I have tried and failed at starting a meditation practice—multiple times.
I would tell myself I simply didn’t have the time when, in truth, I just didn’t feel motivated. All those healthy effects of meditation sounded wonderful, but I was feeling pretty okay, so why sit still on a cushion every morning?
If you are like me (read: a perfectly normal human being), you may have experienced something similar if you have (or have tried) a regular meditation practice.
I needed to find a better reason to motivate myself.
Since I did resonate with the idea of being more mindful, I started looking for other ways of at least practicing this. I learned from Thích Nhất Hạnh that we can bring mindfulness into every moment of our day and become mindful about every little thing we do, say, and think. Everything done with mindfulness receives more focused attention and will have a stronger effect, a better result.
Whoa, that is even more work than sitting on a cushion for 20 minutes, I hear you think. Yes, it is. But, it is a great practice, and it comes with a surprise…
The list of scientifically proven effects of mindfulness meditation is endless, but there is one mundane side-effect that I’ve never seen mentioned:
By being mindful, we can really save a lot of money.
Money we can use to fulfil one of our dreams: a long trip, a regular spa-day, a (meditation) retreat, training with a teacher we admire, or a special gift for a good friend.
Now, we have a great motivator for mindfulness in place, so let’s start practicing it.
Here are 8 ways in which mindfulness can help us save money:
>> Be mindful of the way we use things. Careful! By taking proper care of things, cleaning them, putting them away, and repairing them in time, we can extend the lifetime of a lot of our possessions, including household appliances, clothes, and shoes. Make those small repairs when they are needed. Big repairs are expensive, and replacements even more so.
>> Be mindful of where we put things. Not losing things is another simple mindful way of saving money. When we mind where we leave our pen, our reading glasses, and lipstick, we don’t need a pair in every room and one in every handbag we own. If we remember what we put in the bottom drawer, we may not have to buy that item again because we cannot find it.
>> Be mindful of our shopping. If we first take inventory of our fridges, pantries, or wardrobes to see what we still have and make shopping lists of what we need, we can then go and buy just that. Our fridges won’t be full of produce we have to toss at the end of the week, and our wardrobes won’t be full of clothes we didn’t wear the whole season. In our mindfulness, we are not only saving money, we are also wasting less resources.
>> Be mindful of how we spend our money. When it comes to actually making a purchase, buying the cheapest item might seem like a penny-saver at the time, but most likely, the item is cheap because it is of low quality (and probably high cost in terms of cheap, unsustainable, unethical labour or processes) and probably won’t last very long. Carefully choosing quality products, and looking at their durability and repairability might seem expensive at first, but usually turns out to be a huge money-saver in the long run. It is also lower on waste and kinder to the planet, and each other.
>> Be mindful when we eat. If we eat slowly and with attention, not only will our food taste better and our digestive systems be grateful, we will also actually notice when we are full, and thus not overeat. Eat less, spend less, both at home and eating out.
>> Be mindful with our bodies. The more attention we pay to the real needs of our bodies in terms of nutrition, exercise and rest, the healthier we will be and the less often we will have to go to the doctor or specialist. And we all know that medical bills are always high. By making mindful, healthy choices, we can save a lot on health care costs.
>> Be mindful of our electricity use. This is good for the environment and for our wallets. Turning off lights in unused rooms; unplugging chargers when not in use; running our dishwashers, washing machines, or dryers only when fully loaded; setting our air conditioners just a little lower. Being mindful of all these things can save a pretty penny.
>> Be mindful about our location. When we want or need to move house, we can look at the location in relation to shops, school, work, yoga studios/gyms, and other places we visit regularly. Will it be necessary to drive everywhere, or can we find a location within biking/walking distance? Or the other way around: when having to choose a school/gym/job, can we consider the distance to be a deal-breaker, and opt for a close-by location?
The beauty of this mindfulness practice is that, even when we do it just for the money to begin with, in the end it has a much bigger effect, because it will spread to other thoughts and actions that have nothing to do with our original mundane motivation.
Eventually, our well-being will benefit, as will our human and natural environments.
So let’s set our saving goal and start being mindful to make it happen! Before we know it we will have a mindfulness habit—and then we can try meditating again.
Author: Leontien Reedijk
Image: Vadim Sherbakov/Unsplash
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Sara Kärpänen