If you’re like most people, you may think that saving money and being financially healthy is all about cutting back on everything, making hard sacrifices, and being cheap about everything. But it’s really not. In reality, it’s all about conscious spending. So, I will sharing some tips on how to develop a guilt-free spending habit as you earn.
Getting your money under control and building wealth doesn’t mean you have to eat nothing but rice, dress only in burlap, and never go out with friends.
Getting your money under control and building wealth does mean finding where your money is leaking away on expenses that don’t really add to your life. Then you can take that money back, and turn it into a vehicle to make your life better than ever.
Conscious spending is a mindfulness-based approach to managing your money that will help you get your unconscious expenses in check, and focus instead on costs that are truly meaningful to you. It starts with understanding where you are today, and where your money is going now.
What is Mindful Spending?
Mindful spending is a process of looking at everywhere your money goes, figuring out where it’s really adding value to your life, and where it isn’t.
For instance, some people love cars. They enjoy researching cars, they love driving, taking care of their vehicles, and discussing them with others. For these people, it probably makes sense to spend more money on cars than the rest of us, provided they have the means to do so.
But if cars aren’t really a big part of your world, that can be a huge place for you to cut back on unconscious spending. You may feel a draw toward the most expensive car you can afford, even if cars don’t really matter all that much to you. But what if, instead of a high performance luxury SUV, you bought something simple, reliable, and comfortable that’s nothing flashy, but gets the job done? What else might you do with the money you saved?
This is the heart of mindful, conscious spending.
There is no right answer for what exactly you should or shouldn’t spend your money on. There is only you, carefully deciding which sorts of spending bring you value and fill you up with joy, and which ones don’t. The more of the latter that you can find and cut out, the more money you’ll free up for the former,
You have the money you need to start building a life that fills you with joy. You just have to find where it’s going, and where you want it to go instead. One way to track your spending is by using satin journal planner. I love this planner as it helps me track my spending and goals. Get 20% off your purchase using TRENDSENSTYLEZ.
Careful Saving Meets Guilt-Free Spending
So you want to spend freely on the things you love, but without the guilty spending hangover that always follows? We can do that. All it takes is to figure out where you can start saving.
You can make a budget that helps you build your financial future, AND leaves plenty of room for joy now. And it doesn’t take you sacrificing everything that makes your life fun and exciting. It’s all about finding unconscious expenses and making deliberate changes. Conscious spending and intentional saving are two sides of the same coin.
If you love clothing, shopping for new ideas and crafting new outfits, that’s great! You should allow yourself the room to spend, guilt-free on awesome new things for your wardrobe from time to time.
But in order to pull that off and still be financially healthy, you also need the conscious saving side. Look around, and find what’s costing you a lot of money that doesn’t make you nearly as happy as clothes do. Maybe it’s going out to eat, maybe it’s electronic gadgets, cars(like above), or a high grocery bill.
Again, this is about you deciding what is important to you, and what isn’t. The only wrong answer here is treating everything as equally important to you and not cutting back on anything.
That’s what financial freedom is. It’s making intentional choices upfront and giving yourself the freedom to live the life you want to live, without having to worry about money every step of the way.
How to develop Guilt-Free Spending Habits
Ready to get started? Here are a few tips you can use to start building guilt-free conscious spending habits, while saving more money for your future at the same time.
1. Track Your Budget
I’ve never been a big fan of the old-fashioned, rigid style of budgeting where you sit down at the beginning of the month, write down exactly what you’re going to spend on everything, and hold yourself to it. That’s not really how we work, and is really just setting ourselves up for failure.
But I still wouldn’t rule out budgeting entirely. The simple act of sitting down once a month and taking a look at what you’ve been spending recently can be eye-opening. For instance, say you really like buying smoothies, and you buy one here and there. Well, taking a look back at your budget may reveal that “here and there” is actually almost every day. Also, that you’re spending way more money on smoothies than you thought.
You don’t need a strict plan to hold yourself to for each little category, but knowing what you do spend is the first step to deciding if that’s what you want to keep spending, and whether or not you want to make changes.
2. Ask Yourself Questions
What we’re trying to do here is take unconscious spending, and turn it into something conscious and intentional. And how better to do that than by stepping back, observing, and trying to understand yourself a little better?
Try to catch yourself before you spend money on something, and ask yourself some questions like these:
● Is this something I need, or something I want?
● How badly do I want it?
● Will this still make my life better an hour from now? A day? Ten years?
● What could this money go toward instead?
This type of questioning can help you figure out if the thing you’re about to buy is something that you need. Or if you’re just caught up on the high of spending and consuming. If it’s the latter, there’s probably something better you could do with that money.
3. Change the Story around Saving
Guilt-free spending doesn’t exist without mindful spending. And the problem with saving is that we’re hard-wired to think of it as taking something away from ourselves, as sacrifice. But you know by now that the opposite is true. A little reminder of that can go a long way.
If you realize you’re spending a ton of money on smoothies, you can decide that smoothies aren’t all that important to you. However, that still doesn’t make it that easy to cut back your spending on smoothies. There’s still part of you saying, “I like smoothies, and I still want one! You can’t take it away from me!”
Be sure to remind this part of yourself that you’re not just “taking away” that smoothie. You’re giving yourself something else, something much better, instead. Whether that’s more room in your budget for guilt-free clothes shopping or more savings toward your next awesome car. This a simple step closer to lifelong financial freedom, it’s a gift to yourself, not a sacrifice.
Once you start making these changes and observing your current habits. You can start telling yourself a new story about what spending and saving can be. So, you’ll find yourself cutting out unhelpful expenses and making plenty of room for guilt-free conscious spending in no time!
About the writer
Sam likes to tinker with big ideas and age-old wisdom and use that to develop new ways to help others build more joy, success, and fulfillment into their lives.
His blog is where he loves to share these ideas and start new conversations where we can all continue to grow, improve, and become the best possible versions of ourselves.