One of the first things I do with new clients is ask them some questions to identify how aware they are of their money and spending habits. Here are eight ways to measure your money mindfulness.
Take a moment and notice your spending impact on your partner/family: I agree that everyone should have a little bit of discretionary money to spend without having to share the details with everyone else. When it’s “our” money, and I decide to spend it on “me”, and it isn’t planned, how will your partner feel? Will you sneak your online purchases into the house when no one is there? What if they found out? How would you feel if they slipped some new tools into the garage when you weren’t there? I’ve seen couples “get even” when the other slips up, and spend even more.
Be present for happy, fun moments that don’t cost money: We love to walk through our neighborhood, and we often take pictures of what we see. It’s fun, and even healthy. Beneficial activities are first on the list, and also include picnics and front porch dinners with the torches lit.
Be aware of needs vs. wants: I need soap to take a shower; I want fancy smell-good shower gels. I need a clean home; I want a housekeeper. I need a refrigerator, I want the stainless steel one with all the latest improvements. It all adds up – big and small purchases
Notice when you are avoiding a money decision: You left your job for a new one, and haven’t rolled the 401K account yet because you’re not sure where to put it. You know you should compare insurance rates, but you have to find your current policy, look at the coverage, find competitors, call or chat with the sales rep, on and on and on. Income taxes – how many ways are there to procrastinate?
Be cognizant of rationalizations when making decisions: I worked extra hard this week, so I deserve to have a nice dinner out this weekend. These clothes are out of style, our son should join both sports, all my nieces and nephews need gifts on birthdays and holidays to show we care.
Be discerning when shopping: I bought a pair of pants on clearance that needed to be dry cleaned. One dry cleaning trip cost more than the slacks. Just because it’s at the warehouse store doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you to buy it.
When receiving knowledgeable financial advice, be conscious of your hesitations, ask questions, and share all pertinent information: When you are meeting with a financial advisor, make sure you understand the investment products. If you don’t understand what it is, ask. If they ask you if you have any other investments, give them an honest answer. You don’t want to invest your money in the same product and be more at-risk. If something just doesn’t sound right, ask more questions. I once had three appointments with a financial advisor about a new product. At the third meeting, I still didn’t understand, and did not invest in the product. Don’t feel guilty about wasting their time and feeling like you have to invest in their product.
Read all your bills and statements as a concerned consumer: For one full month, read every single bill and statement you receive. That means mail and email. Look at your balance, the due date, and the itemization of the invoice, the fees incurred, the interest rate, the investments held, including all the transactions on your bank statement. You may find a few items that you can question, and perhaps stop fees that you have been paying without knowing.
The overall goal is to help you take control of your money, reduce stress, and start THRIVING. Enjoy the good life, knowing you have reduced your financial risk, and have taken well-planned steps to ensure a thriving future. Get motivation from my posts on Facebook. Are you ready for a complimentary 60 minute strategy session? Call 916.217.1967 or email me to set a time to discuss your mindfulness.