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Spending Smart: Break the Spell of Spending Mindlessly

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By Gregory Karp

“The recent recession forced many consumers to re-evaluate how they approach their financial situations,” the study says. Four in 10 consumers are saving more today than they did during the recession because they’re spending less, it found.

Ultimately, however, the answer to how Americans spend their money doesn’t matter to individuals. That’s because personal finance, is, well, personal.

So, the better question is: Are you spending your money the way you want to — on purpose, rather than by accident and habit? Assuming you’re not scraping by just to put food on the table, does your spending match your priorities and your personal values?

“It’s not necessarily ‘Buy nothing,’ ” Philleo says of mindful spending. “It’s ‘Buy differently.’ ” Maybe you value environmentally friendly products or those made in the USA or items produced locally. Maybe you would like a tropical vacation more than eating every lunch and dinner at a restaurant. Maybe you would trade off some consumption to work less.

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