Be intentional with money: 5 steps to money mindfulness

By 03/12/2021April 15th, 2022Family, home, and life

Picture for a moment what it would be like if you don’t have to worry about money.

Imagine how you would feel if you’re debt-free and living comfortably, enjoying financial freedom that lets you enjoy life a little more.

Visualise how much peace of mind you would have with fewer money problems. That would be an awesome feeling wouldn’t it?

The good news is: dreaming about having fewer money problems isn’t just a fantasy- It CAN happen.

And that’s what you’ll learn through the 5 steps on how to be intentional with money.

image of Personal Financial Plan Pages a featured product of be intentional with money blog post

You’ll be ready to improve your money situation by the end of this post by applying the following tips:

  1. Establish awareness when it comes to money so you can be wise with your personal finance.
  2. Use the why, the what, and the how of money mindfulness so that you can start living life with less money stress
  3. Set money goals, write money plans and create strategies to carry out your plan.

Part of living an intentional life is paying attention to people (and things) that matter in life. And money also matters.

Disclaimer: I’m not a financial advisor. What I will share in this article is a combination of knowledge I learned from personal life experiences, people in my life and books I’ve read. What worked for my family is not guaranteed to work the same way in your situation. Consider reaching out to financial advisors if you need professional help with your financial situation.

What does it mean to be intentional with money?

Merriam-Webster defines “intentional” as “done with intention or design”.

So my take on being intentional with money is…

BEING INTENTIONAL WITH MONEY is practising money mindfulness by being aware of everything related to money in your life and mindfully aligning your money mindset and money habits to make money work for you not against you.

If you want to practise money mindfulness, the smartest way to start is to use these money trackers. They are effective, functional and fun to use. Grab your Free money trackers by clicking the image or the button below the image.

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Money works for you when:

  • you have less money stress
  • your money supports the quality of life
  • you make a positive impact on your life and on other people with the money you have

Money works against you when:

  • you’re constantly stressed because of money-related issues.
  • you have debt and paying it off is a struggle
  • not having enough savings and being stuck when money emergencies happen

In the Complete Guide on how to be intentional, I mentioned the reason for setting up this blog is to create an intentional lifestyle. And I achieved that goal in 9 months. Hooray!!!

It’s proof that when you set out to do something and you focus on working on it, it will happen. It’s not so much about how fast you get to where you want to be but it’s all about ‘actually getting there”.

In the last 12 months, the one thing I never mentioned in the blog is about money. And I have 2 reasons for that.

I’ll say these two reasons with sincere humility and utmost gratitude.

Reason 1:

Money has never been a big deal for me because I’ve always think that I have more than what I need. My income levels changed over time and even though I haven’t earned loads of money (yet), I never had serious issues relating to money.

Reason 2:

I’ve always kept a positive mindset about money and treated money as a tool and as a medium of exchange. Nothing more and nothing less.

I’m into personal development topics and I view money topics just as important.

For some people, talking about money is boring (or even stressful) but I find talking about money exciting. I love talking about money where appropriate, like budgeting and being wise with money. However, I don’t talk about investments, for example, stocks. That’s not my thing.

Having stated those two reasons, it doesn’t mean that I cannot relate to money challenges.

I’ve dealt with money issues to help family members before and I have helped friends manage their money.

It also doesn’t mean I am better than anyone else. I am not special. I just have a different approach to money than a person who’s experiencing money issues.

The back story of my money mindset

brown frame with red flower in a vase image

I was raised by a single Mother who’s a hard worker, has a good work ethic, and is very wise with money. She is my biggest influence when it comes to my money mindset. I created a handy dandy tips on how to Develop a Positive Money Mindset if you’re keen.

My Mother taught us how important it is to be mindful of money. We were not rich, but we always had enough for important things and a little more for fun.

We had to work hard though. And we had to make lots of sacrifices.

If I need to describe my childhood in one word. The word will be “hard work”. I didn’t get to play a lot or buy the newest toys. I grew up working and helping Mother to support the family until I moved out of the home to be a workings student.

Now you might be thinking.

“Poor thing it must be sad to grow up like that”.

Thank you if you’re really thinking that but honestly, I wouldn’t change it any other way.

Sure that was a rough childhood and it was not easy. But Mother showed us, love, in many ways and that love outweighed the hardships and material stuff we missed.

She taught us gratitude, resilience, and most importantly, being wise with money. When I moved out of home to work and study, I also took time to learn how to manage personal money.

The 5 steps on how to be intentional with money is the result of continuous learning.

My life experiences helped me a lot and I am eternally grateful for my Mother and for the kind of life I had while I was young.

Mother taught us two things about money.

  1. Spend less than what you earn
  2. Save for the rainy days regardless of how much you earn.

Two simple and basic concepts but unfortunately, it’s not that easy to do for a lot of people for different reasons.

