How to Use Mindful Spending to Improve Your Relationship With Money

How to Use Mindful Spending to Improve Your Relationship With Money

It’s no secret that loads of people are feeling the pinch right now. And with the holiday season fast approaching, many of you may be feeling a little anxious about all the spending that’s coming your way.

With that considered, I figured it would be worthwhile to get some tips on managing the stress that is often brought up around spending substantial amounts of money. For that reason, I chatted with Mary Spillane, who is a Clinical Psychologist and Headspace App’s Mental Health Expert, about the concept of mindful spending and how it can be beneficial – especially at this time of year.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

So, to start off – what is mindful spending?

Spillane explained over email that this practice is essentially, “the skill of bringing awareness to our spending habits and the feeling/s we get when we’re spending or thinking about spending”.

The practice is a valuable one because it allows you to build awareness of your values and goals around spending. Whereas “carelessly spending money can result in people feeling out of control, remorseful and place strain on finances,” Spillane shared.

How to get started with mindful spending

If you’re keen to give mindful spending a try, Spillane has offered some simple tips for getting started. Be patient and give yourself time to get used to this new approach to money; your habits won’t change overnight.

Spillane’s four tips on mindful money management are:

  • “When you have an urge to spend, stop and notice what you’re feeling in the moment. It could be anxiety, loneliness, excitement, overwhelm, or any other number of emotions. Try and notice these feelings and urges without judgement. This can help to unhook you from the urge to spend.”
  • “Practice general stress management and self-care routinely. If our stress levels are high, it can make it difficult to regulate our behaviours, including urges to spend money. If you are managing stress effectively, it can it easier to implement new strategies.”
  • “Write down some of your general values and goals with money. This can be useful to reflect on and review as you continue to practice the skill.”
  • “It takes time to learn a new skill, so be compassionate towards yourself and give yourself time to adapt to a different way of spending.”

If you’d like a guide, the Headspace App has guided sessions on topics like Managing Financial Stress, Budgeting Basics and more.

When to adopt these new habits

You might be wondering if this practice is something you should be using at all times, or if it’s best applied during times of extreme stress around money.

When I asked Spillane about this, she explained that it’s really down to you. It can be useful in both situations.

“Bringing moments of daily mindfulness to everyday tasks such as spending can be a useful way of incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine. Similarly, mindfulness can be a useful strategy if you are wanting to bring greater awareness to your spending habits,” she said.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. In an emergency, call 000.

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