Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mindfulness and Savings

A friend of this blog has suggested what he has found to be an interesting and effective way to save money. Before making a purchase, large or small, stop; examine your thoughts, feelings, your bodily sensations, and the environment that surrounds you. Even if you only spend a moment or two before you actually make the purchase (or choose not to make that purchase) you are learning the art of mindfulness.

Learning how to manage money or any aspect of our life begins when we wake up. It is so easy to drift through life in a deluded slumber. There is so much to do, so much to distract us from what we really want, health; love; joy; peace. Look at the ebb and flow of your treasures, money, time, and emotional energy as you journey through this vale of tears. Does your use of money really contribute to the important goals in your life? Are your purchases really providing satisfaction and fulfillment equal to the hours of your life that they represent?

Your money is nothing more than a measure of how you use the energy of life. If your use of money is in harmony with your values you will be at peace. If you continue on a path of peace you will find freedom.

Become aware of your money. Watch it mindfully as you earn it, as you use it.

If that five dollar latte is thoughtless part of your morning ritual, perhaps you can fulfill your need for caffeine with a thermos of coffee brewed at home. Even if you are buying a super premium blend of organic coffee that costs $15.00 a pound, a cup will cost 50 cents or less.

If at the end of a difficult day you have to return home to three children under the age of seven and a wife who breeds Chihuahuas, an after work latte savored while reading a magazine, as you listen to massage music at your local coffee shop may be the only thing standing between you and the psychiatrist’s couch.

My friend then suggests, if you opt not to buy an item, transfer that money to savings. After all, you were prepared to part with that money just moments before. Really it is no different than a child saving his allowance in a piggy bank for a desirable video game rather than spending it in the present moment on a Coke and a candy bar. The money is still yours. You still possess it, but now you have the gift of an entirely new set of options. Perhaps you want to take your girlfriend out to an expensive restaurant. Perhaps you want to save for a better car. Perhaps you may wish to kick it up from savings to another level, investing it in shares of stock that will pay you dividends for the rest of your life.

Stop, if only for a moment, before making a purchase. Look mindfully at that choice. Listen to your heart.

Then follow the path that leads to freedom.

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