Spending Your Money Consciously

Today, I’m happy to provide you with a post from the great Canadian shopping community, Bargainmoose.ca. Written by Clare, an author who writes about money-saving advice, this article is about consciously spending money in order to save over the long term.  Bargainmoose features loads of money-saving advice, including shopping deals, discount codes and Canadian freebies.

How to Live your Life by Spending your Money Consciously

In the hustle and bustle of life, we don’t often think about exactly how we are spending our money.  We may forget that the non-fat Starbucks latté we bought is $3.50 today, but it adds up to $70 per month, or $840 per year.  We don’t consciously think that the $10 lunches we pay for Monday to Friday, may add up to $200 per month or $2400 per year.

Conscious spending means that you spend money in accordance and in alignment with your own personal values and principles.

What are you goals?  What are your dreams?

It may be that you want to take a trip to Cuba but can never find the money to.  Or it may be that you’ve always been wanting to go on a road trip across Canada.  Or even that you have been coveting those expensive high heeled shoes with the red sole that everyone talks about and also covet (aka Christian Louboutins 😉 ).

Do you value your Starbucks latté?  Do you value your $10 lunches?

If not, that’s okay.  We are all guilty of unconscious spending.  Here are five steps to take to change your automatic unconscious spending to conscious spending where you feel good about where your money is spent.

1. Write down your Goals: The first step in switching from routine and automatic spending to conscious spending is to write down your goals.  You may already know your goals, or you may already daydream about them on a daily basis, but writing them down solidifies your dream and announces to the universe that this is what you want (the Secret to the power of positive thinking of course).

2. Track your Expenses: The second step is to write down what you spend on everything (yes, down to the last nickel – since we’re getting rid of our pennies) for an entire month.  This activity will force you to consciously look at where you spend your money.  It can be a very surprising exercise to do and you will learn a lot about yourself.

3. Look at your Budget: The next necessary step is to look at your budget.  Look at your essentials, and evaluate things you spend money on a month to month basis that you don’t really value.

4. Go for your Goal: Begin by automatically deducting money towards your goal.  I set up a $100 deduction from my bank account towards my travel fund.  My passion is traveling and as I get closer to my goal, I smile inside because I know that when I do travel, it will be worth the delayed gratification it took to achieve it.

5. Be Grateful:  Finally, Yahoo recommends that you regularly practice gratitude and be thankful for how far you’ve come, how close you are to achieving your goal, and how close you are to making your goal a reality.

Readers, what other steps do you take to spend consciously?

Thanks to Clare for this article.  I like the fact Clare is not saying to give up the small things in life, rather, she is an advocate for ensuring your spending habits align with your financial values.  Sticking to your values, personal finance or otherwise, seems like a pretty good message to me.

My name is Mark Seed and I'm the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, we're inching closer to our ultimate goal - owning a 7-figure investment portfolio for semi-retirement. We're almost there! Subscribe, join the journey to learn how I'm getting there and how you can get there too! Follow my on Twitter @myownadvisor.

4 Responses to "Spending Your Money Consciously"

  1. I know I have been guilty of not spending money consciously. For me I had to shift my focus to thinking long term to eliminate a lot of that spending. With those long term goals in mind I now think twice about where I spend money. Calculating how much the regular purchases add up to can help a lot too.

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  2. My spreadsheet where i started really tracking my finances is over 2 years old. One of the best parts about it is getting to look back later and see just how much progress you’ve made. In the present it might seem that you haven’t done the best you can or are slacking but when you can go and see the changes it really hits home and can give you more focus and determination to stick with it.

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