We’ve all heard the phrase ‘money can’t buy happiness’. And yes, it’s probably true. Lots of research has already shown that raking in the big bucks actually has little impact on our long-term happiness. But, what can be said of the opposite— can money make us feel low?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, yes. For many, money means stress. Budgeting, planning for the future, and managing our wallets can leave us feeling a little anxious at times. So, is there a way to fight this funk?
It’s a tough one. And we definitely don’t have all the answers, but here at Yolt we’re all about changing the way you think about money. So, we’ve had a long think about how to create a positive relationship with money, or, as we like to think of it, how to reach money enlightenment!
So, without further ado, have a look through our top zen tips to de-stress about your money…
1. Start talking about it
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the money taboo needs to be tackled! Keeping things on the down low isn’t the way to go when it comes to money worries. Not talking about it only make things worse, and can even lead to negative feelings around the subject.
This doesn’t have to mean divulging your deepest troubles and concerns, but chatting with friends about how they manage their money is often more helpful than we might think.
We checked in with some of our community, and, in a recent poll, 60% said they felt more comfortable talking about money since they started using Yolt! This is great news, and hopefully means more of you are well on your way to money mindfulness.
2. Get yourself the right tools
Even the greatest zen masters still need their tools. From Buddhist scriptures to a meditation mat, pure peace sometimes needs a guiding hand. The same goes for money mindfulness. It’s important to get conscious of your cash, and so any tool that gives you a clear view of your spending is a smart idea – and empowering, too!
From money apps to forums and newsletters, there are lots of existing tools to take your money further. When it comes to finding the right one for you, pick something that you find clear and easy, so it can quickly become a part of your everyday routine. With the right resources, the possibilities are endless!
3. Get informed – knowledge is power!
Getting in the know is one of the first – and most important—steps to money mindfulness. Unfortunately, financial literacy in the U.K. is low. In fact, a 2016 study found that 1/3 of young Brits actively avoid checking their bank balance. This often leaves people lacking confidence when it comes to their money, which can lead to extra worry and sleepless nights. But the reality is, if you want to make positive change, you need to know where you stand first. After all, with knowledge comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes enlightenment!
Start by taking the plunge and committing to checking your bank balance at least once a week. With Yolt, you can easily check your total balance across multiple accounts and credit cards, together in one app.
4. Don’t fall prey to the society blame game
Silence society! There’s this pervasive message in our culture that money equals hard work, lovability, or success. But as we all know, money struggles are highly complex – and not the result of being lazy. There’s definitely nothing to be ashamed of, and, more importantly, no one is alone. If you’re stressed about money, the chances are you’re actually an average person! A study of 27,000 people around the globe found that money is the world’s number one cause of stress. Unfortunately, anxiety and shame stop many people from getting the help they need or just confronting their money matters as a whole. So, if we can shake off the stigma, money enlightenment awaits!
5. Get intimate – and share your money knowledge with the people who matter most
Now you’re in the know, take it to the next level. Simonne Gnessen, financial coach and co-author of “Sheconomics”, advises: “First of all, be intimate with yourself around money, know what’s coming in and going out … And then share that financial intimacy.” If we open up to friends and family, and even get tips from them on how they manage their money, the taboo around the topic will begin to break. It’s also very likely that your nearest and dearest have the same woes – together, we can support each other and lift each other up. It’s been said that money’s a bigger taboo, than sex, politics, and religion. So, like we said in tip #1, get your chat on!
6. Make a routine you can stick to
With structure comes a sense of security. Financial therapist, Amanda Clayman, advises setting up regular slots in your day for checking in on your money – just like you do with brushing your teeth or practising a hobby.
Most of us only think about money when there’s a problem, and so it becomes associated with those negative thoughts, even before you’ve seen your balance. By building money into your daily routine, you can decouple money from stress. So, check in everyday, even if you’re feeling fine. And hey, seeing that you’re on track with your budgets might start to create that feel-good buzz of a positive relationship with your money.
In the same way, the word ‘budget’ doesn’t have to be a negative. It’s often associated with targets, and the possibility of missing them. But, if you associate it with your goals and what you’re aiming for, it can transform into something exciting – something you can really get behind!
Meditation studies professor, Lodro Rinzler, suggests that the morning is the best time to check in! The mind “has a certain freshness to it in the morning, says Rinzler, but “the best time of day to do it is the time of day you can consistently do it.” When you've first woken up, you haven't set a spending pattern for the day yet, so you can focus on your long-term money goals.
7. Check yourself before you check your bank balance
You can’t start fresh before understanding and forgiving your past behaviour. To do that, it’s time to get personal with your money fears and ask some of the big questions. Why don’t I want to check in with my money? What am I really afraid of? By answering these questions, you can uncover the link between money and negative thoughts.
Once you’ve asked some of the tough questions, try flipping it and ask yourself what positive outcomes could come from mastering your money. What are the best experiences money’s given me? What is my money goal, and which small wins can get me there faster?
8. Know the signs and stop them in their tracks
From online shopping to boutique hopping, impulse buying is more than just about the purchase. A lot of the time, it’s about getting that kick of dopamine, that quick rush at the click of a button or the tap of your card. Sure, this feeling is great for a speedy de-stress, but in the long-run it won’t leave you feeling zen.
So, how can we spot the signs of an impulse buy versus a genuine need? It’s a tricky one! Like tip 7, it’s always best to question yourself first. Ask yourself if you’re spending out of habit or with intention, and importantly, if the buy will bring you joy!
So, how do we get out of the funk of spending equals de-stressing? Try writing down what you were going to purchase, and then wait a day or two. Ask yourself: Do I actually want this thing, or was it all for the rush? Would I rather this item now or would I prefer putting it towards that trip I’ve been planning? By delaying the purchase, you’re able to re-approach it with a clear mind.
Basically, it’s about being mindful with your money. Give it a second thought, and if you still want it, then go for it.
9. Visualise your goals
Research shows that visualising your goals and seeing things clearly is a top way to get there quicker. Just like writing a list, you’re more likely to tick things off! So, don’t just imagine your money goals, allow yourself to really see them. Whether that’s writing them down in a diary, creating a mood board of your money dreams and goals, or using a money app, like Yolt, keeping an eye on your money and keeping your eye on the prize come hand in hand.
So, while we know money mindfulness might seem miles away, we hope you feel one step closer to enlightenment!
Got top tips to share on how to stay mindful with your money? Join the conversation on Twitter at @Getyolt!