As I help people become more conscious of and effective with their spending, I find many times clients let a lot of expenses go by the wayside. They eliminate key expenses in order to feel like they aren’t “wasting” money. But here’s the thing: Caring for yourself, your home, and your loved ones needs to happen regardless of how much money you have.
Our busy lives get in the way of our real priorities; often, we allow things to attain priority status simply because we haven’t stopped to think about whether they reflect our values. We push genuine priorities to the side until we absolutely cannot tolerate our lives anymore — and then self-care and other meaningful things become a money “binge” item. We end up feeling guilty for what we spent to regain our equilibrium.
Budgets Should Always Have These Line Items
I’ve seen a lot of people suffer through the results of cutting back without being mindful. Such behavior can have disastrous results on your relationships, your environment, your health, and ultimately, your peace of mind. Here are the things that you cut out at your own peril:
I know from personal experience that it’s easier to maintain your health than to try and get it back! I stopped exercising regularly when I went through a particularly stressful time in my life and the domino effect on my health was overwhelming. Whatever your routine, if it makes you happy and healthy, never compromise it.
During stressful economic times, it’s easy to say that you can’t afford to go out with your partner. Yet, these times are exactly when you need to ensure you’re connecting on a regular basis. Go for a walk or a simple picnic. Date night doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money, but there should be room for it in your budget.
When I was a kid, my mom was an expert at creating relaxing, fun experiences during our summer vacations. She knew it was essential to have a break from our regular home routine. Vacations help our brains recharge and get our creative juices flowing again. A new environment helps us see our world in new ways.
Especially for women, it’s easy to feel guilty over spending money on haircuts, manicures, and other services that make us feel feminine. It’s also easy to go overboard in this area, so the key is to notice what feels great and what just feels obligatory. I know that, for me, I don’t care at all about manicures. Pedicures, on the other hand: Love them!
There might be overlap from one area to another. For example, my client’s dance lessons felt like both Health Care and Self-Care because she enjoyed them so much. Another client realized that she could easily cut $150 per month from her family’s restaurant eating and instead pay for a personal trainer, which would make her feel more cared for and result in better health. The answer is never to cut expenses completely; it’s to be mindful about how you’re using your budget.
You’ll be surprised at how your unconscious spending goes down once you start taking care of yourself and your loved ones in a more mindful way!
Mindy Crary is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.