Meditation has long been perceived as a religious act and many people assume they simply don’t have the time to donate to sitting and thinking. But increasingly meditation is becoming a tool to help people reach their better self and become more positive in their way of thinking and living. Perhaps spiritual meditation isn’t for you, but a few minutes of mindfulness everyday can have a profound effect on how you view the world around you.
We can’t promise to revolutionise your financial situation, but from this guide you might realise the importance of taking time to just be and how it can benefit your ability to manage your money.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation which involves sitting or standing peacefully while maintaining focus on your sensory environment and thoughts. Each time your mind starts to diverge, you need to bring your attention back to your present self and surroundings. It’s not a tricky task and can be undertaken anywhere, any time. Perhaps while on your commute to work (if you take public transport) or while you wait for your morning tea to brew.
Mindfulness helps you become aware of your immediate environment and focuses your conscious mind on you, rather than on the happenings around you.
One of the benefits of practising mindfulness, and any other form of meditation, is better decision making and acute awareness of your thoughts. While this is a general benefit that will positively influence your everyday life, it can also affect how you manage money. You’ll be more likely to focus your attention on your financial tasks, rather than doing them half-heartedly or while distracted. By giving more thought to how you handle your money, you’ll inherently make better decisions. From organising your monthly budget more accurately, to taking responsibility for the unnecessary purchases throughout the month: mindfulness helps you become more aware of your financial commitments as you become more aware of your thoughts and decisions on a general scale.
Of course, it can take a few weeks of practising mindfulness before you start to see the benefits. In fact, it’s recommended you practice 15 minutes of meditation a day for 30 days to really start to see the difference in your outlook on life. As well as meditation, actively trying to improve your emotional balance can also help – try to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. There are plenty of online resources and books to help guide you through making these kinds of changes to your life.
However, in the meantime there are some other things you can try to save a little money or simply practice good money management alongside mindfulness.
This means ensuring your budget is realistic and can last several months – or even years. It will involve tracking your spending to calculate your exact outgoings each month, and actively putting money into savings so that you have some funds available in case of emergency.
We all lead fast-paced lives, which is why mindfulness is a good thing to practice – slowing down and taking time to appreciate the things around you. When it comes to big financial decisions, you don’t want to rush them. Set aside some time to research the products or services available and any financial planning involved in either saving a deposit or potential credit repayments. Whether it’s a kitchen extension, wedding or replacing an old car, the more information you have, the better prepared you’ll be to make an educated decision and the more likely you’ll be to get the best deal. Even when it comes to smaller borrowing decisions, are you using credit wisely?
It’s not necessary to spend every second of every day on comparison websites, but regular checks could save you hundreds of pounds a year. Check your energy suppliers monthly or quarterly. Could you be getting a better deal on your broadband? Do you need to be subscribed to more than 1 or 2 streaming services at a time? Putting a little extra time and effort into your regular financial responsibilities will likely pay off in the long run.
Saving can be difficult at the best of times but it’s slightly easier if you have a realistic goal and a financial plan you can stick to. If you need to save thousands of pounds, it can be a daunting target and you might end up procrastinating. Instead, set a goal for each month or each year which breaks down the big target into smaller amounts. For example, if you need to save up £5000, why not aim for £100 a month? It will take a little while, but as you see the £100s add up, you’ll be motivated to save more and more.
Meditation is like money management in that it takes time and practice to get it right. By trying to make little steps daily towards your end goal, you’ll eventually form good habits, and these processes will become a natural part of your day. It might start with just checking your mobile banking app every day to keep an eye on the payments going in and out of your account, so you know exactly where your money is being spent. But it could build up to clever money hacks and strong financial management that you factor into your routine – rather than trying to squeeze it in between other life admin. Mindfulness is also great for your mental health and right now is a good time to start taking care of yourself as well as your finances.
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