Applying mindfulness to disorganised finances
There’s a tough but essential reality to face with your personal finances if you ever want to improve your situation.
If you don’t pay attention to your finances, they don’t usually improve.
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to acknowledge it, and then act on it.
Even if you don’t see this cost immediately – ignoring finances creates chaos, often placing pressure on relationships.
What mindfulness can do for your money
Mindfulness is not just about meditation, in fact some mindfulness experts argue a meditation practice is optional as its just one way to be mindful.
Mindfulness is all about is paying attention, and applying that to your financial situation by definition means paying attention to your finances.
There are no guarantees for anyone, but it’s likely that being mindful about your finances will improve them.
The first step though is beginning to pay attention and that includes noticing resistance you have to facing the true state of your finances, and acknowledging these uncomfortable feelings.
It may feel overwhelming to know where or how to being to re-organise or take back control of your financial situation.
Mindfulness as a practice helps you to bring your attention to what is happening in the present moment.
It enables you to approach the task at hand, in a calm and centred manner.
What is financial mindfulness?
At Financial Mindfulness we define being mindful about finances as being aware and paying attention to your finances, and that may mean seeking help.
If you also practice mindfulness meditation, it can help reduce the anxiety, stress or avoidance you feel towards your finances.
A meditation practice can bring you to a state of acceptance, and allow you to take control of your situation in the present moment, one task at a time.
These meditations can help you to shift any blocks or resistance you may feel towards your financial situation, and will also help you to get into a calmer frame of mind, to be able to plan what action you need to take in order to get back in control.
When you are calm, and relaxed, you become more able to approach the task at hand.
From a calm place you can make better decisions and see the path forward, of small steps to take.
Some realisations may become clear quickly, for instance, you may overcome resistance to one particular area of your finances that is disorganised, like you business expenses or your taxation.
How mindfulness helps you get into action with disorganised finances
To achieve positive change, it is essential to develop new habits to improve your finances.
Ignoring your situation or just hoping things will improve, won’t help you move forward, or take back control. Just like procrastinating won’t improve the situation either.
To get your finances organised, these are a few of the basic ongoing tasks you will need to practice on a weekly basis:
- Opening mail and email about your finances;
- Understanding your income;
- Examining your spending and identifying where savings can be made;
- Knowing the difference between your income and expenditure – and being able to know it in advance;
- Creating a planner of when bills and repayments fall due;
- Creating a budget, following it and maintaining it; and
- Creating an investment plan.
You can begin to think about the small but significant practical steps that you can take towards transforming your finances from being disorganised to being organised and in control.
How mindfulness helps you get your mindset right
You can to use mindfulness firstly to help you visualise what it would feel like to be organised with your finances and the sense of ease that that could bring to your lives from a financial and emotional level.
In any behaviour change, you need to be connected to the underlying motivation in order to be inspired to take action to change a situation.
Mindfulness is a tool that can help you connect to your motivation, and keep you focused on the path to creating change or shifting behaviour. If you feel stressed or slip back into old habits, you can use mindfulness to bring your attention back to your present moment, and take action again in a more positive and healthy way.
Mindfulness reminds you that you need to pay attention to the present moment. For example, when you receive a bill in the mail, applying mindfulness would tell you to open that bill, make a note of it, or pay it, and then file it.
Mindfulness is also the tool that helps you track and pay attention to your spending habits, sticking to your spending plan and remaining on track with your goals and decisions.
It’s a tool that you can use to keep you focused on your actions and what you are doing in the present moment, to ensure that you stay on track.
Using a mindful approach to create new habits
Living with a mindful approach to money means paying attention to money at intervals required to stay organised – whether that means daily, hourly or monthly.
Some of these new healthy habits will include things such as:
- Generally improving your financial literacy;
- Remaining aware of when bills and repayments fall due;
- Remaining aware of all your account balances;
- Monitoring income and expenditure your income and expenditure;
- Monitoring your spending behaviour for products and services that you are; not using – so that you can sell these items and cut these costs; and
- Managing your investments on a regular basis.
You should also experience a reduction in bill shock and encountering ‘unexpected expenses’.
How mindfulness helps to keep your finances organised
Your relationship with money is a practice.
You don’t arrive at an organised state and remain there. It is the daily habits and actions you take that support you to be organised with your money.
A mindfulness approach to your finances requires you to pay attention to your daily habits with money in each moment.
So, you are always mindful of what you are doing and spending.