Welcome to Part 2 of my Mindfulness Series!
If you haven’t read Part 1 where I list 10 super simple ways to practice daily mindfulness, you can find it here.
When I committed to my mindfulness practice, it was easier for me to start with things that didn’t feel so much like mindfulness. I guess I had to trick my brain into not realizing we were experiencing growth and awareness (my brain wasn’t really into awareness back then!).
What is something that we all think about as much as we ignore it?
MONEY. Specifically, where our money is going.
I really thought I knew how much I spent each month…and how much was really getting thrown away. Boy, was I wrong!
Enter, Mindful Spending…
Mindful Spending was kind of like dipping into mindfulness in a fairly controlled setting for me. It wasn’t scary to just be aware of my family’s spending habits.
So, I sat down and made a list of our bills. The basic bills (i.e. house, utilities, cell phones, student loans and insurance) were placed in one column and totaled. That number is fairly consistent, so I rounded up to account for minor fluctuations and deducted that from our monthly income.
Looking at what we had left each month, I made a guesstimate of where that money went. After talking it over with my hubby, we agreed that we’d both carry envelopes for the next month to keep track of our receipts for designated categories:
- Food out
We were just collecting receipts. No need to change anything about our “normal” spending behaviors yet. Just participating in a simple mindfulness exercise.
At the end of that month, I totaled the receipts in each category and compared the numbers to my guesstimates. To say that I was way off was an understatement!
Damn that awareness.
With our newly discovered spending knowledge, we discussed goals for each category and set out for another month of collecting receipts. As is the case with mindfulness, I was much more aware this month and was very selective with my spending.
I set a personal goal of having all of my totals be less than the month before, but I made sure to approach it without feeling restricted. I tend to rebel against any forms of restrictive behavior and go a little crazy…I accept it…I acknowledge it…and, now, I face it.
Another month done and totaled!
Guess what!!! We reduced our spending by $500 from the previous month just by being aware!!!
That was freaking awesome!!! So, we kept it up and set new goals. Most of the time, we met those goals. There were some months that things just didn’t work out as inexpensively as we planned, but that’s life. We made a note of it and moved on.
We got a little distracted when we started the process of downsizing to our new home and getting our larger house ready to go on the market. Our envelope system was put on hold until we could get back to some semblance of routine, but I have realized that I am more than ready to start being aware of where our money is going again.
Being mindful gives me peace.
Finances can be a touchy subject. Money can cause conflicts. Issues in relationships are often money-related. Money really is the root of all evil…if we ignore it.
Money can also be a great way to be mindful.
When you are at peace with your finances, it really does make your days run more smoothly and reduces your stress.
Mindfulness can bring about amazing changes over time.
My simple envelope system for mindful spending shows you where your money is going by raising your awareness. All you need are a few envelopes and designated categories that work best for you. With a little prep time in the beginning and literally just minutes at the end of each month, you can practice mindful spending, too.
You control your spending; your spending doesn’t control you!
I hope you have enjoyed Parts 1 and 2 of the Mindfulness Series. Part 3 will be all about Mindful Eating, so be sure to check back tomorrow. I have an amazing book recommendation along with some really useful information.