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Want to save and spend smarter? Give mindfulness a try.

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Have you noticed that mindfulness seems to be everywhere lately? Whether you want to relieve stress, improve your memory, manage pain or change a bad habit, mindfulness is a common go-to. And it’s no surprise since there’s plenty of research to back up claims that it works.

But here’s one area you might not have considered applying mindfulness to: managing your money.

Although we don’t have a specific research study to back us up, it makes sense that mindfulness can make a difference. After all, if you slow down and pay attention to your attitudes about money and your patterns around how you save and spend it, you’re almost certain to do a better job managing it.

Just what is mindfulness? There are probably as many definitions as there are people talking about this topic, but they typically boil down to something along these lines: being in the present, not distracted by your thoughts or environment and keeping an open mind.

Here’s how you can bring mindfulness to your finances.

  1. Be aware of your relationship with money.

    Do you feel elated, neutral or anxious when it comes to spending and saving money? Don’t think of these feelings as “good” or “bad,” just be aware of them and how they might affect your choices.

  2. Weigh your money habits against your financial goals.

    Think about your choices regarding money and how they take you closer to your financial goals—or stand in your way. When you’re down do you automatically buy yourself a little something? Do you put everything on a credit card—and feel shocked when the bill comes?

  3. Be more present about your financial choices.

    You decide to splurge on that cappuccino you’ve been daydreaming about all week. But do you savor the treat—or mindlessly gulp it down? You get a library DVD and make pasta at home instead of dropping $50 on a Friday pizza and movie so you can save for a vacation. But do you feel excited about your future plans or crabby about staying home? Think about what’s important to you, then own and celebrate the financial choices you’re taking to get there.  

  4. Don’t go at it alone.

    Looking for help analyzing your spending and saving options and finding the ones that are the best fit for you and your family? Summit Credit Union is a great place to start. Count on our Financial Advisors to help you come up with a plan that works for you and your family.

  5. Stay on the course.

    Changing how you deal with money can be hard work and sometimes it’s even kind of painful! There are going to be days when the long-term choice isn’t much fun. And times when you make decisions you’d like to take back. Be realistic about the challenges, forgive yourself when you make mistakes and re-commit to being more mindful going forward. Write things down and be accountable to someone else—great ways to stay on track. And, as always, connect with the people at Summit. We’re in it for the long haul and want to help you own your financial future.