Happiness, Productivity

Mindful Budgeting

“You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.” – Dave Ramsey

A man looking into his empty wallet

Money Can Equal Stress

Money can be a great asset to have in one’s life, but, at the same time, can be one of the largest sources of stress in one’s life. It is possible that money can bring both happiness and frustration. To have money bring contentment and joy rather than frustration and worry, there are steps that one can take. 

For example, budgeting one’s money is an outstanding and effective way to make money work for you, instead of you constantly working for money. While there are many different ways to approach budgeting, one way in which to do it is using the approaches of mindfulness. Using mindfulness principles when tracking your money and budget will allow you to approach your finances mindfully and beneficially.

Mindfulness Principle #1: Awareness (With Spending Money)

One of the key principles of mindfulness is awareness. To be aware is to be in the moment and paying attention to what you are experiencing in the present moment. Having awareness and applying this principle to one’s finances can have a major impact on how well one can balance and handle their budget. 

It is in the best interest of one’s finances to pay attention, first, to how they are spending money. Countless individuals spend money freely without much thought. In today’s society, with internet shopping and spending on credit cards with limits that seem countless, it is easier than ever to spend without much thought. 

So, while it may seem extremely simple to just pay attention to the money that one is spending, it may be tougher than one thinks – especially this day in age. Having an awareness of your spending (where you spend most of your money, when you spend money) will help with budgeting.

How to Incorporate Awareness

There are several ways that one can incorporate awareness into budgeting their finances. Writing down purchases is a great way to be mindful of what you are purchasing and having an awareness of where you are spending money. This can be done on paper or in a note on your phone. There are also plenty of books (for those who like the old school pen and paper feel) and applications on computers and phones to help track finances and successfully budget. 

Another way to increase awareness of your spending is to find a person that you can have hold you accountable. This can be especially helpful for those who have certain places where they spend their money most frequently. For example, people who enjoy certain coffee shops, clothing stores, or restaurant chains and frequent those places often may not realize how frequently they are visiting those places and, thus, spending their money there. Having a system in place where you tell another individual each time you go to a favorite place can bring both awareness and accountability to your spending. 

A couple examining finances online

Mindfulness Principle #2: Acceptance (Of Your Financial Situation)

Another principle of mindfulness is that of acceptance. To be accepting means that you are open to experiences, situations, and different areas of life regardless of whether they are positive or negative. 

This is especially important when one encounter things in life that they cannot control. There are many examples of things concerning finances that someone may not be able to control and have to be accepting of. 

For example, there are times in one’s career where they may not be able to change jobs or advance in their career and may be a standstill with their financial earnings. It can be easy to get frustrated with the amount of pay one is making and let that frustration spill into their decision making with finances. Instead of being frustrated, taking an approach of acceptance can alleviate stress and can help with planning out a budget and finances. 

This does not mean not trying to advance in one’s career or try to climb the corporate ladder to improve one’s financial situation. Instead it means working to be one’s best while accepting the process and the current situation one is in. 

How to Incorporate Acceptance

It may be difficult to come to accept the financial situation you are in…

The first step is to give yourself compassion and understanding (more mindfulness principles) with whatever position you are in. Being judgmental towards oneself will not help the situation improve. Remembering to give oneself compassion is a great first step in gaining acceptance towards one’s situation. 

It can also be helpful to be grateful for having the ability to garner pay and make money. Even if one is in debt and is in a bad financial situation, gratitude can be found in the fact that this can change with making smart budgeting decisions and having a healthy relationship with money. 

A large part of this change to having a healthy relationship with money starts with incorporating principles such as awareness and acceptance.

Money Does Not Need to Equal Stress

A budget spreadsheet

Money and finances can be stressful to navigate and handle. Choosing to budget your money using mindfulness principles can be helpful in alleviating some of the stress associated with mindfulness. 

These principles include awareness (being aware of spending habits and where and when money is spent) and acceptance (being open to one’s financial situation and not judging one’s financial position). Budgeting finances mindfully can help not only alleviate stress but help improve one’s financial situation. 

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