Mindful Spending: What it is and Why It’s a Game-Changer

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Have you made a conscious effort to spend less only to find yourself back in your old money habits a few months later?

This happened to me all of the time when I first started trying to cut back on my spending.

I would mindlessly set a budget for what I thought I should be spending and cross my fingers. 

And guess what? I overspent, felt bad about my perceived failure, and gave up. 

At the time, I didn’t realize why I was struggling. I simply thought that I was not good at saving money.

But looking back, I can now see that I was missing a very important part of personal finance. It’s a part that goes beyond the budgets and cost-savings measures. It’s the part that was necessary for me to finally stick to my money goals and feel amazing about it. 

The part I was missing was mindful spending. 

What Is Mindful Spending and Why is it Important?

Mindful spending is achieved by having awareness of our emotions and our values and using that awareness to help guide our spending decisions.

It’s about understanding “why”. 

Why we want to save, why we feel guilty about spending money, and why we want to buy that new house. 

And when we stay mindful of how our money makes us feel and how it supports our goals and dreams, our focus shifts from our money to our lives. 

This is why mindful spending is important. 

Mindful spending is the tool we need to reduce our money stress and help us work towards our dreams and goals

How Can Mindful Spending Help You?

When we first try to spend less, we turn to tools like budgets to help us. 

Yes, budgets and spending plans can help us, but they are simply a blueprint. The problem is that they’re missing the “why” and simply tell us what we think we “should” be spending.

We also need to include mindfulness in our money plans.

Mindful spending is the fuel needed to build confidence in our money decisions and kickstarts our ability to meet our money goals. 

It gives us the awareness to have complete control over our spending, instead of letting money flow in and out of our lives aimlessly. 

Mindful Spending Sets You Up to Reach Your Money Goals

When you are aware of how your spending supports (or doesn’t support) your money goals and values, you are more likely to achieve them. 

For example, if I am saving up for a vacation to Hawaii, I’m less likely to splurge on the Apple watch that will prevent me from saving enough money for the trip. 

Practicing mindful spending allows you to clearly evaluate each expense to help you clearly see which ones align with your goals and which ones don’t. And when you can easily weed out the expenses that don’t align with your goals, the money you spend will actually be used towards achieving your goals.

Mindful Spending Gives You the Awareness You Need to Overcome Obstacles

When you practice mindful spending, you will start to observe your triggers.

What situations trigger you to spend money aimlessly? When do you feel guilty about spending money? 

Once you identify these triggers, you have the ability to change your habits to avoid the trigger or to be more prepared to overcome the temptation to spend. 

Mindful Spending Helps You Feel Good About Your Money

Mindful spending helps you align your money with the things that are most important to you. And when you spend on the things that are most important to you, you will feel good about the money decisions you make. 

Feeling good about your money decisions is powerful. It helps you feel confident about your money which calms your money worries and makes you feel on top of the world. 

How to Practice Mindful Spending

Mindful spending is the secret ingredient that is essential for taking your finances to the next level. And like anything, it takes some practice. But believe me, once you start to practice mindful spending, you will completely transform your feelings about your finances.

Here’s how to start spending mindfully. 

Envision What You Want Your Future To Look and Feel Like

You need to be mindful of what you want before you can make a plan to get it. 

Take time to envision what you want your life to look and feel like. 

What kind of life do you want your money to help you create? Do you want a debt-free life? Do you want to be a home-owner? Do you want to retire before 65? Do you want to take a year off work?

It wasn’t until I had a vision of my life and a goal for my money that I finally felt excited about what my money could do for me. 

Without a vision, my money had no purpose. It floated in and out of my life aimlessly. Once I had a vision of what I wanted my life to look and feel like, I used this vision to help me spend in a way that aligned with that vision. 

Even today when I find myself frustrated with my spending, I go back to my vision and ask myself “Does my spending still align with my vision?”. And if it doesn’t I know to make a few changes. 

Create a Plan Around Your Vision

Now that you have a vision, you can create your plan.

I use two tools to help me execute my vision: a money map and my budget

A money map is a tool to help you plan how to spend and save your money in accordance with your vision. A budget is a tool to keep track of how your actual spending is aligning with your money map. 

By using these two tools, coupled with your vision, you will start crushing your money goals. 

For more info on these two tools check out:

Money Map: How to Finally Reach Your Savings Goals – A 5-Step Plan

Budgeting:  What Personal Budgeting Method is Right For You

Observe and Listen to the Feelings That Arise Around Money

Mindfulness, in general, is about being present in each moment and embracing the emotions that arise so we can learn from them. And money sure has a way of unearthing emotions. 

Unfortunately, our tendency is to ignore our emotions, because dealing with them is usually not an easy task. 

But being mindful allows us to welcome and embrace those uncomfortable feelings because we know it will help us understand them. And when we listen to our emotions, we start to learn a whole lot about ourselves and what we need to thrive. 

As you go about your day-to-day life, stay aware of the emotions that pop up around money. 

Do you feel guilty after spending money?

Do you feel like a failure because you don’t think you are saving enough?

Do you feel ashamed of your debt?

Do you have a fear of spending money?

When emotions arise, do your best not to shy away from them. Sit with them and ask yourself why these feelings are showing up. What are they trying to tell you? And how can you use them to help you grow?

I struggle with feeling guilty about spending money, and it inspired me to write an entire post about how I work through that guilt when it arises.

You Got This

Mindful spending is the foundation you need in order to stick to your financial goals and help you feel good about your money and the life it can help you create. 

When you practice mindful spending, you are nourishing the life you envision for yourself instead of allowing your money to come and go without serving a true purpose. Mindful spending is the mindset shift you need to start meeting your money and life goals. 

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Picture of Melody Creator of Cash for Tacos

Hi! I’m Melody and I want to help you create a vision for your life and provide you the necessary tools to use your money to make your vision a reality. 

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