Taking time to be mindful and reflect can be a great personal practice. But how to reflect on your own personal finances without self-judgment or shame? Enter – Mindful Money Week.
What is Mindful Money Week?
Every day for a week, we would post and share prompts to have people think about their money a little bit more. The prompts are never about judgment but are conversation starters. It turned into a great way to connect with people and talk more about money.
Mindful Money – Daily Prompts
Every day Mindful Money Week had a unique prompt. Both Mrs. Miller and I would post about that day’s prompt and then share posts from others within our Instagram stories throughout the day.
For the past 2 years, we have kept the same daily prompts, but we have plans to change them up in the future.
Here are the daily prompts that we have been using for the past 2 years. And if you’re curious to see other people’s answers check out #mindfulmoneyweek on Instagram.
Monday – What’s In Your Wallet?
The focus of Monday was to get the ball rolling. Readers looked into their wallets to see what they carried around. Were they cash or card carriers? What other things did they carry around in their wallets?
Personally, I’m a card carrier. I have a tiny wallet that my mom made for me from recycled materials she had. I carry my credit cards, debit card (although rarely, if ever use it), as well as some loyalty cards that I don’t have saved on my phone. I also have my healthcare card, benefits cards, and usually a little bit of cash. There is also a front pocket that holds some change. This is where I keep the change I often need for shopping carts.
Tuesday – Today’s Money
Tuesday was all about being aware of how much money you spend in a day. It doesn’t matter how much you spend, just that you are more aware and therefore mindful of your spending.
I usually wouldn’t spend much money on a regular Tuesday. But the first Tuesday of the month is 15% off at one of the local grocery stores. We used to buy the majority of our groceries on this day. That is until we realized that other stores had better prices even on non-sale days. Grocery stores can be sneaky.
But we still do a bit of shopping on 15% Tuesday because that particular store has some of the best goat cheese selections. So we make sure to spend the minimum amount required to get our 15% off. And no, we don’t spend $50 on just cheese.
Wednesday – No Spend
Wednesday’s theme is always one of my favourites – what would you never spend money on? The first time we did Mindful Money Week, I thought this would be easy. But then someone asked the question, “what if you were all of a sudden a millionaire or billionaire? Would you still not spend money on this item”?
This took being mindful of your money to a whole new level. It brings in thinking about what you value. Are you not spending money on something because you don’t have the money to spend on it? Or are you not spending money on something because you don’t value it?
I can honestly say that I will never spend money on a big themed-birthday party for my little one before the age of 3 (maybe even longer). Those types of birthday parties are just not important to me. And parties for little ones under the age of 3 are really for the parents, family, and friends.
I have nothing against big themed-birthday parties and have been to many. They are just something I would never spend money on for my little one.
Thursday – Wallet Weakness
We all have a wallet weakness – something we spend money on that we wish we wouldn’t. And it’s okay to have a wallet weakness as long as it’s not causing you to go into debt.
My wallet weakness is the grocery store. No matter how hard I try to stick to my list, I always end up picking up more things than I’ve written down. Sometimes we do need those extra items. And sometimes we already have multiples of them at home.
One way this pandemic has helped me deal with my wallet weakness is to send hubby to do the grocery shopping. He is very good at sticking to a grocery list.
Friday – Totally Worth It
Friday’s prompt relates to something that you’ve recently spent money on that was totally worth the cost.
Over the past couple of years, we have started to hire out the maintenance and cleaning for our rental properties. In the beginning, we tried to do everything ourselves, and that just became more of a burden as our family grew.
This was very apparent recently when I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the floors of one of our rentals. I would much rather have been spending that time with my little one. And although paying a cleaner is totally worth it to me, this circumstance was somewhat unique, and we just didn’t have time to get someone else in there to clean.
Saturday – Self Love
Saturday is about spending your money (or time) on something you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money but should be on something for you.
I will admit, I always struggle with this. Spending money on myself has never been comfortable as I’ve always favored saving that money instead.
But I’m learning.
This year I bought myself my favourite chocolate bar (that really isn’t a chocolate bar) as a treat. It wasn’t much, but it was something.
Sunday – Random Act of Kindness
Another favourite prompt is Sunday’s Random Act of Kindness – what can you do today for someone else?
