Money Mindset: How an Attitude of Gratitude Can Help Your Finances

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Money mindset, in many cases, is about trying to attract money to you. But what if, instead of trying to think about how to bring money into your life, you were instead grateful for what you have?

Having an attitude of gratitude can actually help your finances in the long run. Here’s how changing your mindset to one of gratitude can help you improve the way you manage money:

Patience When Making Financial Decisions

According to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, feelings of gratitude can combat a tendency toward instant gratification. Those who demonstrated higher feelings of gratitude we more likely to choose to receive $80 in 30 days, rather than choosing to receive $54.

According to study authors, cultivating feelings of gratitude can reduce instances of impulse buying and insufficient saving. As you become more grateful, you are more likely to feel fulfilled in your life—and less likely to chase the “hit” you get from spending money.

This can save you money when you consider that 54 percent of Americans say they’ve spent $100 or more on impulse purchases. If feeling grateful can keep you from buying something expensive and unnecessary, you’re already coming out ahead.

On top of that, using gratitude to get beyond instant gratification can save you money by encouraging you to save up for bigger purchases. Instead of pulling out the credit card to buy something now (and paying interest as you carry a balance month-to-month), put together a savings plan. You’ll save money on interest and maybe even decide you don’t need that item after all.

Gratitude Promotes Generosity

Gratitude also promotes generosity. You’re more willing to give to others when you feel grateful, according to research cited by UC Berkeley. So, how does this tie into better finances?

Interestingly, giving can actually help you financially. First of all, when you make giving to charity a priority, you’re forced to re-evaluate your finances so that you can meet your objectives. Getting your financial house in order by tracking your spending and reducing expenses so that you have money to donate to causes you care about is reason enough to be grateful and generous.

Plus, when you give, you have the chance to get a bit of a tax break. If you’re a business owner, giving can help raise your profile in your community and encourage goodwill toward your business. That’s not a bad thing when you want to attract more customers.

Gratitude Cultivates Contentment

When you feel grateful for what you have, you are also more likely to feel content with your situation. It can help you avoid the problems associated with “hedonic adaptation.”

Social scientists and others, from early Medieval religious writer St. Augustine on down to Nobel prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman point out that we quickly become used to a “new normal” when it comes to money and possessions.

You get to a certain level of income, or you buy something new, and your expectations adapt to the point where those things no longer provide you with the same level of satisfaction. They are fixtures in your life, and they are “your due” or they are “normal.” So, you get a quick feeling of short-lived excitement from a new purchase, but it doesn’t always translate into long-term happiness. Tomorrow, you’ll want something else, or wish you had even more money.

Learning contentment with the help of gratitude can help you decouple feelings of happiness from buying more stuff or thinking that a higher income can help you achieve your dreams of life satisfaction. Indeed, Kahneman performed research with Angus Deaton and discovered that after reaching an income of $75,000, emotional wellbeing didn’t improve along with income.

Spending extra money won’t really make you happy—and it can put your financial future at risk. Instead, look for ways to feel good about what you already have by developing an attitude of gratitude.

Instead, by practicing gratitude, you might find that you don’t feel the need to spend a lot of money to feel happy. Learn contentment, and you’ll be more likely to spend money on others, save money for long-term goals that will help you feel more fulfilled in the long run, and avoid impulse buys that can break your short-term budget.