Make mindful money choices to reach financial goals

We all understand that managing your money well is crucial to financial success. Honestly, though, making better money choices can be quite stressful at times. Dealing with personal finances shouldn’t be a source of anxiety, since the main aim of achieving financial freedom in the first place is to reduce money-related stress.

If you feel like you’re in over your head when it comes to money management, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with the same issues, but you can make life much easier if you learn how to be mindful and intentional with your money. 

Mindfulness has been a social media trend for some time – mostly as a technique to foster more considerate and cooperative interactions with others. Mindfulness helps you process your emotions, deal with daily setbacks and reconsider your knee-jerk responses, so that you can approach any challenges and frustrations more objectively. However, mindfulness is a habit that you can practise in any area of your life, including your financial planning and money management.


Understanding mindfulness

Mindfulness involves making conscious choices by being present and intentional with how you make decisions. It requires you to take note of your emotions and state of mind, while evaluating how they affect how you react in your daily life. It’s all about being purposeful with your choices and understanding why you are making them.

For instance, if you’re making a financial decision, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Does it align with your financial goals? If not, re-evaluate the choice and perhaps find an alternative that does align with your goals. 

Another key aspect of this mindset shift is understanding the difference between needs and wants. When you focus on satisfying your needs, you’ll reduce how much you spend on your wants. Let’s say you’re tempted to buy a new outfit that’s way beyond your budget. Take a step back and ask yourself why you want it. Is it to impress others, or boost your self-esteem? If so, it will be more productive to work on the underlying reasons behind these feelings. Once you do, you’ll realise that you don’t need to splurge on flashy items to feel good about yourself.

As Deepak Chopra says, ‘Don’t buy things that you don’t need, with money that you haven’t earned, to impress people that you don’t like. That will create stress in your life.’


Does mindfulness really work?

Research has shown that practising mindfulness can help you make better money decisions and in turn pave the way to greater financial freedom. An article published in the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment explored mindfulness in financial literacy. It found that individuals make more deliberate and thoughtful financial decisions when they have increased awareness of their thoughts and emotions surrounding money.

Focus on the ‘why’ behind your wants and make more intentional decisions

The study went on to state that individuals may also be better equipped to make decisions that align with their values and long-term financial goals when they are more conscious of their actions.


Implementing mindfulness in your financial management

Mindful money management will help you to prioritise your financial goals by creating a budget that allows for a balance between your necessary expenses, savings and investments and your self-care and occasional well-deserved luxuries.

You may be asking, ‘How is this going to help me create a budget that will work for me?’ Well, when you become more aware of your money habits and understand why you shop on impulse or where you overindulge, you’ll be able consciously to stop yourself from blowing your budget. By allowing you to pinpoint when you are most likely to make hasty decisions, mindfulness can show you how to reduce your spending and commit to investing in your long-term financial security. 

This practice also allows you to become more self-aware – to notice when you feel anxious or stressed about money and take a step back to reflect on why you feel that way. This can help you identify any unhealthy patterns around money that you can work to change.

The Nedbank Money app has a great MoneyTracker tool to help you track your spending and create a well-rounded budget that best suits your lifestyle and future aspirations.

To access MoneyTracker on the Money app, follow these simple steps:

  • Log in and swipe to your Financial wellness dashboard.

  • Select MoneyTracker.

  • Create a personal, business or side-hustle dashboard.

  • Select the accounts you would like to track.

  • Give your dashboard a name, such as ‘Household expenses’.

  • Start categorising your spending. 


Be present. Be intentional

In a nutshell, practising mindfulness can help you take control of your finances by making more conscious, informed decisions. This awareness can help you avoid unnecessary spending and make more productive money choices. If you’re looking to improve your financial well-being, why not give mindfulness a try? Focus on the ‘why’ behind your wants and make more intentional decisions. It could help you unlock a more secure and prosperous future. 

Nedbank offers a range of saving and investment options, no matter what your budget is or how much you can afford to save, to help you adopt mindful money management and reach your financial goals.