Poverty Mindset

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. (You may have a poverty mindset if… thanks Jeff Foxworthy, you are now in my head lol)

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

Yes, let’s start with the worst job first and get past it. 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 with whatever you think is holding you back, and decide that you are ready to change things in your life for the better, and move forward! You will be amazed at how freeing it is!

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 inspirational books like “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill or “Success Principles” by Jack Canfield or “Awaken the Giant Within” or pretty much anything by Tony Robbins. These authors can be your mentors while you are seeking out local people who have amazing lives that you want to imitate, which is the sincerest form of flattery right?

 Change your Poverty Mindset
PIN IT!! Change your Poverty Mindset


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.


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.

Final Thoughts

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!


Irma ๐Ÿ™‚

Poverty Mindset

12 thoughts on “Poverty Mindset”

  1. Irma, that’s me too. I grew up in a family that didn’t have a lot of education on money management so they didn’t have much to share with me. Great post.

    • Hello Terrie, and thank you for visiting us today!

      And thank you for your comments. Not a lot of people want to talk about this subject, but so many people have a poverty mindset. Once you start to change it, so many opportunities open up!

      -Irma ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hi,
    I appreciate what you are saying but what about the people who struggle to make ends meet? Those who do not buy fancy coffee and still cannot save? How do they find abundance?

    • Hi Anita and thank you for visiting today!

      Well, that was me, not long ago. I had to sacrifice all treat-like items in my life, while focusing on abundance-thinking. It took a few months to start making some headway. I had to put the extra money on paying ahead on electricity and phone bills. It forced me to really limit how I spent money and on what I did spend. I cut way back on shopping, only buying the bare minimum.

      As soon as I could, I put $20 away in a stash area and focused on that; every time I looked at that money and thought about spending it, I didn’t. I told myself “I always have enough money” and as long as I did not spend that $20 before my next payday, it was the truth! And as soon as I got a bit further ahead, I added an extra $10. It is vital to stay positive and be grateful if you can even put $5 in a stash.

      It takes time to unlearn bad money habits, and replace them with good habits. We have to face the fact that if we had good habits, we would have all the money that we need. We are not bad or stupid, we just have a limited way of thinking that does not serve us. And we have the power to change our thinking anytime we want!

      Irma ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Hi Irma,
    I like a lot what you write here. Me too had to change my habits of spending money and my attitude. Before you heard me say, cant buy, not enough money a lot. Now I say, Money is not the problem but I don’t need to buy this at the moment. Many people call me stingy now but when it comes to eating at my full table they are happily joining. I like to keep my money at home and have a look at it sometimes and enjoy the fact that it gets more.
    Thanks for the post and all the good for you

    • Hi Stefan and thanks for visiting!

      Yes, I look at what I am considering buying “on impulse” (a good sale, a frivolous item) and ask myself why I want it. Do I need it? Will it benefit my life in some way or bring me joy? If I think for even one second that the item will not be used or it is part of my bad habits, then I do not buy. And I find that to be very freeing!

      Also, we have switched over to eating low carb, which is basically just meat and vegetables. People think it would be more expensive, but really you eat a lot less often. Most days I just have coffee in the morning and eat once in the afternoon. Much cheaper and feel healthier.

      Irma ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. This is a great post.

    It truly is about ‘mindset’ and this applies to anything, not just money. When I lost almost 50lbs (Yes, I did), I had to change my lifestyle – I had to change the way I thought about food. It was not easy at first; I almost gave up after a month! But then I persevered (thanks a lot to my wife) and I ended up losing all the weight I wanted to (and more).

    I believe the same applies to ‘becoming wealthy’. Habits have to be developed; a new mindset is required. One has to train themselves so they can get out of that ‘poverty-mindset’.

    Again, this is a great post.

    • Hello Marco and thank you for visiting today!

      And thank you for your kind words! Yes, it is just like changing the way you eat and move to lose weight. Believing you can and taking steps – even if they are one at a time – will add up to the results that you want.

      Almost giving up is our old way of thinking trying to keep us from the “pain” of changing. Our mind perceives that we are doing ok where we are, and yet we are unhappy where we are! Along with other steps, like learning to really love ourselves, we can move mountains!

      Irma ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I totally and wholeheartedly agree with this article. Poverty is a mindset. While there are people who are dealing with extenuating circumstances that they cannot immediately overcome, for example, the people in Sudan or Syria. Generally, speaking, poverty is indeed a mindset. Your lottery example was a perfect choice to illustrate this point. Having money and having a wealth mindset are two completely different things.

    I believe a poverty mindset stems from a feeling of lack, of not being enough, of believing that we do not have the power within us to make a difference in our lives. If we constantly believe that some external force – government, job, winning the lottery, etc. – will make us financially happy then we are totally of course. Your point on accepting responsibility for our lives is where it all starts. We are in control of our destinies.

    • Hello Kevon and thank you for visiting today!

      Indeed! And I know that there are people living in the worst circumstances imaginable, especially the unfortunate people who have been hit with hurricanes lately! I do not include them or the people living among wars and famine.

      The biggest crime of this century is allowing people to use the word CAN’T. Can’t afford, can’t change, can’t believe…I think it is our duty to tell our children, and anyone else, that you CAN do whatever you believe that you can do. We just have to ask ourselves why we cannot do something and then look at all the ways that we can do something until we are successful!

      Irma ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Hi Irma,
    You hit my head hard with a bunch of nails. This is my current situation as you mention in the article. Before qualified for a credit card, I used to save money and used cash very often. Now, I have a credit card with several thousand credit limited. One thing I come to know that I started compile credit debt.
    After reading this article, I plan to go back to the idea of โ€œlearn to save your moneyโ€ and โ€œdonโ€™t use credit cardsโ€.
    Thank for sharing.

    • Hello Maun, and thank you for visiting today!

      Credit card debt is so easy to accumulate! I know that my daughter was told to get a credit card to build her credit history, but the truth is, if you have money, you do not need credit!

      There are several programs out there that help people not only get out of debt faster but they teach how to only spend what you already have to get the things that you need. For example, buying the best car that you can afford with cash, and then saving the money that you would put into a car payment, and using that money to upgrade to the next best car that you can pay cash for.

      You are fortunate that you already know how to save, so you can go back to that way of life.

      Irma ๐Ÿ™‚

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