How Practicing Gratitude Can Impact Your Finances
Do you have an attitude of gratitude when it comes to your money? As silly as this may sound, practicing gratitude in your financial life can have a positive impact on your habits, mindset, and more.
When you incorporate gratitude into your financial plan, you are able to slow down, make better decisions about your money, and leverage your wealth to have a positive impact on the lives of others. More importantly, being grateful for your finances and for what you have can lead to you feeling more fulfilled in your daily life.
Gratitude Can Prevent Overspending
Have you ever felt frustrated about where you’re at in life as you scroll through Instagram? While you’re scrolling, feeling down, you see an advertisement pop up in your feed for a new pair of workout leggings that you probably don’t need. But, because you’re already feeling a little down, you find yourself reaching for your wallet as you click through to the company’s website.
This is a classic trap that many people fall into – and it’s not limited to targeted advertising on social media (although social media ads can definitely bust your budget if you’re not careful!). When you go through life feeling like your circumstances are less than what you need to be happy, you’re more likely to overspend to fill that void.
Instead, if you focus on everything that you’re grateful for in your life on a daily basis, you don’t feel that same urge to “make up for” what’s not there. You may be working toward big goals in your life, career, or finances, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t happy with what you have right now. A daily gratitude practice can help to curb impulse spending and push you to stick to your budget.
Stay Open to New Opportunities – and Make Wise Decisions When They Come Your Way
When was the last time you made a financial decision because you were afraid, or frustrated with your current circumstances? This pattern can show up in a number of ways, and doesn’t always directly connect to overspending.
You may find that, because you’re not feeling fulfilled in your current lifestyle, you take a job offer that pays more even though the hours are more demanding and the position requirements don’t fit your career goals. Maybe you decided to move to a lower cost of living area because you wanted a bigger house, even though your new neighborhood isn’t as conveniently located and means a longer commute and time away from your family.
In life, you’re going to have a number of opportunities and decisions that come your way. Some will positively impact your lifestyle, others will help you to increase your net worth, and some will do both. When you get a new opportunity or are faced with a big financial decision, it can be incredibly helpful to keep a gratitude mindset as you think through all of your options.
When you’re grateful for what you already have, you’re able to honestly evaluate the pros and the cons of every financial decision you run into. You won’t be as likely to make decisions out of fear, or coming from a mindset of “not enough.” Instead, you’ll be empowered to make financial decisions that move you toward your long term goals, and positively impact both you and your family.
Find Fulfillment (and Growth) in Your Finances
By focusing on what you’re grateful for, you’re more likely to feel fulfilled when it comes to your money. This has a number of positive benefits, including:
- Doing a better job of sticking to your budget because you don’t feel like you need “more.”
- Setting goals and feeling accomplished as you work toward them.
- Enjoying the line items in your budget that are in line with your values – like time with family, or experiences with friends and loved ones.
However, feeling fulfilled in your finances has two other huge benefits that people often overlook. First, when you feel grateful for what you have in your life, you’re giving yourself the permission you need to leverage your wealth to positively impact the lives of others. This might show up in your financial plan as charitable giving, supporting a local community project, or even gifting money to a family member who’s fallen on tough times.
There’s a psychological phenomenon that happens when you use your own wealth to improve someone else’s life. What many people don’t realize is that giving positively impacts your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Studies have shown that the more people give, the more life satisfaction they report. Other studies indicate that charitable giving activates your brain’s pleasure centers that are connected to reward processing. It’s also been proven that engaging in charitable acts (volunteering or helping your family and community) can dramatically reduce mortality rates. In other words, you physically and mentally feel better when you give.
The Abundance Mentality
The second often-overlooked benefit to practicing gratitude in your financial life is that the more you approach your money with an attitude of abundance, the more you attract additional abundance to you. This concept may sound a little woo-woo. I get it. It’s tough to wrap our minds around how feeling like you have enough could actually attract more abundance and wealth into your life.
Many personal finance writers have discussed the scarcity mindset v. the abundance mindset. An abundance mindset means that you believe there’s plenty for everyone – and plenty for you. You maintain a positive outlook on your life and your money and don’t feel fearful about growing your wealth or accomplishing your goals.
When you fear that there’s never enough, you fall into some of the negative financial habits discussed above – overspending or impulse purchases, and veering off course in a way that slows your ability to achieve your goals. However, when you have an abundance mindset, the opposite happens.
If you genuinely believe there’s plenty to go around, and that you’re grateful for what you already have, you’re able to slow yourself down and take advantage of positive opportunities when they show up. Your ability to give to others and feel comfortable and confident in your own financial lifestyle gives you the flexibility you need to make future decisions that will continually increase abundance in your life.
Creating a Gratitude-Focused Financial Plan
You may be thinking: How can I be grateful for my current financial state? I haven’t saved enough, I still have debt, and I’m nowhere near “perfect” when it comes to managing my money.
You’re not alone in thinking that your money isn’t a source of gratitude in your life. In fact, 30% of Americans are stressed about money constantly, regardless of their income or financial circumstances. So, rather than pivoting and focusing on feeling grateful about your lifestyle and your finances 100% of the time, it might be easier to start with a smaller step in the right direction.
To start incorporating gratitude into your daily life, and your financial plan, try keeping a gratitude journal. This practice shouldn’t take you more than five minutes a day. Jot down 3-5 things you’re grateful for – and make just one of them about your money. It can even be something as small as: I’m grateful that I was able to spend $4 on a latte on my way to work this morning.
By slowly gearing your mind to focus on the positive aspects of your financial life, you’ll start feeling more gratitude when it comes to bigger financial decisions and reaping the rewards as a result.
Not ready to start journaling daily? Start even smaller by having a conversation with your family, or just your spouse and partner, each day about one thing you’re grateful for. Sometimes just being able to vocalize your gratitude, and hear that your family is also grateful for what they have in their lives, is enough to trigger a more grateful life in a bigger way.
Do you want to start a financial gratitude practice? Not sure where to start? Reach out! My team and I would love to help you build a more gratitude-focused financial plan.