Spiritual Ways to Approach Money

This article was written by Susan Corso

1. Make Peace with your Financial Past

What is your money history? Take time to write about this in your journal. Write whatever comes to mind, no censoring. Make time to reflect on your past actions with money and make peace with it. No matter what it is. Where you see flaws, forgive yourself. It is only when you accept where you’re starting from that you can begin to go forward.

2. Ask God for Help

One of divinity’s traditional names is Providence, the all-provider. God/Goddess/Spirit is intimately involved in all aspects of our lives, and finances are no exception. If human economics hasn’t worked for you in the past, what do you have to lose? Try spiritual economics: where there is demand, supply will appear. Address your request to God, let go, and joyfully expect an answer. Give thanks every day and listen within: You’ll be guided if there are actions to take

3. Remember that Debt is Trust

First, think about what debt means: Someone (or some company) trusted you would be good for the money. Now turn within and from the place inside you that knows what’s so, look to Providence and give your trust over to all provision, a.k.a. Spirit, God/dess, Nature, Wonder. Clearing up debt is about learning to trust yourself and Providence.

4. Visualize the Flow

There are two major modes for dealing with money in life: circulation and congestion. Circulation is paying bills, tithing, giving to charity. Congestion is hoarding, saving for a rainy day, being stingy. It’s no coincidence that one word for money is currency; it comes from the word current, which means flow. When you congest around money, the flow stops. Money, by its nature, flows. Picture yourself and your money in the flow.

5. Set Your Intention

Intention is everything when it comes to manifestation. What do you want money for? Do you want a new pair of shoes to match your new suit? Great. Do you want to start a foundation for homeless children? Great. The wild thing is, it doesn’t matter to God as long as you intend the highest good for all. Tell yourself your intention, share it with God through prayer, and listen for guidance.

6. Pray Your Bills

Yes, of course, pay your bills, but first, PRAY your bills. Put them all in your lap, sit quietly, and pray for each bill. Give thanks for the service you received, and pray that you and your loved ones may continue to enjoy what each bill represents. For example, your utility bill can bring to mind a warm home in winter, hot meals, and clean water to drink. While you’re at it, send the same blessing to those who helped provide for you.

7. Be Conscious of Your Judgments

Okay, let’s really get into it now: resentment, envy, finger-pointing. Where you have judgments, you only hurt yourself! Try these on: Rich people are miserly; the IRS is a dirty, rotten scoundrel, the oil companies are greedy, money is the root of all evil (the misquote most often used about money). It’s really very simple to get clear around money: Just wish for others what you would wish for yourself!

8. Bless Your Money

Whatever you praise increases. Praise works to increase anything, both the positive and the negative. Why? Because you are showing interest in it. The activity of praising is blessing. Bless your money! Every penny of it. Blessing is also a form of gratitude. You are thanking God for the money you have in order to create more money.

9. Receive Graciously

There is a cost to giving, dear one. The cost of giving is receiving. Conversely, the cost of receiving is giving. It’s a wondrous cycle of circles where we all participate in all of its phases at all times. Learn to receive graciously! You go to lunch with a friend who has just gotten a raise. She offers to buy you lunch to celebrate. Do you let her? You let money out, don’t you? Now, let money in.

10. Share the Wealth

You do not need to have a lot of money in order to give to others. Ask yourself, Where am I wealthy? Start your giving there. Do you have extra time? Give time. Extra money? Give money. Extra talent? Give talent. The feelings associated with genuine joyous giving are to be cultivated.

 

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Ways to Save

Post Written by Leo Babauta from Zenhabits.

With the economy not doing so well, many people are looking for ways to save money and get on more solid financial ground.

And while it’s great to cut out little things, such as lattes and Gucci bags, what most people need are big savings. You know, thousands of dollars in savings, not $50 a month.

But you can’t slash your budget for items such as food, gas and utilities — while you can save some money in these areas, the savings are usually pretty small compared to some of the items below. So I’ve compiled a list of ways you can make big changes, at least for a little while — and who knows, maybe over the long term.

