People have been talking a lot about mindful budgeting recently, but what exactly is it? It kind of sounds like I’m going to end up sat cross legged in Asda ‘ohm-ing and ah-ing’ deciding if I really want to buy the last melon…
What is Mindful Budgeting Then?
It’s really not as involved as it sounds. Mindful budgeting is simply about taking more care and putting more thought into the things you spend your money on. Something most of us could benefit from!
Something I swear by if I’ve got stuck in a rut with bad spending, is a mindful budgeting kick start intervention. All this means is that for an entire week I write down every single thing I spend on. Yep, even chewing gum. This is usually enough to give me a massive wake up call and get me back on track.
Do I Really Need to do That?!
Well, technically, no. If you already have a good handle on your finances, income and expenses, and your budget is working for you, then you probably don’t need to go as in depth as this. But, if you’re struggling to keep on top of everything, then it could be just what you need to get back on track.
Maybe you write out a budget every month but somehow it always seems to get blown around the middle or end of the month? Or it could be that you’re not using any kind of budget planner and just winging it every month. While that works for some people, most of us need some kind of budget guidelines in place to keep us in check.
So How Do I Get into Long Term Mindful Budgeting?
Of course, a budgeting kick start intervention is only designed to give you a sort of short term wake up call. Moving forwards with mindful budgeting in the longer term is pretty easy once you know how, though.
Set yourself some boundaries and make a point of really sticking to them. Some that I swear by are;
- A 48-hour purchase rule – I make myself wait for 48 hours before actually buying anything that I see or think I want. 90% of the time I change my mind, or find it cheaper elsewhere within the 2 days.
- Ask 3 questions – When I’m thinking about buying something (yes even chewing gum) I ask myself do I really want/need it, how is it going to serve me, and can I find it cheaper elsewhere?
- No impulse buying
- No buying anything I already have at home (including food)
But What if…
In the name of keeping it real, we’ve all been there. The kids are playing up, you’re out of pre-prepared snacks and you just want to get home in peace. In this case, yes a packet of sweets each is definitely going to serve your life for the better.
On the other hand, that cute mug? Do you really need it? Is it going to hold coffee any better than the 47 mugs you already own? Quite frankly, unless it’s a giant mug that can hold the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee then you probably don’t need it.
It’s so easy to start being more mindful with your money that you can start right now. The next time you think about buying something, no matter what it is, take a minute to ask yourself those 3 questions. Come back to the purchase in 48 hours if you can. If you still think you really want or need it, then go for it. Chances are you’ll have changed your mind, though, and therein lies the power of mindful budgeting.