Personal finance is not usually the first thing that people think of when it comes to holistic (whole person) wellness. The two things that usually come to mind are nutrition and exercise. And while they are very important parts of our health and wellness, we, as humans, are more than that. We are our personal growth, our relationships, our physical environment, our self-care, and, just as importantly, our finances.
It can be challenging to pursue higher levels of growth when we our struggling with our finances. There is also a prevalent "keeping up with the Jones'" mentality when it comes to modern day lifestyles that can prevent us from reaching our financial goals. Whether your aim is to eliminate debt, save for a vacation, or create a comfortable retirement fund, mindful spending habits can make a positive contribution to your well-being
My Mindful Money Experiment
In an effort to to live a more intentional life I am doing a mindful money experiment for July and August. During this time I will not be buying any material goods for myself with the exception of personal hygiene products (think toothpaste, shampoo, soap) should the need arise. I am also not buying coffee during the week (unless it's from the grocery store to make my own).
This experiment is designed to reset the way I think about spending money and what type of "stuff" I want to bring into my home. For example- I happen to love makeup, skincare, and hair care. Recently however, I came to the realization that there are always going to be new products on the market. Do I really need 10 lipsticks when I only wear 2? Do I really want 5 different leave in conditioners when I always end up with 1 favorite? I don't think I'll ever stop liking these things but the idea is to give more consideration to every purchase.
I'll have a follow-up post some time in August where I will share my thoughts, challenges, and successes. If I have sparked your interest and you'd like to join me, use the hashtag #mindfulmoney on Instagram and Twitter. You are welcome to make this experiment personal, using whatever approach/guidelines you think would fit your life best.
Here are three things I'm doing during this experiment to support a mindful approach to money over the next two months:
1. Making Iced Coffee At Home
I don't know about you, but as soon as it starts to get hot I immediately start wanting iced coffee. Now, a basic iced coffee at Starbucks is not the most expensive drink in the world but it can certainly add up, especially if you find yourself in line for one several times a week.
Making your own iced coffee is very inexpensive and easy to prepare. Several years ago I purchased a Toddy iced coffee maker and after using it once, it sadly got stored in the back of a cabinet and was forgotten. (Even though the coffee I brewed with it was amazing!). Fast forward to a few weeks ago, we were at a friend's house and he had created a really nice iced coffee mini bar and after raving about the coffee, he told me that it was home made with a...wait for it...Toddy brew system! The next day, I rescued my Toddy and put it to work! You can also make a home-made simple syrup by combining 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water and heating on a stove top.
Just for fun, Chris and I calculated the price of a homemade iced coffee made with Starbucks ground coffee from the grocery store. It came out to around .92 cents. (It would probably be even less if you caught the coffee on sale.)
2. Trading Shopping Time and Energy for Learning Time and Energy
I wouldn't consider myself a "shopaholic" by any stretch of the imagination but I don't even want to think about how much time I've probably wasted window shopping online. Add to that the trips to Nordstrom, TJMaxx, and Sephora and you get hours that could have been better spent on personal development, self-improvement, or creative ventures.
During the next 2 months I am going to use the time that I normally would spend shopping (online or in-person) to work on things like content creation, learning to code, my meditation practice, and other self improvement activities. (If you're looking for a place to get started check out my blog post on Personal Development Resources.) Once you start approaching life with the mantra of "experiences over things," your perspective about purchasing tends to shift.
3. Un-subscribing to Mailing Lists
It is almost guaranteed that if I get an email from one of my favorite brands that has a headline proclaiming "30% off!," "Free Shipping on all orders!," or "New Arrivals!," I will at the VERY least take a peek at the offer on their website. Inevitably I end up with a few things in my virtual cart and, as mentioned above, more of my precious time has been wasted on mindless internet shopping.
A few days ago I took advantage of the free Unroll.me/ web app and unsubscribed from all retail mailing lists. Not only has it removed the temptation to check out every new sale, it also prevents a lot of junk from clogging up my inbox. When I initially went through to start the "un-sub" process I was actually shocked at how many mailing lists I was on. I highly recommend this service.
Have you done a similar experiment? I would love to hear about any tips or resources you used to help you on your journey!