Using Mindfulness to Save Money | Libby Shively McAvoy

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Photo byEnvato Elements Purchased Image License 2YCT43QU6Z“Poor is a state of mind. Broke is a place you’re just passing through.” ~ Dave RamseyFinancial Pains Cause StressMany of us panic and have high-stress levels when we experience unexpected financial strains. It is mind-blowing to me how many people need more common sense regarding financial management. Our school systems need to teach economics and learn to budget. Financial planning and management are valuable life skills that can save heartache and reduce stress.“The long-term effect of living in survival mode is that we begin to thrive on — and become addicted to — these stress chemicals.” ~Joe DispenseI can say these things because my ex-husband recently cut my alimony in half. He tried to terminate it entirely, but my lawyer saved me from that. So, I have had to look for ways to reduce my spending and increase my income.I have significantly reduced my electric bill by keeping my heat turned down, and the lights turned out unless I need them. I also plan my weekly meals to utilize the ingredients I purchase. I should have been doing these things all along, but sometimes it takes an emergency to force us into improved habits.Perhaps your income was not reduced, but you feel financial stress from overspending during the holidays. We can all benefit from examining our profits and loss and planning accordingly.“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” ~ Warren BuffetTips for Reducing Living CostsCreate a budget and stick with it. Include bills, but also a reasonable social budget.Cook at home and avoid going out except once a week socially.Avoid driving more than necessary to save on gas.Plan your meals and grocery list for the week.Stop buying things that are not necessities.Use less water and electricity.Sell items you do not need.Stop living beyond your means. People in every income bracket do it. I watched a friend declare bankruptcy after living the illusion that he had more money. He drove a Mercedes, lived in a huge home, and had all the fancy stuff, but ultimately, he lost it all.When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get GoingIn situations where your income is reduced, like, in my case, spousal support cut in half or losing a job, it is essential not to spiral downward in a sea of stress.Look at your income and your spending. Make a list of all your expenses. From there, decide where you can reduce spending to save money. If you are married or living with someone, communicate and share the budgeting plan. Transparency is essential.You will have peace of mind by simply taking action. You may need to find a second source of income, particularly if you have debt or do not own a home.“Earning a lot of money is not the key to prosperity. How you handle it is.” ~ Dave RamseySecond Source of IncomeIt is imperative you do not sacrifice following your purpose. Instead, add a flexible side hustle that you still enjoy. For example, you must prioritize your spending if you make six figures but still have debt. You may also need a second job, but working retail or waiting tables will likely never replace your six-figure income. So, rather than give up your career, choose to supplement your income temporarily.I have reduced my cost of living, but I also work a third job in addition to writing and coaching. I drive Uber Eats from time to time. The extra income allows me to continue traveling and eating at excellent establishments. Travel and food ignite my soul; it is worth the hard work. Where there is a will, there is a way.“You can’t get out of debt while keeping the same lifestyle that got you there. Cut out everything except the basics.” ~ Dave RamseyConclusionWhen income is reduced, do not give up on the vision of all you desire. These challenges in life are going to make us stronger and more creative. It forces us to look at our priorities. Learning to reduce spending is a good practice. Most of us purchase things we never need to begin with.Reduce spendingIncrease incomeFind activities you enjoy that do not cost moneyMany things, such as hiking, yoga at home, art, visiting a park, dancing, and meditation, are enjoyable and will reduce your life’s stress. You will be amazed at how much you can save by being mindful. Not how much you earn creates wealth, but your spending habits will drain you financially.Thank you for reading this. I wish you all a prosperous 2023.Peace & Light,Libby

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