Have you heard of hygge? It’s a Danish concept (derived from the Old Norse term for “comfort”) of coziness and contentment that grew majorly popular in the U.S. back in 2016.
The Danes practice implementing hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) in multiple facets of their lives. (Maybe that’s why they’re known as one of the happiest countries on Earth.) It’s a lifestyle, as well as a mindset, that focuses on relishing the little joys in life — like warm flickering candles, plush blankets, and thick wool socks in the winter.
While hygge celebrates the uncoupling of wealth and wellbeing, taking a hygge approach towards your finances may help you experience a sense of comfort in an area of your life that can bring on feelings that are anything but comfortable.
Financial anxiety is a common phenomenon, and 85% of Americans have experienced it at one point or another. Rather than let discomfort and dread define your relationship with money, try implementing these hygge–inspired strategies to find financial fulfillment.
Look your finances in the face.
Do you deal with financial stress through denial and avoidance? As in skipping out on checking your account balances, not speaking about money, or even avoiding looking at a bill for longer than it takes to pay. These tactics often lead to greater stress and feeling less in control, creating a tough cycle to break.
The first step to hygge-ing your finances is to face them straight on. Checking your bank account and statements can be uncomfortable, but when you know what money you have and what you owe (whether it’s student debt, credit card bills, or monthly car payments), you can gain confidence and control over your wealth.
Start by scheduling regular money check-ins, possibly weekly or bi-weekly, at the same time and place. This is a time to set financial goals, determine your spending wants and needs, and reflect on your expenses. Rather than thinking of the task as a chore, try making it a positive experience. Implement facets of hygge (light a candle, sit on a cozy couch, grab a warm drink) to create a relaxed and safe environment.
You’ll find that the more you interact with your finances, the less scary facing them becomes, and the more empowered you are to make changes, set goals, and find financial wellbeing.
Make a savings and spending plan.
Once you’ve established routine check-ins with your finances, create a budget or financial plan. (Consider the 50/30/20 plan, which is popular because it’s less complicated and easy to stick to.) Not only will a budget help keep your financial goals on track, it provides you a point of reference to guide your spending, so you won’t have to question in the moment whether or not you can afford something.
A budget can give you the confidence to spend wisely. But don’t forget hygge while you plan and allow yourself small, mindful indulgences every once in a while. Completely depriving yourself of the things you love can lead to costly, repeated splurges — which can throw your whole financial plan off and leave you feeling out of control.
Remember to provide yourself some wiggle room and know that no budget is perfect — and that’s alright. Forgiveness is an important tenet of hygge. Being able to forgive yourself for small financial slip-ups can help ease the anxiety associated with spending money.
Gratitude before greed
We live in a society that often takes on the mindset of “more, more, more.” Because of this, it’s easy to look at your finances and think “I don’t have enough” or “why does that person have so much more than me?” These feelings can lead to resentment, shame, and overall unhappiness. But a little change in attitude can make a big difference.
Hygge culture doesn’t encourage going without, but celebrates being thankful and content with what you already have. Practicing gratitude toward the money you already have — and recognizing that you worked hard for it! — can help you have a more positive, less hostile, relationship with your finances.
The Danish hygge lifestyle is all about finding comfort, joy, and warmth in a world that can be, let’s be honest, harsh at times. And though sweatpants and hot cocoa may not be the keys to financial wellbeing, the concepts of hygge (like forgiveness and gratitude) are essential to creating a strong and positive relationship with your money — in which you feel confident, in control, and ready to achieve financial freedom.
- What areas of your financial life cause you stress or anxiety? What areas make you feel confident and in control?
- What does financial stress feel like to you, and how do you deal with it?
- How do you plan to implement concepts of hygge in your day-to-day financial life?