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Cash Back & Calm: Mastering Your Finances with Mindfulness

Updated: Jul 14


As a disclaimer, EnvisionCo Blog is reader-supported. Some links on this site are for additional informational purposes whereas some others are affiliate links (don't worry, these will be clearly marked as such). When you click through an affiliate link on our site and sign-up for a service or finalize a purchase, we may earn affiliate commissions. This of course is at no additional cost to you. Additionally, EnvisionCo Blog is for informational and educational purposes only and is in no way intended to be a substitute for therapy by a trained mental health professional.


We began our year off discussing finances and took what may have felt like an abrupt off ramp into discussions about mindfulness, replete with weekly exercises to boot. I realize that this may have felt disjointed and off theme but there was a reason. I have long known that we cannot have any meaningful dialogue about savings, investing, or getting our financial houses in order if we do not address the elephant in the room-our emotions, our mindsets. Since you have made it this far, thank you for trusting the process.



Our money journey is an emotional rollercoaster! From the highs of reaching goals to the lows of surprise bills, how we feel about money can cloud judgment. I'll even go on to add how we feel about others, ourselves, and our life circumstances can also cloud our judgement when it comes to money decisions. As discussed in our article: "Emotions: What Drives Our Wallets," Sometimes, strong emotions lead to rash decisions like impulse buys or selling investments in a panic. Mindfulness helps us step back and be present with our finances. By understanding our emotional triggers and spending habits, we can make smarter choices. Mindfulness helps us tell the difference between needs and wants, and react calmly to financial situations. This lets us make strategic decisions aligned with our long-term goals, not fleeting feelings. We are now in July with six months left until 2024 is a wrap; five months if we do not count July. We have been achieving great work together on our mental and emotional well-being using mindfulness as the vehicle driving the change. Now let's turn back to our wallets. How have you been doing financially?


If you have been making regular and good use of the mindfulness practices and exercises that I have shared with you over the last few months, you may find that you are ready to truly revisit your money from a more relaxed, present focused mindset. Here are three steps to implement starting today.



1. Build a Budget

Knowledge is power. Gaining a clear understanding of your current financial situation is powerful. Pull up your banking and credit card statements for June. Continue to work your way backwards to the past month. Then the month before. Now tell me. Where has your money been going? My credit card categorizes my spending for me. Check your credit and debit card and see if yours does the same. If not, you are going to have to sit down pen to paper or mouse click to Excel spreadsheet. Include essentials like rent and groceries, as well as discretionary spending on entertainment or dining out. By identifying areas where you can cut back and allocating funds strategically, you gain clarity and control over your financial situation.



2.  Learn Money Management

Educate yourself on smart money management strategies like saving for emergencies, paying down debt, and investing for the future. There are countless resources available online, in libraries, or through community workshops. The more you know, the more confident you'll feel in making informed financial decisions. Here are a few resources that I have personally enjoyed:

Affiliate Links to Follow:

"Rich Dad Poor Dad" by Robert T. Kiyosaki - This book help me ignite the fire to begin investing in stocks and mutual funds. I was a humble state employee working in the foster care system earning a meager salary that was just enough to keep the lights on. I read this book and took the leap into investing. This book was so impactful to me, I gave it to one of my foster youth before he aged out of foster care and practically begged him to read it. He took it with him to basic training when he joined the marines. I hope it served him well. In this book you will encounter challenges to any conventional beliefs you may hold about money.

"I Will Teach You to Be Rich" by Ramit Sethi - I have quoted from this one before here at EnvisionCo Blog. It is where I was first introduced to the concept of guilt free spending money. That concept has truly made my budgeting experience more enjoyable. In this book you will learn about personal finance with actionable steps on budgeting, investing, and building wealth.

"The Psychology of Money" by Morgan Housel - Quoted in this article, this book is not a traditional personal finance book. Instead, it focuses on the psychology of money and how our thoughts and behaviors can impact our financial decisions. This book is a great read for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of why we make the financial decisions we do.



3. Find Extra Income

Now for a dose of reality. No budget in the world will make up for insufficient income. The reality for some of us is that no matter how many Starbucks lattes we cut out of our budgets or no matter how many streaming platforms we cancel subscriptions to, we still end up with more month than money. Sometimes one income source is not enough. In fact, a very famous quote from Dr. Lynn Richarson that I swear by is, "One stream of income is hazardous to your wealth." Look for ways to bring in more money. Consider starting a side hustle, monetizing a hobby, or negotiating a raise at your current job. Every extra dollar you earn can make a big difference in building your financial security. For many of you out there with lives and families outside of work, time is an issue. You don't have time to be both wife and mother or husband and father and work an additional job. I will share below some things I have been using to help put a few extra dollars in my wallet.


