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How to practice mindful spending

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Notepaper and math signs. Text, Bank notes. U. S. Bank. A man sits in a bright room.

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If you want to spend less and save more or if you are prone to impulse spending, mindful spending may work for you. It involves being aware of how you think about and act with money.

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Text, How to practice mindful spending.

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Start building these mindful spending habits to cut down on unnecessary purchases and divert more money toward your goals.

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Text, Slow things down. Disable one-click buying. An arrow clicks a red shopping cart button on a computer screen.

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A good place to start practicing mindful spending is to slow down your spending habits. Consider disabling one-click buying if you shop online. The more time and effort it takes, the less likely you'll make impulse purchases.

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Red dollar signs flow up from a credit card. Text, Use cash.

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When possible, use cash.

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A stack of money slides away one bundle at a time, leaving one bundle.

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Try withdrawing only the amount you need before your next shopping trip so it's harder to exceed your budget, and you'll think twice about those impulse purchases.

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A checklist. Text, Make a list.

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Make a list before you shop, and challenge yourself to stick to it.

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Bundles of money fall into an envelope. Text, Set aside guilt-free spending money.

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Once the essentials are covered, set aside a chunk for guilt free spending. Rewarding yourself may help you stay successful in the long run.

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A stack of money with a question mark in the middle. Text, Talk it through.

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Before buying something you don't need, ask yourself, can I afford this? How many work hours will it take to earn that money back? What else could the money be used for? It can also help to find an accountability partner, someone who will motivate you to stay on track.

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Bundles of money on notepad. Text, Financial self-reflection.

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Review your spending regularly. You may be surprised to see where your money is going.

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Three stacks of money with pictures in the middle of bills, a smartphone, and a piggy bank. Text, Review your spending regularly.

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But you can use this knowledge to prioritize.

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Text, Evaluate your long-term goals.

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Finally, evaluate what's important to you and what will bring you more happiness in the long run. Maybe you're eyeing that new smartphone. But if your dream is to get your business off the ground, you'll probably feel better about saving that money instead. Practicing mindfulness can help you invest more in what matters to you most, ultimately bringing you more joy and fulfillment.

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Mindset matters: How to practice mindful spending

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

Tags: Planning, Be prepared, Budgeting, Savings, Goals, COVID-19
Published: July 14, 2020

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. And in this uncertain economy, it’s never been more important to look a little closer at your spending habits. 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 new U.S. Bank mobile app, which features a Money Mentorship component that analyzes spending habits and helps you better understand where your money is going.

 

Disable 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 the “new normal”

Society looks a little different these days, and so does what we’re choosing to spend our money on. You might have some leftover cash you once set aside for dinners out, concert tickets or other social commitments. Calculate how much you spent per month at restaurants and venues, and add it to your savings account so you’re better prepared for unexpected expenses you may run into.

 

Plan for next year

Chances are, you’ve had major events, like weddings and travel plans, pushed back to 2021 due to limitations on social gatherings. 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? Bonus: those extra dollars you’re saving by not going to restaurants and concerts can help fund these events.

 

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: 

  • Can you afford it?
  • How many work hours will it take to earn that money back?
  • 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, schedule an appointment with a banker today.

 

Sources:
1. https://www.bankrate.com/banking/savings/financial-security-february-2019/