Benefits of being intentional with Money

image of notebook and pen with text about benefits of money mindfulness

Some of the benefits of Money Mindfulness are :

  • Less money-related stress
  • more financial freedom
  • Control over your money, not the other way around

Here are some of my personal experiences as a result of the 5 steps of money mindfulness.

I’m sharing them to show you that you don’t have to earn heaps of money to have the quality of life you want.

  • Helped my husband pay off a 5-figure credit card debt. Paid it in 3 years, on one income.
  • I also helped a few friends sort their finances to pay off debt and build savings.
  • Bought a car on finance (super necessary when I was pregnant with M) and paid it off in less than 2 years instead of 7 years.
  • R and I (with kids) have lived comfortably on one income several times in our 13 years of being together. We even squeezed in at least one overseas trip every year.
  • R was able to be a stay at home dad for 2.5 years while I got back into the workforce. I was stay at home too for 3+ years.
  • Took extended maternity leave when I had M (total of 17 months)

And here’s the best part.

Since 2015, I haven’t worked full-time. I work 4 days a week now. I get to do my job which I love and look after my family without spreading myself thin.

Working less enabled us to spend more time with our kids and make good memories.

I acknowledge that working part-time is not always possible for most people, but just know that having peace of mind about money can make a massive difference in your quality of life.

And that financial peace of mind will only be possible if you’re in control of your finances.

Why should you be intentional with money?

The answer is up to you and your answer will be different from another person reading this post.

Maybe you need to pay off debt, or increase your savings.

Do bills and unexpected expenses stress you out?

Have you got enough saved for when unexpected expenses happen?

Are you working harder than you should because it feels like there’s never enough to pay for what you need to pay for?

Ultimately, it would be based on what’s important to you. What your values are. It also depends on your relationship with money right now and what time of emotions you have when money topics come up.

For me the short answer is peace of mind and better quality of life. Working 5 hours a day and working 4 days a week is the life I’ve always wanted.

5 Steps to be intentional with money

image of wallet and pencil and to do paper clip

DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a commission at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase using those links. See my full Disclaimer here.

If you’re reading this part then I’m going to assume that I’ve convinced you somehow to take action and try being intentional with your money based on what’s important to you right now.

Is it to pay off debt? To build savings? Improve the quality of life.

Perhaps you’re ok already, you just want to level up your money management skills. So, keep reading.

Step one: Establish awareness

Inforgraphic on being aware with money, mindset and habits

The key here is to TAKE NOTICE. Meaning, you just pay attention, be interested in your money situation.

In this step. There are three things that you’re going to pay attention to. They are:

  1. The numbers: your income, expenses, savings and debt (if you have)
  2. Attitude towards money: your money mindset and the way you think about your finances
  3. Money habits: your habits for example with saving and spending.

Take notice at those three areas and be honest with yourself. Do you want to be in the same situation in the next 6 to 12 months? Or are your ready to take action and change your money story.

On checking your numbers

It’s important to remember in this first step, you are just gathering information.

Your task is to “take notice” and record the information. That’s it. Depending on your numbers, doing this might trigger strong feelings and you just need to be ready for it. So, it’s important to do this with self-compassion and genuine interest of changing the situation for the better.

If your numbers show that you have more expenses than income then you may feel frustrated, shocked or guilty even.

You might also feel a certain level of “fear” if you see that your debt is way bigger than your savings or your income.

Whatever the number shows, please, please please be kind to yourself.

Just feel the feeling, and try not to let that feeling linger.

You just need to remember that, you are MAKING CHANGE now, and you’ve just done the bravest and most important step. Forgive yourself for the mistakes your made. You didn’t know what you know now.

This is not a space to beat yourself up for your past decisions.

Check your money mindset

The way you think about your finances has a surprising impact on your money success.

Check-in with yourself and be honest. What do you think about money? Do you have an abundance mindset or scarcity mindset?

Notice your language too when it comes to money.

When you have a healthy mindset about money, you’re likely do spend on impulse. You have control over your money and you’re more likely to establish healthy boundaries.

Step two: Set your intentions (the Why)

step 2 set intentions image

Before setting intentions, it’s important to take note that intentions and goals are different.

Intentions (or purpose) are what you intend to “be” and what you want to do according to your core values. They go deeper than goals because they are focused on how you want to live your life. Intentions focus more on the “being”.

An intention answers the questions

  1. What’s important to you?
  2. What truly matters?

Goals are what you want to achieve, something tangible that you want to accomplish. Goals focus on the outcomes or results.

A goal answers the questions

  1. What do you want to accomplish?
  2. What’s that something tangible that you want to achieve?

Knowing the difference between the intention and a goal has an impact on your goal-setting process.

Think of intentions as the driving energy of meaningful goals.

Meaningful goal is backed by the right intention. But when I say “right” it means what feels good for you and what aligns with your core values.

I don’t know if this applies to everyone (it may not) but in my case, setting goals without intention resulted in either of these two.

I achieved my goals but everything else fell apart.

Or …..

