Let’s be honest; we all struggle where to even start when it comes to financial planning, especially when it’s something as daunting as money. Sometimes, it’s like the ostrich syndrome, where you just want to bury your head in the ground and not even look up! If you pretend it’s not there, then it will just go away, right? RIGHT?

Money doesn’t have to be this big, scary, overwhelming thing; in fact, money is simply that…a thing. Period. It’s paper that we exchange back and forth for goods and services (well now, let’s be real, it’s more like plastic or even the touch of a screen today.) We can let money take an intimate and unwelcome seat in our home where it seems to take on a life of its own always demanding something and never having enough. But in reality, it’s a resource, just like air, water, and energy. There is a finite amount and we are responsible for the conservation of it. Conservation you say, Ha! Well, how do I do that when I don’t even know how much I have?

That’s where you can start. Start by simply being more mindful. The more focus you have, the more solutions will present themselves. Recently, I’ve learned this myself as I’ve had significant back pain after the birth of my second child. After several years of pain, I’ve recently decided to do something about it, and while working with a physical therapist, I’ve learned that I simply need to engage my lower abs instead of my back, which has already helped greatly reduce the pain.

So, let’s apply the same concept here. By simply being more mindful about your money and noticing situations and feelings, you’ll start to notice and see relationships and have ideas you haven’t seen or thought of before. You might even find yourself making different decisions or adjustments to your routine without creating a lot of grief and havoc.

Here’s what I suggest on getting started:

  1. Find a dedicated space. Get a notebook, if you like pen and paper; open a new page on your phone where you keep notes; or dictate ideas to yourself as they come. The method doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent and you can go back and review your thoughts and ideas over time.
  2. Capture your thoughts and impressions. Once a day, spend just a couple of minutes writing down your thoughts on “how you spent your money”. Now, notice that I didn’t say, WHAT you spent your money on, but instead “how”. How did it make you feel?

If you start to notice the feelings that come with your money, you will start to understand more about your relationship with money. Try this for at least a week and let me know what you learn. Are your feelings about money positive or negative? Do they reflect anything about how you feel about yourself or others? Where do these feelings come from?

My next post will start to uncover your relationship with money and how it was formed. Relationships are complicated and so are our feelings connected to them. The same is true with money. We all have very early impressions with money (good and bad) that form the basis of our relationship (or lack thereof) today. So get started today, but simply being more mindful of your money and the connection it has with your feelings.

Mary