Better money habits that have nothing to do with money
Author: Karen Banes
Some daily habits, that technically have nothing to do with money, can hugely improve your relationship with it. And most of them will enhance your life in other ways too.
This is one of the most commonly recommended pieces of advice from money mindset gurus, but it's not as easy as it sounds. Being grateful for what you have is hard when what you have isn't much. I started with being grateful every time I paid a bill, because I could. I may have been the kind of 'broke' that means I can't afford luxuries, but I've never (quite) been the kind of broke that means I can't pay my utility bills. That's something to be grateful for, in my opinion.
Sometimes, you have to just accept the pain along with the pleasure, when it comes to finances, as with everything else. Learning to be comfortable with where you are now, and knowing "this too shall pass" is sometimes the best we can do. There's a reason that marriage vows assume that over the course of a lifetime we will almost inevitably experience both 'richer' and 'poorer'. Unless we're born into extreme wealth, most of us are going to have periods of abundance and periods of lack. Accepting both with a certain degree of stoicism can help.
Finding My Tribe
There's evidence that your spending patterns are influenced by the friends you keep, and I've seen how that works in practice. I spend less now I've found my true tribe: a group of friends who have values based on things other than money. That doesn't mean they are all cheapskates or that we never go out and have fun. It just means that extravagance, and spending money for the sake of it, simply isn't something that is valued in our friendship group. Find yourself a tribe like that, and you'll invariably spend less time focused on money, and more time focused on other things.
Many of our buying decisions are made online now, and statistics suggest that over 70% of purchase decisions involve some social media influence. That's a lot of money spent on things that you might never have considered had you been out in the real world just living your life. For many of us limiting social media consumption equals limiting consumption in general.
It took me around 40 years to realize I don't like shopping. I don't like malls, big department stores, or the shopping areas of crowded city centers. In fact, I don't like crowds at all. I've always scoffed a little at the idea that the best things in life are free. Mostly, they're not, but surprisingly, I've come to realize that a lot of the things I absolutely love doing really are free, or very low cost.
Minimalist living means different things to different people, and there's no need to take it any further than you want to. Adopting a more minimalist approach, however, can save you a lot of money. I've applied minimalism not just to my possessions, but also to my social life, leisure activities, general commitments, and my beauty routine. Whenever you 'minimalize' an aspect of your life, you tend to save money, as well as time and energy, that you can often put to better use elsewhere.
We are not what we have, no matter how strongly society, and big business, try to convince us we are. We are who we are, what we do, how much we learn, and how we behave. Working on improving who I am, not what I have, has changed my focus, stopped my impulse spending, improved my life, and boosted my finances.
What habits have changed your money mindset? And what else did they change?
About the Author
I'm a freelance writer specializing in online business, personal finance, travel and lifestyle. I also work as a content creator for hire, helping brands and businesses tell their stories, grow their audiences, and reach their ideal customers. I've lived, worked and studied in six countries, across three continents.