I still remember Court from Modern FImily’s random act of kindness from last year. They took some coins and scattered them on the trails near their home. And then sat back (hidden) and watched as people walked by and picked them up—such a fun idea.
Why Was This Year Different?
This year’s Mindful Money Week was very different than last year’s. Last year it was new and exciting. It also happened just before everything went sideways with the pandemic.
And although this year should have been a bit easier because we had done it before, like everything this past year living in a pandemic, Mindful Money Week felt that much harder. It also was a definitive marker for me. We have now been living in a global pandemic for over a year.
Throughout this pandemic, I’ve got to a point where social media isn’t really that fun at times. I still enjoy interacting with people I “know” online and through various social media platforms. But I never have the urge to share about my day-to-day.
And I also find the phoniness some people portray to be exhausting and completely against what I stand for. It makes me question the authenticity of many social media accounts. Don’t get me wrong there are lots of great people sharing lots of great things. But those few that aren’t authentic turn me off.
How to be More Mindful Of Your Money
We started Mindful Money Week as a way to help get people comfortable talking about money. Being more mindful of your personal finances can be a life-changer. I know that I have benefitted from taking the time to really think and reflect upon my spending and saving habits.
So here are 5 actionable steps you can do to start (or continue) being more mindful of your money. Remember, nobody cares more about your money than you do.
Talk About Money
I am a firm believer that money should not be a taboo subject. We should talk more openly about money with our family and friends. Doing so would be a catalyst for us to be more mindful of our money habits.
Not talking about money makes it seem like a bad thing, something to avoid. You don’t need to reveal all of your personal details to chat with someone about money.
Sometimes it can feel more comfortable talking with a stranger than your family and friends. If this is the case, reach out to bloggers you follow or money accounts you enjoy on social media. Ask questions, leave comments. Just get the conversation started.
Or start with your partner or loved ones. Have a conversation about your money goals, both short and long-term.
One of my favourite money conversations starters goes something like this:
- If you had an extra $10 that you had to spend and couldn’t save, what would you spend it on?
- What if you had an extra $100?
It might amaze you to hear how people will answer these questions. And their answers can tell you a lot about what’s important to them. Or what they think is important to them if they have never given it any thought.
Join a Money Accountability Group
Do you ever find that you’re more likely to work out when you do it with someone else? The same can be true with your money. You’re more likely to be mindful of your money when doing so with someone else.
Working with an accountability partner or group can be very motivating. And can provide you a space to talk about money and really be mindful of your personal finances.
Creating a money accountability group is one of my current projects. If you’re interested in joining, feel free to reach out.
Reflect On Your Answers to the Prompts
Maybe you want to be more mindful of your money but are not sure where to start? Starting can be as easy as reflecting on your answers to the Mindful Money Week prompts. You don’t have to share your answers with anyone if you don’t want to.
But if you feel comfortable sharing, why not use the prompts as a conversation starter with friends?
Track and Analyze Your Spending
Tracking your expenses is one of the easiest first steps you can take when trying to control your finances.
But to be more mindful with your money, you will want to take it one step further and not only track your expenses but analyze them. You can do that by signing up for your free Expense Tracking Workbook right here. The workbook not only provides you a place to track your expenses but also walks you through how to analyze them to be more mindful of your money.
And finally, create space between the desire to purchase and the act of purchasing. Instead of automatically making that purchase or logging into your online shopping account, try waiting for 24-hours, or better yet, 30-days.
The more space you can create between wanting to purchase something and actually buying it, the more time you have to reflect on the purchase. By avoiding impulse purchases you start to be more mindful of your money.
If you’re a credit card spender like me, one way to pause is to write the word “pause” on a post-it and stick it to your credit card. That way, every time you pull out your credit card, you will have a reminder to pause, even if just for a few seconds.
A lot has changed in the world since the first Mindful Money Week. But one thing that has become more apparent is the need to be more mindful of our money.
Although this year’s Mindful Money Week was a struggle for me, it wasn’t because of the concept. I believe in the power of mindfulness, especially when it comes to personal finance. But sometimes, when there are so many other external factors at play, it can be difficult.
So let’s give ourselves some grace and use Mindful Money Week as a reminder that we can all benefit from being a little more mindful of our money.