There will be some objections — from people who don’t think they can change their lives this much, or who don’t want to. That’s fine — I’m not saying these changes are for everyone. But I really do think we can live with less, and with the right mindset, you can find happiness right now, without needing to spend money. That’s the key — finding contentment while living with less.

1. Move to a smaller home. For many people, housing is the biggest expense in their budget. Thus it represents the biggest opportunity to save — if you live in a smaller, less costly home, you can save a lot of money in one fell swoop. Obviously this isn’t a change you can implement overnight, but it’s worth keeping your eye open for an opportunity to make the change. Start looking around for smaller homes, especially ones that are closer to the places you need to go, such as work, the grocery store, etc., so you can save on transportation costs as well. If you get rid of a lot of excess stuff, you don’t need as much space. This change alone can save thousands each year.

2. Sell a car. If you have two (or more) vehicles, consider selling one of them to save money. Often we can get away with one vehicle if we carefully arrange our schedules. My wife and I (and our six kids) did this, and we are able to survive with one van. Sure, sometimes it would be cool to have two cars, but it’s not a necessity. Btw, we did this even when we were both working and all six kids had school, daycare, soccer practice and games, music lessons, and so on. Take any cash you get from selling your car and use it to pay off some of the loan for the car you keep — or use it to pay off higher interest debt.

3. Get a smaller, used car. Whether you already have only one car, or you decide you absolutely need two or more vehicles, you can downgrade your car so that it costs less. Sell your car, and look for a smaller, used model that runs well (preferably only 2-3 years old) and costs less than the one you own now. Again, potential savings of thousands each year.

4. Stop paying interest. Some people pay thousands of dollars in interest every year. I’m happy to say that I now pay zero in interest, after becoming debt-free last year. That’s not always possible for everyone, but this is a very big potential savings for most of us. The key is to stop getting into new debt, and to pay off your old debt as quickly as possible. Paying off my credit cards was the priority, but we also paid off our car loans and bought our last two vehicles on cash. Again, this is not for everyone, but I highly recommend it for those who can manage it.

5. Stop buying unnecessary items. This is a toughie, but if you’re really serious about saving, you’ll at least consider it. Try tracking your spending for a month, and next to each expense item mark the ones that are pure necessities: groceries, gas, utility bills, medicine, doctor’s visits, etc. The rest are unnecessary — clothes and shoes you didn’t really need, electronics, magazines, gourmet coffee, etc. If you stopped buying these things, at least for a little while, you’ll notice a pretty sizable savings.

6. Stop traveling. If you travel several times a year, or even just once a year, you could save thousands by not traveling. Before last year, I didn’t travel for 7 years, and it didn’t hurt me one bit. You can relax and take a break from work without having to leave home, if you learn to enjoy yourself from where you are. I’m not saying you should never travel again, but if income is dropping, you might consider a moratorium for a year or two. Each trip can cost thousands, depending on how far and long you travel, so this is a huge potential savings for some people.

7. Slash entertaining/entertainment. Many people do a lot of entertaining — parties with friends, family or co-workers — and those expenses can really add up. Stop entertaining so much, or at least save money by making them potluck or during non-meal times when you can get away with serving appetizers. Similarly, if you spend a lot of money going out to entertainment — movies, theater, dining out, drinking, clubbing, etc. — you can curb this habit and save a lot of money. Learn that you don’t need to spend money to have fun!

8. Cut out all subscriptions. Each little subscription you have is a small-ticket item — a magazine subscription could be $15-25 a year, for example, and subscribing to an online service might only be $5-20 a month. But if you subscribe to 3 magazines, and 4 online services, and cut out one of your cell phone plans or cable TV subscription (if you don’t need one of those services), you could save $1,000 a year. Some people have even more subscriptions and can save thousands. Not much compared to some of the items above, but worth considering.