Money is often a source of stress, fear, and limitation, so it consequently makes us operate from a mental space that leaves us with undesirable results.
Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone.
We all have our own money beliefs that we have internalized over time.
The stories we tell ourselves about money, often subconscious, impact the way we approach earning, saving, spending, and investing in our lives. They can limit our ability to make changes in our finances. We struggle to spend less, we constantly stress about money even when we shouldn’t.
Both good and bad financial habits are deeply rooted in your money mindset.
Simply put, your money mindset is very crucial to how you interact with money. So, what is money mindset anyways?
What is a money mindset?
A money mindset is your unique and individual set of core beliefs - usually subconscious - about money.
It shapes how much you think you’re allowed or entitled to earn, what you believe you can do with your money, how much and how you can spend, your confidence to invest, how much you give away, your attitude toward people who make more and less than you, and so much more.
If your money mindset sounds something like: “Rich people are greedy”, “Someone else will manage this for me”, “I am not privileged enough”, this is a mindset of scarcity. It is a limiting mindset which hinders you from having true wealth. If that is you, you are not alone. And you’re not royally screwed either.
What’s incredible about our money mindset is that it resides in our unconscious mind, dormant. But as we become intentional about our thoughts, feelings, and interactions with money, we gain awareness and can gradually reprogram these limiting beliefs around money.
You can strive for an abundance mindset of appreciation, generosity, and confidence.
Here’s how you can improve your money mindset on your road to financial freedom.
7 Ways To Change Your Money Mindset
- Develop awareness
- Read books that will improve your thinking
- Visualize your future
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Face your fears
- Forgive your money mistakes
- Spread the wealth
1. Develop awareness
When you go for meals with friends – do you always pick up the bill? Never pick it up?
When you get paid do you feel like you need to spend it or save it all?
How do you feel when you have to ask for money such as when negotiating salary or prices, or invoicing a client? Do you get tense?
Actively try to notice your thoughts about, and interactions with money. How you think about money will influence how you feel around, and consequently how you interact with it.
As you become more aware of your mindset, you’ll encounter your own limiting beliefs and negative money scripts that are keeping you stuck and small.
If that's you, you're not alone.
It's perfectly normal. We all have limiting money beliefs. The difference, however, is in how we choose to respond to the beliefs that are preventing you from feeling more abundant. We need to continually uncover these limiting beliefs and reprogram them so we can build a healthier and more confident relationship with money.
Now it's your turn. These practices can help:
Money Mindset Prompts
A helpful exercise to turn your insight into action is to write down your thoughts on these questions
- What did I hear and see about money growing up?
- Did my parents save money, how did they do it?
- How did my parents spend money?
- Did the people in my life talk about money calmly, or was there always tension?
- Do I save? How did I learn how to save?
- Do I invest my money - why or why not?
- Do I donate - why or why not?
- Have I ever asked for a raise at work - why or why not?
Rewrite your limiting beliefs
After exploring some of your core beliefs and attitudes about money, write down 5 of your limiting beliefs, then rewrite them as positive affirmations.
Example Belief: I am bad with money because my family just isn’t the type that’s very good with it.
Example Affirmation: I successfully manage my money and have transformed my family pattern of money mismanagement. I am using my resources to take good care of myself and my family and to do good in the world.
2. Read books that will improve your thinking
I know, I know...
You might be thinking, how am I supposed to set aside time to read books when I have very real money needs to work out? Shouldn't I prioritize those?
Look. I get it, but here's the thing: The right books will motivate and inspire you daily, influencing and challenging you with new perspectives and ideas to reprogram the way you think.
Personal development books often promote the power of positive affirmations which studies have found to motivate you and boost your self-esteem. Among wealthy people, 88 percent read 30 minutes or more for self-improvement every day. This is according to Thomas Corley, author of ‘Rich Habits’ which is based on a 5-year study of self-made millionaires.
3. Visualize your future
If you’re anything like me, you probably have big dreams and goals for your life. You can visualize them, and you’re constantly working your butt off to try to reach them.
Maybe these visions or goals seem like they're beyond your reach - beyond what you think you are capable of today. But you still keep visualizing them.
Do you feel this way sometimes? Yes? Great! Keep visualizing your dreams.
Mohammed Ali, the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time is famously known to have said, “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, our goals and dreams often intersect with aspirations to grow our wealth because these dreams often can only be achieved if we have the financial capacity to make them happen.
Take that dream and let it fuel your determination to be wealthy. Make a decision to be financially secure, and commit to the journey. Unless you believe that you can and will be wealthy, you probably won’t be inclined to take any action.
4. Stop comparing yourself
Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.
I know, it is easy to compare our financial situations to those of our families, friends, or neighbors. Turns out there's a psychological aspect to this social pressure. Some psychologists call it the herd instinct. Basically, our brains are designed to try to make us fit in.
But remember how we talked about being aware of your thoughts on money? Well, this is something to be aware of. Try to be aware of your spending and really ask yourself why you are spending - is it because of feelings of lack or envy or wanting to fit in? Or is it based on your true needs and wants which tie to your financial goals?
Related: 5 Signs that you are living beyond your means
5. Face your fears
You, me, and every other human being has fears. Anxiety and fear are normal when you want to accomplish something, especially something big.
There's the fear of change, fear of failure, fear of the unknown...so many fears! And sometimes they can be overwhelming and hold you back - stop you dead in your tracks.
Hey, we’ve all been there! But every time this happens, even though it might not always feel like it, you have a choice. A choice to embrace your fears or to let them keep you stuck and small.
A practical way to counter fear is to take an actionable step, no matter how small, toward your goal.
For example, if you’re afraid you will never be able to save up for your emergency fund, make a deposit, however small, right now.
Go on, do it. Really.
Commit to taking small steps and don’t hit the snooze button on your financials. Before you know it, you will have made huge progress!
6. Forgive your money mistakes
Money mistakes. Each one of us has them - it is a part of financial maturity.
You might find yourself in a hot mess because you hit the snooze button on your finances, or felt too embarrassed to ask for help.
It is ok. Very few of us were taught anything about proper money management from our parents or schools. So we learn by trial and error. Let go of the past and release any shame, guilt, or stress that you’re feeling.
7. Spread the wealth
In a 2006 study, the National Institutes of Health found that when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect.
Who would have thought?! Giving is in our biology.
When you are generous, even with very little, you reinforce the thinking that there is plenty to go around. Sound familiar? This is the abundance mindset. And we want that.
And you know what else?
Giving evokes feelings of gratitude - whether you’re on the giving or receiving end. And gratitude drives contentment in our lives, which is key to reframing how we think about spending. It also helps us truly appreciate how much we have instead of focusing on what we don’t.
Astonishing, isn't it?
Sometimes we just need to write ourselves a fat reality check!
As Oprah put it, “Be thankful for what you have. You’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough.”
So hey, why not give it a try?
Your money mindset can subconsciously negatively impact your relationship with money. But your mindset is not fixed. You have the power to reprogram it.
Every single day you have the power to make decisions that will move you forward financially or set you back. If your goal is to enjoy a more joyful, abundant, and confident relationship with your money, it’s time to get started.
You can choose to take control of your money – here and today.