A poverty mindset is why most of the people who win big in the lottery, spend all of their money within the first two years of winning. A poverty mindset is why we become trapped in jobs that we hate; we have been living check to check and are afraid to make a change. Or we do not know where to go.
A poverty mindset is also how we end up online looking for ways to “get rich quick”. We know, deep in our heart’s, that this is not how we should be looking at life, and yet we do. We hope that we will stumble upon a way to make a ton of money in 30 days and all of our problems will be solved!
But like the people who blow through their lottery winnings in less than 700 days, this is less about solving problems and more about the mindset that created the problem in the first place. If your parents struggled financially at all, or you heard things like “we cannot afford that right now”, you may have a poverty mindset.
Well, the good news is that you can change your mind! You have the power to stop doing the things that you do that caused you to be watching late night informercials about programs that can help you earn $100,000 in 6 months, or a website that promises that you will earn $10K in 30 days or your money back!
With a little bit of homework, and some determination to change things in your life, you too can have peace of mind when it comes to your finances. Let’s get started…
Accept responsibility for your own life
We can blame our parents, but they were doing the best that they could with what they knew. Blame gets us nowhere, and it will not change your circumstances. I had a seriously hard time with this part, and I still fight those voices, but it gets easier every day and only I can do it.
So, accept that you have a problem, and decide that you are ready to change things in your life for the better, and move forward!
The first place that we want to look at it is the stories in your life about money. The voices that you hear inside your head that say “money does not grow on trees” or “we cannot afford that right now” or _____ whatever your story is. You need to write these down and then change them to a positive statement. Money doesn’t grow on trees becomes there is always enough money; and we cannot afford that right now becomes I always have more than enough money to enjoy life!
Changing the stories and relationships that we have towards money is crucial to improving your circumstances. But only you can do this. Find people that you want to emulate, and read up on how they became successful. Read books like “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill or “Success Principles” by Jack Canfield or pretty much anything by Tony Robbins. Find a mentor anywhere you can…someone with positive stories about money.
Start looking around your home for things that you no longer use and can sell. Find facebook buy and sell groups and start posting. Not only does this help de-clutter your home, but your stuff will go to someone who will use it. This can be an ongoing project. I found that I could not part with some things right away, but 6 months down the road when I was feeling better about my life, I could get rid of it.
Pare down your “stuff” to the amount that you need as opposed to the amount that you want. I do not suggest that you get rid of things that are near and dear because you need the money, because that is still part of the poverty mindset. You do not want to deal with a bunch of regret later. Realize that we live in a world of too much stuff, and resolve to back away from that kind of thinking.
Start thinking in terms of a wealth mind-set
If you tend to spend money unwisely, see if you can get to the root cause. Do you “treat” yourself a lot? Do you buy things for some future project that never happens? Do you drive around aimlessly and then have to fill up your vehicle gas tank again? Do you think you deserve _______ just because?
Look into the areas that are problematic for you. I know that you know what they are. Choose to think about what they mean. Perhaps you buy yourself a coffee at the local barista because you work hard and deserve it! That may be true, but how much money are you spending on this little treat every day? How many days per month do you treat yourself? Then total up that amount of money, and multiply by 12. Is that amount equal to a vacation? A car payment? A new sofa?
Choose to stop spending money. Look at what you have in your cupboards or freezer and decide not to buy anymore food until you have eaten what you already have. Stop buying yourself “toys” or junk food or movie tickets until you have your spending under control. Stop looking at today and start looking at a bigger picture! Like Tom Hardy’s character in Inception said “Don’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling!”.
And once you have a grip on that, decide to start saving money. I know the rule is to pay yourself first, but that will become easier later when you have stopped some bad habits and gotten ahead a bit. Instead, just start the practice of adding to your savings. 5 dollars here, 10 dollars there. And when you look at your savings account, tell yourself “there’s more where that came from!”. When your spending is more in control, start to put away 10% of your income into that savings account.
A SAVINGS ACCOUNT?
Yes, you too can have a savings account! Put some money in there and leave it alone! Let it build up into a little fund for new tires, a winter coat, or some new sheets for your bed. Don’t go crazy spending this money because it is there. Take a little out for something once in a while, but keep adding to it. You will be amazed at how good it feels to look in your bank account and see that money, and you can be proud that you put it there! You! All by yourself!!
Once you have your spending controlled, and your savings building up, your next task is to find places to give your money to. I know this may sound crazy, but money is fluid. If it flows to you, it must be able to flow away from you as well. If you hoard it, you work against abundance. Instead, give your money to people or things that give you joy. If you really believe in helping stray pets, then give to the local animal shelter. If you want to help those less fortunate, give food to the food banks.
Give willingly and with a glad heart, knowing that whatever you give will come back to you in greater and greater amounts. If you read the books by Napoleon Hill or Jack Canfield, then you will know that giving is the best way to receive.
I grew up with very little education in handling money, and no information about what to do when you do not have a steady amount of money coming in every two weeks, or how to plan for the future. All I got was “learn to save your money” and “don’t use credit cards”. Not helpful when you live in a community with a lot of seasonal work.
I have had to put all of these principles to work in my own life, while learning how to blog, and dealing with a limited amount of money while I have been partially disabled by work. I am here to tell you that there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is not the the train! Make the decision to change your life and your way of looking at money. You can do it!!
If you like what you are reading, please consider sharing this post with anyone that you think can benefit from this information. While it is no a comprehensive article, it is a jumping off point for thinking about why you are where you are at and what you might be able to do to help yourself, and by extension, others.
Please comment in the box below and share your stories of how you changed your money mindset despite what was going on in your life!