Do You Have a Money Mantra?
Being mindful of your spending and having a money mantra is an excellent strategy to get out of debt
Your attitude towards money, spending and savings has a great deal to do with your likelihood of reaching your financial goals. For many people, getting into debt is a result of the instant gratification of the “buy-now, pay-later” mentality. At the root of this is behaviour, made up of a myriad of habits and attitudes.
The other issue with becoming debt-free is that it can often take weeks, months or even years to accomplish. It can be hard to be motivated day in and day out to stay the course. Having a deep rooted belief in your change and in the positive effect of the outcome is crucial to your success and in remaining debt-free in the future.
“Becoming debt-free has a lot to do with making a fundamental change around the way that you not only approach money, but also the way that you see yourself achieving financial success. What does your debt-free life look like?” says Jeff Schwartz, Executive Director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
One way to drive that fundamental change is to adopt a money mantra or a series of money mantras to reinforce your attitudes in your daily life.
What is a mantra?
A mantra is a belief, statement or slogan that you basically repeat to yourself over and over again. Mantras are typically associated with spiritual practices, like yoga or meditation, which focus on clearing the mind in the pursuit of health and other goals.
A mantra can be any kind of personal affirmation that provides encouragement in daily living, or specifically in challenging times. You can make them up yourself, consult self-help books or even take lines from books or movies that resonate with you. It’s all about what works.
Why is a money mantra a good way to accomplish financial goals?
The idea behind these mantras translates very well to money management, because adopting a mantra helps you articulate your goals at a frequency that will keep them at the forefront of your mind. When you say something out loud, you make it real and reinforce your commitment to it. You also make yourself accountable for your actions, which is essential if you’ve been routinely spending beyond your means or not willing to live by a budget.
This self-awareness not only helps you to accurately state your intentions, it gives you the power to change if your chosen behaviours are not getting the results that you desire. It’s about creating a state of mind through repetition.
Mantras help you to live in the present moment, which is key when trying to manage your money, because you’re faced with dozens of decisions (and temptations) in a day that could sideline your financial goals. They’re also always positive, which can help you act proactively (think positive and making good choices, vs. making bad decisions in the moment and then having to deal with regret).
Changing your attitude towards spending and saving may be gradual as well, so reaffirming your new belief system daily can help you to stay on track.
“Mantras circle around a belief or a value. While they will help you reach your goals, they also provide you with the mindset to continue the good behaviour (i.e. responsibly managing your money) after you’ve reached your goal,” says Schwartz.
How to establish your money mantra
The beauty of a money mantra is that you can really customize it. When you choose your money mantra (or mantras) makes sure that you choose something that is relevant to your goals, but also speaks to your personality and inspires you. Get fired up about the success that’s waiting for you.
Make sure that your money mantra is positive and possible. Since you’re using this to achieve your financial goals, make sure that it has a financial spin to it (although many mantras around general success can be relevant too). Keep your mantra short and to the point. If it’s too complicated, it becomes a burden and that is counterproductive.
Think about your financial goals. What specifically would you like to achieve? Pay down debt? Establish good credit? Build up your savings? Work backwards from your goals to determine what good financial habits will help you to achieve those goals and develop your mantra from there.
For example, let’s say you tend to hit the mall for retail therapy and have accumulated a lot of debt as a result. You’ve decided to change your behaviour and look for other ways to reward yourself that don’t involve keeping the debt cycle going. You’ve decided that you’re going to simplify your life and use your money to pay down your debt instead. Your mantra could be “the best things in life are free”, which can help you get back to basics, derive happiness from other sources and let you have the cash on hand to pay your debts down.
How to live your money mantra
It’s a good idea to get into a habit of starting your day off on the right foot. In the beginning (so you can form the habit) establish a schedule to help you build the habit so you’re repeating your mantra a few dozen times in a day. It can be helpful to plan some quiet time to yourself every day to focus on your intentions. Once it’s seamless, you’ll do it as a daily practice.
Say it out loud or in your head. Post it on post it notes around your home; write it on your mirror for when you are getting ready in the morning; make it the screen saver on your computer. Write about your money intentions in a journal.