Get the app
How to

Learn How to Spend Mindfully & Save Money in 2020

Ratehub Logo
December 26, 2019

This holiday season, we introduced the “12 Days of Mindful Spending” on our Instagram account as a way of helping you navigate the often stressful task of holiday shopping. What we came to realize is that our mindful spending tips don’t just apply to holiday shopping; they can be practiced throughout the year — regardless of the specifics.

Whether it’s a big shopping event or simply navigating weekly tasks like grocery shopping, these twelve tips will help you prepare for the right frame of mind before you buy. Not all twelve tips may apply to you each time you shop, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find value in considering alternative ways to manage your shopping lists and spending habits. 

12 tips to save money and spend mindfully in 2020 

Tip 1: Plan what you want to spend.

Every shopping list begins with a budget or at least; it should! Taking the time to plan out the details of a shopping excursion can help eliminate stress and impulse shopping. Planning may include a list of people to shop for, stores to visit, specific items to buy, and anything else you think will help you keep things organized.

Tip 2: Learn from past spending.

If you happen to be shopping for a specific event like a birthday or the holidays, try to think back to the last time you shopped for it. Remind yourself of how much you spent and how you felt at that time so that you can learn from your mistakes. 

Tip 3: Decide how you want to feel.

Choosing the right attitude before you hit the road is a great way to get your mind in the right place. Setting intentions for your shopping experience (regardless of how big or small it may be) will help you maintain focus and remain calm under any pressure. 

Photo Credit: Clark Street Mercantile

Tip 4: Keep your list smaller than your budget.

Always aim for a shorter list than you think you need each time you shop. Trying to overcompensate because you feel pressure to won’t make you happy, and buying more than what you need for yourself or your home will leave you feeling overwhelmed.  

Tip 5: Get on the same page. 

In the case of gift-giving, it’s a smart idea to connect with the people you are shopping for to ensure you are on the same page. Set a budget or theme for your gift exchange and follow through for the best results. Think about how you want the recipient to feel. Smaller and more meaningful gestures can often make a bigger impact.

Tip 6: Purchase items that bring you value.

Feeling obligated to buy something for yourself or someone else will leave you feeling empty. Instead, look for items that bring you value. You can do this by determining why you are making the purchase while acknowledging how it will make you feel in the long run.

Tip 7: Stick to cash.

One of the easiest ways to choose a budget and stick to it is by pulling the cash you need instead of relying on plastic. Paying for things in cash makes it easier to watch the money leave your wallet, ultimately helping you keep track of your spending while staying on budget. 

Tip 8: Check in with yourself.

It is especially important to check in with yourself while you are shopping. Ask yourself questions like “will this purchase make me happy?” “Is this an item I will still value later?” or if purchasing for someone else, perhaps asking, “will the person I am buying this for actually use it?”

Read more about 7 questions to ask yourself before your next purchase

Photo Credit: Şahin Yeilyaprak

Tip 9: Keep it simple.

When it comes to gift-giving, remember to keep things simple. If you overcompensate by going outside of your budget or buying something because you feel pressured to, you may end up destroying the joy that gifting someone is meant to bring. 

Tip 10: Take a deep breath. 

Buying things can be exhilarating. The act of shopping is known to amp up adrenaline and dopamine, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. You must take a breath and be in the moment so you can realign your focus and get the job done without a hitch. 

Tip 11: Think outside of the box.

More often than not, we relate gift-giving to buying a tangible. The next time you shop, consider the experience of something versus the product itself. Things like cooking classes, concerts, theatre, spa packages, and more can mean just as much to the person receiving it. 

Tip 12: Track your purchases with Wellspent. 

After the shopping excursion has ended, there is one more task to cross off of your list. Reflecting on your purchases in the Wellspent app will help you see where you spent your money and how it made you feel. The more you reflect, the better you will become at spending and saving your money. 

Learn more about Wellspent vs other money management apps

Ready to start spending mindfully?

Discover all the ways Wellspent can help you plan your next big shopping event. Download the Wellspent app to start reflecting on your spending!


This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change.  No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.