Money matters: Changing your mindset and spending habits


Spending habits, attitudes towards money and financial personalities significantly impact our financial future. PHOTO | POOL

Question: How can I change my money mindset? How can I change the emotional triggers for budget-breaking spending habits?

Don’t we all wish financial literacy was something we learnt in school? How we view money is a journey that most if not all of us, unfortunately, stumble through, unless you have a mentor that guides you.

The sad reality is that most of us start really learning about savings a lot later than we should, I mean we are all told saving is good and something that we should do but we never really grasp the impact that this has on our future until we are in our mid to late 20s and that’s if we are lucky most of the time it’s when we are in our 30s.

Fortunately, this can be fixed and it is never too late to change your money mindset, although there are a few prerequisites:

First is a can-do attitude — just like with everything else in life you need to believe that your mindset can and will change but it is going to require self-discipline, budgeting, accountability, sacrifice, and living below your means I could go on and on but you get it, it will take work, time and a sprinkle of grace for when you mess up because you probably will.

I say a sprinkle because you don’t want to be too liberal with the grace that its sets you too far back from your goal.

Your view of money also needs to change. For example, if you have a scarcity mentality you need to flip that to an abundance mentality.

All these things have become easier to do, especially with the vast resources we have now, whether through a life coach, online platforms, books, financial literacy classes and consulting friends and family that can nudge you in the right direction.

How can I change the emotional triggers for budget-breaking spending habits?

Emotions are a very common culprit of ruined budgets, and we have all fallen victim to emotional spending at one point.

Triggers vary from person to person, for example, a bad day could lead to one of the biggest culprit retail therapy, which is supposed to help you feel better but that’s not always the case, on the flip side there is a need to reward yourself for achievement.

This need to spend unnecessarily as a reaction to emotions can be changed, through proper budgeting where you do not only factor in utilities, investments, savings, pension, debt repayment, and all the other important avenues your money needs to be channelled, to ensure financial success.

You should also factor in money for entertainment, vacation and purchases that you want to make be it household or personal, that way you get to reward yourself for all your achievements with a vacation or a purchase that is planned for instead of buying your tenth handbag while there are some in your closet that you haven’t made use of or purchasing your fifth watch just to add to the collection.

Planned purchases are more thought through and mean so much more once you finally acquire what you want.

Another trigger is sales and while they are good for your wallet when they are not sales scams, they still need to be planned for.

Very often we see sales signs and we buy things that we don’t need or something that we do need but that purchase takes money out of our savings for the month, and we rationalise the purchases as “I could not leave it because it was a really good price”.

The truth is there will always be another sale probably with even better prices, so next time be patient and just wait to accumulate the needed amount.

All the best as you break bad habits and propel yourself toward financial freedom.

Marangu, is a financial trainer and consultant on insurance solutions at Zamara.

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