Upside

I have been an "Upsider" for about two years now. What I have enjoyed most about using the app is its simplicity. Upside is an app that partners with businesses across the U.S. to offer exclusive cash-back opportunities. Though you will find some grocery stores and restaurants listed inside the app, Upside is primarily known for helping customers save at gas stations. Upside helps you fight rising gas prices! By using their app at participating stations, you can earn cash back on every gallon you pump. For example, one offer might be 12 cents per gallon. I can honestly say that I have received as high as 14 cents per gallon. Another great feature of Upside is the ability to double dip. You can claim an Upside offer while paying with a cash-back credit card and participating in store loyalty programs.

By using Upside consistently and strategically, you can easily earn at least a tank of gas or more. Here's how it works:


Sign up with my Upside referral link.

2.

Enter promo code NT3G8 to get an extra $0.15/gal bonus on your first purchase.

3.

Link your credit or debit card to the app (I only use a credit card, which I’ll explain later in this article).

4.

Search the app for offers at gas stations and restaurants.

5.

Check-in on the app when you arrive at a participating location.

6.

Use your linked card to make your purchase (make sure to use the same card you linked to the app).

7.

Upload a copy of your receipt to the app (though, if you check-in/claim the offer, it rarely asks for a receipt).

You'll receive cash back that you can transfer directly to your bank account, PayPal account, or exchange for gift cards. I have shared this offer before and am bringing it to you all again because it works! I live in a rural area which has made it a bit trickier to find participating gas stations and restaurants, but I’ve managed to make it work. In fact, on February 22, 2024, I was able to cash out from Upside to my bank account $82.35. Currently, my account balance on Upside is back up to $15.48. Again, I'm in the rural so I am not breaking the bank, but every little bit helps. Sign-up with my Upside referral link. Input promo code NT3G8 to get an extra $0.15/gal bonus the first time you make a purchase. If you happen to see this, sign-up, and spend $10 by 07/07/2024, Upside will credit us both with a one-time additional $5.00. https://upside.app.link/NT3G8


Disclaimer: I will receive a nod from Upside for any person who signs up using my link/promo code. However, once you have signed up, you too will be assigned a referral link/promo code and will have the ability to refer others too.



Swagbucks

I have been a "Swagbucker" since July 2013. (July really does seem to be the month that I go all in on setting myself up for financial success.) Honestly, I haven't fully utilized Swagbucks to its potential; otherwise, I would have earned much more than I have. Initially, Swagbucks started as a survey company—surveys were big business because companies value your opinions and are willing to pay for them. However, I rarely use the survey feature. Instead, I mainly earn free gift cards and cash for everyday activities I was already planning to do. For example, if I want to make a purchase on Amazon or Walmart, or book a hotel, I simply search for them on Swagbucks and get rewarded for making purchases through their links. There are several other ways to earn Swagbucks (SB). You can shop in-store or online and upload your receipts, watch videos, play games, participate in daily trivia, use Swagbucks as your search engine, answer surveys, refer others, and find great deals to earn points. These points can then be redeemed for gift cards from retailers like Amazon or Walmart, or for cash back via PayPal. On February 20, 2024, I cashed out $100 to my PayPal. To get started, use my Swagbucks referral link and we both will earn a bonus of 300 SB. If the URL link doesn't work, simply copy and paste the following into your browser: https://www.swagbucks.com/profile/tecianay?rp=1


Disclaimer: I receive SB directly from Swagbucks for each person who signs up using my link. Once you sign up, you'll also receive a unique referral link to earn SB for each person you refer.



Chase Visa

Yes, I have included a credit card (which is debt I know but bear with me). There is a responsible way to use a credit card. Personally, I use my Chase credit card to pay things I already have to pay for each month (gas, grocery, car insurance, cell phone bill, etc.) Rather than use cash or checks, I pay my bills with my credit card. Why is that? Cash back rewards. With my particular card, I earn 1% cash back for all purchases. Every quarter, I can earn 5% cash back on bonus categories selected by my card company. If you sign up using my Chase referral link, I will earn $50 if you get approved for a card. There are also perks for you. Select the card that fits your lifestyle (they have four different ones you can choose from). I know one of the 4 cards offers that you can and you earn to $200 when you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from opening an account. https://www.referyourchasecard.com/18j/SAY1SKYQB4


With my Chase card, one of the things that I greatly appreciate is the ability to monitor my credit for free. But there is another thing that I like even more. Remember when I introduced you to Upside, I mentioned that we would talk more about how I link my credit card to upside to use? The card I primarily use is my Chase card. So not only do I earn cash back rewards with Upside, but I also earn cash back rewards on my credit card. And get this. There are quarters in which Chase selects gas stations for the bonus 5% cash back. So I'm earning both ways.


