My mindfulness money day starts early at six in the morning and the first thing I do is head to the refrigerator to grab my bottled Califia Farms Cold Brew Coffee from my latest grocery store run.
As I go to pour my coffee, I examine the container and my first money thought of the day occurs to me: I actually have no idea how much this costs. Is it cheaper than my usual Starbucks run?
While I always have a threshold of what is too much to spend, I never think much more than that for grocery runs. I never write a grocery list or set a budget. I know when I end up spending more than I anticipated, but that’s about the extent of thought put into an average trip.
What I know for sure this morning is that I don’t have breakfast in the house and that I will be going to get more coffee on my first work break of the day with some breakfast. I’ve been working through budgeting with my coffee for a few months now with little success of cutting down. And it’s an expense that, while I’d like to cut back on, brings me a lot of joy in the mornings.
I work for awhile and then order food for lunch from a local Greek place with free delivery. I am mindful again and decide to save half for the next day. It makes me feel good to think about how I am making two meals out of one. Portions are often much larger than necessary and I am able to do this with most meals, when I’m mindful about it.
I get home from work and I am waiting on an Amazon package to arrive. The free Prime shipping always gets me and I end up overspending often.
I’ve been fighting an impulse to shop lately and I recognize the trend. When the impulse to buy comes up for me today, I’ve been asking myself a few questions:
“Do I need this?”
“What am I giving up for this?”
“What is this really about? What am I avoiding right now?”
Oftentimes the impulse to buy is about more than the shopping. It’s a coping mechanism to deal with stress and feeling overwhelmed. When I recognize that I’m shopping to avoid something, I ask a follow up question…
“What can I do to fill this desire besides spending money?”
Here is what I’ve come up with as a few options.
I can take a walk.
I can go for a drive.
I can journal through my thoughts and get to the root cause of what’s going on.
I can go through my gratitude list and add to it.
I can call a friend.
I can take a bath to relax and destress.
All of these options can allow you to snap out of shopping spree impulses. And today, I choose to call a friend.
We all know the feeling of going to Target and spending over a hundred dollars, but wondering what we even bought. Or we’ll do a little online shopping here and there. Then we’ll sneak a peak at our account weeks later and wonder “where did all my money go?”
What happens when we actually take the time to be mindful about where we’re spending our money?
Could we afford that trip that we have been wanting to go to? Pay off that massive student loan? The possibilities are endless.
I found that when I took the time to evaluate, ask myself questions, and really get intentional with money, I didn’t feel the need to spend so much. And it actually became fun to spend when I made the intentional decision to do so.
It always feels good when we actively choose to make decisions that align with our values.
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