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Could Mindfulness be Key to Control Over Spending?

Are you spending too much? For many Americans, the answer is, "Yes." The reasons are varied - lack of a budget or a desire to maintain appearances. Some financial advisers point to your emotional state as the key catalyst for spending habits.

With the holidays fast around the corner, it’s an excellent time to get ahead of your spending to allocate money towards your holiday purchases. Here’s a quick how-to guide to get you going:

Plan.

It’s not always the big or unexpected expenses that put you in debt. More likely, it’s “death by a thousand tiny cuts” eating your income. So, start by tracking your spending with a notebook or online app, shop with a list, consider using only cash for a couple of months, and set up automatic monthly deductions from your share draft/checking account into a dedicated savings fund.

Be mindful.

Pay attention to why you’re spending. Maybe you’re trying to keep pace with friends, or spending makes you feel better temporarily. Regardless, when you feel compelled to buy something you possibly don’t need, wait 24 hours and consider why you’re buying it. Ask yourself, “How will I feel when the credit card bill comes?”

Set limits. 

Be clear about which items or experiences you absolutely must have and decide in advance how much you’ll spend on them each month. Before buying big-ticket items, set aside a small amount from each paycheck until you can afford to buy it. Remember, there are many things you can enjoy in your life that cost little or nothing - talking to friends, having a family game night, walking in a favorite public park.