Mindset Matters: How to practice mindful spending

January 16, 2024

No matter where you’re at in your financial journey, anyone can benefit from practicing mindful spending habits. Try these eight tips to help you curb impulse buys and unnecessary purchases.

From one-click online shopping to mobile wallets, paying for goods and services has never been easier. Unfortunately, the conveniences we love can also lead to an "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" mentality when it comes to money management. The good news is with a little mindfulness (you know, the same approach you take with your eating and self-care regime), you can stay on-track with your spending and budgeting habits and help prepare yourself for the future.

 

Track your spending

Make a habit of reviewing all your transactions on a regular basis (weekly, monthly – whatever works best for you). This will allow you to monitor where you’re overspending so you can make adjustments – those takeout orders add up! For some assistance with this task, download the U.S. Bank Mobile App, which can help you analyze your spending habits and better understand where your money is going.

 

One-click buying

Some online retailers implemented one-click buying to combat shopping-cart abandonment. In doing so, these companies also made impulse buying way too convenient by allowing purchases with the click of a button. Remove the temptation to tap by deactivating one-click purchasing in your account settings. And if you’re prone to phone shopping, delete any offending apps altogether.

 

Use cash

Thanks to credit and debit cards – and digital payment platforms like Apple Pay and Google Pay – cash isn’t always king. In fact, a recent U.S. Bank Cash Behavior Study found that 50 percent of survey respondents carry cash less than half the time. Buck the trend and stop at an ATM before your next shopping trip. By withdrawing only what you need, you’ll be less likely to overspend. If you can leave your debit and credit cards at home, that’s even better.

 

Adjust your budget for your current lifestyle

As we move into different life stages, so does what we’re choosing to spend our money on. Your budgetary needs are likely going to be very different when you're a single person compared to someone who is married with kids, for example. Renting comes with different expenses than owning a home. So as your lifestyle changes over time, be sure to reassess your budget to make sure it's still relevant.  

Plan for next year

Take a look at your calendar as you build your annual budget—are there any large expenses that you need to plan for? How far in advance do you want to start saving? 

 

Designate guilt-free spending money

Mindful spending doesn’t mean depriving yourself of all “fun” purchases – you work hard for that money, after all. Set aside a chunk, after bills and other mandatory expenses, that can be used for whatever you’d like. It may be helpful to open a separate checking account to better compartmentalize guilt-free spending money from your savings.

 

Pause before purchasing

You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “sleep on it” before making a big decision. The same advice can be applied to significant purchases. Rather than handing over your credit card in the heat of the moment, step back for a couple days to really think about the purchase. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can you afford it? 
  2. How many work hours will it take to earn that money back?
  3. What else could the money be used for?


In the end, maybe the purchase is still worth it, or perhaps you’ll realize you don’t need it after all.

 

Find an accountability partner

Whether it’s a spouse, best friend or sibling, identify a person you trust to discuss your financial wellness journey. Simply sharing your goal of practicing mindful spending habits may help keep you on track. It’ll also give you someone to call to dissuade you from unnecessary purchases.

 

Evaluate what’s important to you

Purchasing that new TV or the latest smartphone may give you an instant dose of gratification, but will it contribute to your happiness in the long run? If the answer is no, that money could probably be spent, or saved, more wisely elsewhere. To curb unnecessary spending, think about what is important to you, such as saving for a house or paying off debt or saving for a trip a few years down the line.

 

If you need help with your mindful spending practices, our goals coaches are ready to help.

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