When we need more money, we look to the outside to find it. But maybe financial wellbeing starts on the inside.
According to the dictionary, gratitude is the quality of being thankful. It is a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Gratitude is clearly a good thing, but what does it have to do with how you deal with money?
According to a variety of studies, there is a direct link between gratitude and how we think about money and spend it.
In summary, the financial benefits of gratitude are:
- You do a better job of sticking to your budget because you don’t feel like you need “more”.
- You are more patient and better at setting goals and avoiding impulse purchases.
- You are more likely to be content with what you already have and to enjoy it more.
- You are less likely to make rash decisions, such as taking a job just because it pays more. 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.
It is easy to see how being happy with what you have will make you less likely to spend money. But how do you practice gratitude when you feel that you don’t have much to be grateful for because life is tough and money is tight?
Let’s look at some ideas:
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Here social media plays a huge role. Seeing other people enjoying holidays or lavish meals or posing with their new cars, can leave you with a severe case of FOMO. Rather focus on your own life. Are all your basics covered? Are you making progress towards your goals? That is really all that counts.
- Start a gratitude journal by writing down 3 to 5 things you’re grateful for every day – and make just one of them about your money. It can be something as small and ordinary as “I’m grateful that I had the taxi fare to get to work today”, or “I’m grateful for the R10 discount I got on my groceries”.
- Track your progress and celebrate your achievements. Staying on track with your budget is a great achievement, as is reaching a savings goal.
- Share what you have with others, no matter how little or humble it may be. Nothing inspires gratitude as much as realising that your little is still more than what many other people have.
- Get a gratitude buddy – someone with whom you can share gratitude stories and experiences. If nothing else, you will feel far better about life after a positive and uplifting conversation than after another session of complaining about everything you don’t have or cannot afford.