Never achieved a goal at all because I either lost interest or I felt that a goal was just hard to achieve so I gave up.

That’s how I was burnt by setting goals without intentions. And they happened before the blog.

Now that I’m intentional, every goal I set is backed by a deep intention.

The intentions behind a goal give me a deeper reason to follow through no matter what, intensify my commitment and inspire me to keep at it.

So I set my intentions first before I set my goals. Doing this creates alignment between what I value and what I want to accomplish.

Step Three: Create money goals (the What)

Step 3 create money goals

By this time you have already established the reasons why you want to be mindful with your money. You would have set your intentions too.

It’s now time to set money goals. What financial goals do you want to achieve?

And the best way to set money goals is by going back to your intentions first.

Look at your intentions and create financial goals around that.

For example: If your intention is to have financial peace of mind. and depending how it looks like for you, you can set a goal that will give you peace of mind when your achieve it.

Let me explain further.

Financial peace of mind means you have enough (or more) to cover all your expenses without being in debt.

So, if at present you have debt, then getting out of debt will be your priority.

Example of your goal. Pay off $_____ by the end of ______.

Your money goals must be simple, specific, meaningful, achievable and realistic.

TIPS on CREATING MONEY GOALS

Start with the big goals. Then reverse engineer that goal and break it down.

Example:

Goal: Save $_____ by the end of the year.

Reverse engineer that by starting with the amount you want to save. Then work how much money you need to save monthly, weekly and daily.

Step Four: Write your money plan

Write your money plan process as image

So you’ve got your intentions set and you’ve created your goals.

The fourth step is to write a money plan. When I say write, you need to use a pen and paper and WRITE those goals down. Pen and paper create that extra mindfulness effect. It makes that extra space for the feeling to linger while transferring your thoughts to paper.

Don’t worry, you can always transfer your written money plans to your choice of digital container.

Once you’re happy with your goal. Start making a money plan by considering the following questions and ideas

  1. What is your financial goal?
  2. Describe exactly how it would look like when you achieved that goal.
  3. What would you feel once you achieved that goal?
  4. Write down the step by steps process to achieve that goal?
  5. Identify the support and resources you need to help you achieve your goals( example: books, worksheets and workbooks)
  6. Do you need an accountability buddy?

Must have books

The following books helped me and my family improved our finances so this section will be incomplete without recommending them. These are the books that are forever in my bookshelf because I love going back to them every now and then.

The Barefoot Investor

Kakebo- The Japanese art of saving money

The Barefoot Investor for Families

Total Money Makeover

The $21 Challenge

SAVE: your money, your time and planet

The Tightwad Gazette

Debt free, Cashed up and Laughing

Step Five: Make a Commitment

Step 5 image. commitment

You’re almost set. This is the last step and it’s extremely important.

Your real job is just about to start and this step will determine your success. You’re going to put in the works to create your reality.

Take this step seriously as if your life depends on it. This is your is going to be your powerful strategy.

There are 3 important elements here. They don’t depend on each other but consider them all for a higher chance of success.

  1. Positive money mindset
  2. Good (money) habits
  3. Accountability

Positive Money Mindset

Your money mindset. How you view your money can make a difference in your personal finance. The way you think about your finances can have a surprising impact on how successful you become. You need to have a positive relationship with money.

Good (money) habits

If you’re just starting and you want a good starting point to know your money habits, I highly recommend using MONEY TRACKERS specifically Expense Tracker. Get your Money trackers via below form.

money trackers images

Your money situation now is a result of your past habits.

That’s at least what’s true for me and my family. . We have been debt free for 8 years now. And it’s a result of good habits with money.

Some of these good money habits are:

  • Saving regularly
  • Make sure that expenses are lower than income
  • Setting aside money for ‘surprise’ expenses

Accountability

Using trackers help you with accountability. So click the from above and get your free Money Trackers. It’s fun and it will help move forward to Money Mindfulness.

CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO GET YOUR MONEY TRACKERS FOR FREE

money trackers images

Commitment is making a promise to yourself that you’re going to take consistent actions to get you closer to your goal. That you’re going to follow through no matter what.

When you’re committed, it means you set a goal, you take action and you keep going. Yes even if some days it feels like you’re not making progress.

So to help you stay committed I suggest using Trackers to keep you on track and be accountable..

Having strong commitments means you are willing to try and change your ways even if it’s uncomfortable. Remember why you got here in the first place. To change your outcome requires a change in your actions. But I promise you it’s worth it.

Conclusion

I hope the 5 steps to being intentional with money give you a head start towards financial success.

To recap, here are the 5 steps on how to be intentional with money. A process that serves as your roadmap to money mindfulness.

  1. Awareness
  2. Set your intentions
  3. Create your money goals
  4. Write your money plan
  5. Make a commitment

The 5 are real quick to implement but actions and commitment will be your key so, take your time, and come back to this post.

Grab your Free Money Trackers if you want to start your journey to Money Mindfulness.

This is the beginning fo something great for you.

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