An Exercise in Money Mindfulness

Another word occasionally used for ‘mindfulness’ is ‘awareness’. Whilst conceptually they’re not completely interchangeable, let’s say for the purpose of this exercise ‘having awareness’ and ‘being mindful’ they are as comfortable as bunch of freshly minted $50 dollar notes, nestling cozily against each other in your wallet.

So, do you find it easier to pull out a card over cash when it comes to paying for things? And do you find it easier to use your credit card over debit card for purchases? Why is that? For some it will be about convenience or loyalty points; however for many others, placing purchases on a card puts some distance between their spending and where the money comes from.

So here’s a fun exercise – over the next week, use only cash for everything you buy, even for those things you would normally place on a debit card or Bpay. Then, monitor your response to the purchases you make, along with the purchases you choose not to make. Observe whether you face any resistance to using cash or instead feel a sense of power. If you’re a debit card user, measure whether you are more liberal when money is sitting in your wallet, or whether you become more protective of your cash. If you are a credit card user note whether you are more resistant to spend when you have to use money you have, rather than money you are borrowing.

The exercise is about building your awareness of an aspect of your relationship with money – that is, to be learn and be conscious of where you sit on the continuum between casual or thoughtful with your hard-earned, post-tax dollars, and how it might change if your method of payment changes.