Disclaimer: Now if you do not have the willpower to not go on a swiping frenzy, please do not sign up for this offer. The bonus cash isn't worth the risk if you don't have the willpower to only use the card for gas and utilities.



SoFI

I almost feel that this offer needs no introduction because I have been hounding both my readers here and my followers on Facebook about this ALL YEAR LONG! I cannot promise that you will see large sums of money when you first start out because most likely you will not. I ask that you do see the long-term picture not the short-term picture. I have said it so many times and I will say it again here: Pennies makes dollars and dollars makes sense. To quote Morgan Housel, author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Psychology of Money:

"Past a certain level of income, what you need is just what sits below your ego. Everyone needs the basics. Once they're covered there's another level of comfortable basics, and past that there's basics that are both comfortable, entertaining, and enlightening....Savings without a spending goal gives you options and flexibility, the ability to wait and the opportunity to pounce. It gives you time to think. It lets you change course on your terms. Every bit of savings is like taking a point in the future that would have been owned by someone else and giving it back to yourself. That flexibility and control over your time is an unseen return on wealth."

As of the writing of this article, with the SoFi Checking and Savings, you can earn up to 4.6% APY and pay no account fees. When you use my SoFi Checking and Savings referral link you'll get a $25 bonus. SoFi also has an investing option. I personally hold my non-dividend paying stocks in my SoFi Invest account which I have had since June 2022. The amazing thing about SoFi Invest is that you can buy and sell stocks (or even pieces of stocks) with zero fees. My SoFi Invest comes with its own unique referral id link. When you use my SoFi referral link and open an active investing account with $10 or more, you'll get $25 in stock.


Disclaimer: SoFi does reward account holders for sharing with their friends and networks. The bonuses have shifted from month to month but as of the writing of this article I will receive 7,500 rewards points for any friend who signs up with my SoFi Checking and Savings account link. For any friend who signs up with my Sofi Invest link I will receive $50 in stocks.



I feel it in my bones that this is a good wrap up point before I completely lose you. I'd like to hear your thoughts. How have you been doing with budgeting this year? What has your mindfulness practice done to help with calming financial worries? What patterns have you been noticing? Have you read any of the books listed in this article? Are there any books that you have read that has helped increase your financial literacy that are not on this list? Please take this time to share your insights in the comment section below.


Taking proactive steps towards financial empowerment allows you to break free from the cycle of financial stress. By implementing a mindfulness program that helps relax and calm you; helps you focus on the here and now without being flooded by anxieties and fears; and helps grounds you to be more open to new ways of handling your finances, you will gain confidence in navigating tough financial situations. Each decision made with awareness and intention moves you closer to achieving financial stability and improving your overall well-being. Please remember though. Wherever you are on this wellness journey, do not worry about getting it perfect; just get it going. Until next time. Happy reading!


Oh, before I forget. Here's a reminder of an upcoming webinar/fireside chat on burnout. Click here to register.

In today's high-pressure environment, managing stress and avoiding burnout has become more crucial than ever. It involves our very health! On July 27, 2024 at 6:00pm CST, we will be hosting a fireside chat of sorts delving into stress, burnout, and solutions to regain balance and maintain your well-being. Whether you're facing the demands of a challenging career, juggling family responsibilities, or simply seeking ways to improve your quality of life, this webinar offers invaluable insights and tools to help you thrive. Join us by registering here.




"Save. Just save. You don't need a specific reason to save." ~Morgan Housel
 

Here at EnvisionCo Blog, we try to keep ads to a minimum making our blog entirely reader-supported. We may feature links on this site for additional informational purposes. From time to time, we may feature other links which are affiliate links (and these will be clearly marked). When you click through an affiliate link on our site and sign up for a service or finalize a purchase, we may earn affiliate commissions. This is of course at no additional cost to you. However, if you like what you see and would like to make a donation to help us keep ads to a minimum, we would greatly appreciate it! Nothing fancy. We accept the price of a cup coffee with as much gratitude as we would the price of a tank of gas!



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