“Mindfulness” is a hot topic these days, and it seems like the latest trend in Health & Wellness isn’t about just your body, it’s about being focused on your brain. Whether you live in the heart of a busy city or not, our modern day lives involve a helluva lot of screen time and multi-tasking which can cause some serious over stimulation and increased stress on our minds. This year alone, Toronto has seen a surge in “gyms” and wellness studios that focus specifically on brain health by offering schedules filled with meditation classes or even just quiet spaces. While it’s common to understand the benefits that a regular meditation practice can have on your sleep and energy levels, this year Capital One Canada and Credit Canada Debt Solutions are working hard to share the message that mindfulness can also be a huge benefit when it comes to managing your finances and managing the stress that can come along with it. After all, according to a study conducted by Capital One and Credit Canada, Canadians who say financial stress is their #1 worry spend an average of 16 hours a week worrying about it. Can you relate? In partnership with Credit Education Week 2018, we’re sharing 7 ways you can be more mindful about your money (and spending habits) that we learned at the recent #MoneyMindfulness kick-off event for #CEWC2018.
Be Mindful and Set Intentions Before You Shop
It’s all too easy to get distracted when you go shopping and end up buying more than you need, or something that you didn’t intend to buy at all. Being mindful when you shop, and setting intentions before you shop, can help you control the urge to react to a tempting impulse purchase. Being a mindful shopper doesn’t mean you can’t shop at all, it means you stop shopping after you’ve purchased what you set out to buy.
Remind Yourself of Your Financial Goals Daily
If you’re thinking, “How can I possibly say ‘No’ to something I never knew I needed in the first place?” Take a moment to stop, breathe and remind yourself of your financial goals. Will your purchase help you achieve those goals or set you back from achieving them? Are there small daily purchases that you make that could be cut out or reduced in order to help you save money that can be put towards your financials goals? Even by just cutting out one $5 purchase a day (say for an artisanal cup of coffee) you’ll save $1,825 in a year.
Try Sensory Mindfulness Exercises
During the #MoneyMindfulness event hosted by Capital One and Credit Canada, we were introduced to The Centre for Mindfulness Studies who had us take part in a Sensory Mindfulness Exercise. In this exercise, we were challenged to centre our focus on a singular sense (and nothing else) with something seemingly mundane, like a strawberry. Since we often spend so much of our lives racing to keep up with our busy schedules, sensory mindfulness can be a great way to help us slow down and appreciate smaller details, and efforts, that we so often miss. Try it, perhaps it will help open you up to a ‘less is more’ approach to life.
Meditate and Centre Your Focus
According to Patricia Rockman from the Centre for Mindfulness Studies, mindfulness can “bring attention to how we think, feel emotionally and how we act,” she says that “mindfulness is simple but not easy because it requires practice.” For anyone who has tried to calm a busy mind through meditation for the first time, you’ll definitely understand what she means. When it comes to finances, Patricia says that “what mindfulness can do for us is make us STOP, pause, take a breath and check in with what’s actually going on, and then make a decision about how we actually want to proceed. When we’re able to do that we’re less immersed, less overwhelmed, and we don’t have to behave in such knee jerk ways to get away from them.”
Create a Spending Plan
It’s easy to feel stressed about where your money is going and how you save up for short-term or long-term goals. Credit Canada suggests creating a spending plan to help you track your monthly expenses and get a better look at where your money is going, and where you can potentially save more money. Simple things like being more mindful about how often you go out to eat (or order in), take a taxi or spend money on entertainment can be one of the fastest ways to keep more money in your bank account at the end of each month.
Patricia says that “We can often get into a cycle of spending to deal with our stress and then worrying about that spending, stressing about the worry and then spending more.” It’s important to keep ourselves accountable for our spending actions, otherwise it can be all too easy to keep spending money. If keeping yourself accountable isn’t something you think you can do on your own, reach out to a family member, friend or financial expert to help keep you in check.
Start Talking About Your Finances
This leads us to our final tip which is to start talking about your finances. Yes, it can be awkward and yes, it might be the last thing you want to do but becoming more mindful about your money needs time and commitment to thinking about, looking at and talking about your finances. Perhaps this needs to be with your partner (in business or life), a family member or professional who can help you. If getting out of credit debt is one of your financial goals, you can easily book a session with one of Credit Canada’s credit counsellors through their website.
For more information on Credit Education Week 2018 please click HERE.
(Story by Editor-in-Chief, Gracie Carroll)
*Please note that this post has been brought to you thanks to a paid partnership with Capital One Canada, all thoughts and opinions are our own.