Mindful spending: 5 techniques to help you save money in 2024

Woman in her twenties contemplating spending or saving money

With so many easy ways to shop online and instore with digital technologies like Afterpay, tap and go and credit cards, it can be pretty easy to thoughtlessly spend money. 

But as the cost of living crunch continues, more and more Australians are embracing a mindful approach to their spending. In fact, according to the American Express 2024 Trendex Report, 43% of Australians are setting personal finance resolutions in 2024. Almost three quarters (72%) of Australians setting personal finance goals plan to grow their savings this year, 51% strive to budget better and 44% plan to pay off debts in order to take back control of their finances.  

So what exactly is mindful spending? Well, it’s a technique that helps you save money without the spreadsheets that come with traditional budgeting. Instead mindful spending involves managing your emotions and consciously making decisions every time you take out your wallet.

Corinne Ng, Vice President and General Manager of Travel and Lifestyle Services, American Express Asia Pacific said: “Mindful finance is moving a step beyond simply making better financial decisions. It’s also about taking control, becoming financially empowered and even considering how your spending may impact others, or the environment. As Aussies continue to learn and evolve from the current financial landscape, they’re also looking at how to make the most of day-to-day spending.” 

What is mindful spending?

Mindful spending is consciously thinking about your purchases. It is rooted in the trend of mindfulness which means “focusing on one's awareness in the present moment.” 

By being mindful of your spending habits and the connections they have to your emotions, it’s easier to see where your emotional triggers are and find alternatives that don’t cost you every time you’re feeling the feels.

Questioning the value of every dollar you spend not only impacts your bank account but can also have a big impact on your lifestyle and wellbeing.

There are a range of benefits to mindful spending, including:

  • Easy to make a habit out of it.
  • Giving you flexibility in your finances.
  • Making you feel good about your values and decisions.

How to spend more mindfully...

1. Know your spending triggers

First and foremost, identify the times you have impulse spent and ask yourself “why?” Perhaps you’re a little too tired and hungry while grocery shopping? Or sitting on the lounge bored while browsing online stores?

By narrowing down the triggers to bad spending and acknowledging them, you’ll know when to think twice about making unnecessary purchases.

2. Have a back-up

Once you’re aware of the times you’re likely to emotionally spend, it’s good to have fallback options to replace this behaviour.

For example, you could go for a walk with a friend or even just call your mum for a long hard catch-up (they usually know what to say). With these alternatives, you’re taking the time to replace the temporary dopamine rush of spending.

3. Ask yourself what you value

By knowing your values, you can decide what really matters to you as a person. Don’t want to spend money at a restaurant with friends you don’t like eating at? Don’t. In the habit of buying a croissant before work every day even though you know it’s not healthy for you? Stop.

It all comes down to how each financial decision makes you feel, for example, switching to an ethical bank could make you a lot happier than propping up the profits of a big bank.

4. Have a waiting period

The best way to avoid making an emotionally spontaneous spend that you could regret is by writing down a list of things you’re interested in purchasing, take a week, review it and work out if you still really want them.

By taking this time to pause, and ask “will this contribute to my long-term satisfaction?” or “is this something I could live without?” you might find your list is filled with more wants than needs.  

5. Pick the right savings account

Once you’ve mastered the art of mindful spending, you’ll want somewhere to stash the money you’re no longer spending. A great place to start is with a high interest savings account, where you could have things like bonus savings rates and minimal fees.

Compare High Interest Savings Accounts - last updated 16 June 2024

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^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Savings Account Awards

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