Women’s Circle Roundup – More Mindful Spending

September 23, 2021

A wide-ranging conversation yields some smart ideas for putting guidelines in place.

We all know there are more ways to spend our money, and demands on us to do so. But figuring out how to make good saving and spending decisions can be challenging.

At our most recent women’s conversation circle, we discussed the ways we make those decisions, and what spending rules or policies we can design and use to guide us when we feel under pressure or impulsive.

Some of us are savers and quite thrifty, while others alluded to a shopping weakness — whether clothes or art — or getting tripped up by big projects while sweating the small stuff. Sometimes we just succumb to “retail therapy” late at night when we feel “deserving” of a treat. Some of us don’t spend a lot on “things” but don’t blink at dropping a wad on travel; others have a “saver vs. spender” relationship with their spouse.

We talked about the need to refocus on “the big picture” of what we want out of life — which isn’t necessarily more stuff.

Tips & Mental Tricks

Several participants suggested mental tricks they use to rein in spending. One imposes an overnight “waiting period” before buying something; another got rid of all but one credit card, and forces herself to enter it manually for every purchase. Others try to weigh wants vs. needs, asking “Is this really necessary?” or “Will this bring me joy?”

More tips included unsubscribing from retailer mailing lists, deleting shopping apps, and making (and sticking to) a shopping list. One found that just paying with cash (instead of whipping out a credit card) can be a surprisingly effective brake on impulse buying.

Putting systems in place can be helpful. One participant suggested broad budget categories: X% for essentials, Y% for charity/donations, and a small Z% for “fun” spending. Another uses an “escrow” account to set money aside monthly for major but irregular payments — things like property tax or homeowners’ insurance.

An idea we all want to steal was one woman’s practice of “digital gifts.” Because most of her friends and family are in decluttering phases, she says, when she sees something that she knows a friend or family member would enjoy, she snaps a photo of it and sends it to them with a note: “This made me think of you.”

Please plan to join us for our next Women’s Conversation Circle on Wednesday, November 17, when we will discuss Charitable Donations and Mindful Giving. We hope to see you then.

Written by Andrea Hamilton

Latest Insights

Last Week in Review – September 16, 2022

Last week, stocks fell sharply as inflation fears intensified and short-term bond yields reached levels last seen in 2007. The S&P 500 Index recorded its most significant weekly drop since mid-June and hit its lowest point on an intraday basis since mid-July. Growth stocks fared worst, with the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite falling nearly 5.5%. Communication services and information technology shares led the declines within the S&P 500 as Google parent Alphabet and Facebook parent Meta Platforms hit new 52-week lows. Industrials and materials shares were also fragile.

Inflation! Recession! Market Volatility! OH MY! How do we handle scary economic news?

The news – coming at us from every channel, broadcast, blog, or tweet – can sound scary and grim. Inflation, potential recession, rapidly rising interest rates, the wildly gyrating stock market … It’s enough to make us want to tune out the news completely or throw our investment statements in the shredder unopened.

Global Market Commentary August 2022

Global Equities sunk 3.68%% in August on fears of more aggressive interest rate hikes by central banks in their fight against soaring global inflation. The MSCI All-Country World Index is off 17.75% YTD, its worst eight-month start to a year since its inception. Global bonds were unable to provide reprieve, as the Bloomberg US Aggregate Bond and International Bond indexes fell 2.83% and 3.46% respectively this month and they too are off to their worst start in their index histories with YTD returns of negative 10.75% and 10.21% respectively.