freedom to slow down, which can help you avoid extra stress and rash financial decisions.
Mindful money move: Start using digital tools to handle banking needs quickly, stay better organized, and avoid extra clutter from financial paperwork.
6. Don’t Go It Alone
Money shouldn’t be a taboo topic. Talking about your finances with people you trust can help you avoid confusion and costly mistakes. A knowledgeable friend or family member can also give you a reality check when you’re making financial decisions and provide encouragement if you face a setback.
Mindful money move: If you’re struggling with debt or other challenges, consider going to a reputable community organization to seek financial counseling.
7. Change Up Your Routine
Consider picking up other habits to reduce stress and boost mindfulness in your day-to-day life. It doesn’t need to be anything elaborate. Simply taking a few minutes each morning to practice mindful breathing, daily journaling, or spending more time outdoors (and away from screens) can work wonders.
Mindful money move: Explore meditation practices or activities like walking or yoga to alleviate stress and increase focus.
Here for Your Financial Well-Being
Looking for more ways to improve your financial lifestyle in the year ahead? Visit our online financial wellness and education platform, the Learning Center.