Escape from your poverty state of mind is easier than you may think. If you are wondering why success is being elusive, you may have some “stinkin’ thinkin”” to fix.
I grew up with very little education in handling money, and a lot of money blocks and bad spending habits. I lived where work is seasonal, which made saving difficult.
I learned how to fix my poverty state of mind, with a few simple tricks. I will share them with you so that you can succeed as well.
This post was originally published October 2nd, 2017 and has been updated to be current with new information. This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Full disclosure is here.
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So What Is A “Poverty State of Mind”?
A poverty state of mind is:
- Why most of the people who win big in the lottery are broke within the first two years of winning.
- How we become trapped in jobs that we hate
- The reason that we have been living check to check and are afraid to make a change. Or we do not know where to go.
- 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!
No one wants to believe that they will blow through their lottery winnings in less than 700 days. But it happens all the time.
Mostly it is because we do not know how to spend money.
Yes, that does sound cray-cray. I laughed so hard the first time this concept was introduced to me as well. I mean c’mon…who doesn’t know how to spend money??
What I mean is that we do not know how to spend strategically.
You may want to be wealthy, but do you handle your money in a way that proves that…to yourself?
This is less about solving financial troubles and more about the mindset that created them in the first place.
Well, the good news is that you can change your mind!
You have the power to fix your poverty state of mind. You can stop doing the things that you do that caused you to be watching late night infomercials 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 That You May Have Poverty Mindset
If you don’t know that you have a problem, how can you fix it?? Yes, it’s all about personal responsibility.
So 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.
Make a list of any “poverty mindset” statements that you heard growing up. They might be like:
- We cannot afford that right now
- Money doesn’t grow on trees
- Rich people got rich by stealing from the poor
- We shop at the thrift store because I like a bargain (may be true, but still…always?)
I heard plenty of these statements growing up, and they do serious damage.
Those false statements take hold in your brain, and become “true” for you.
No matter what you may want, your programming dictates whether you can get it or not.
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. Then 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!
Fixing Your Poverty Mentality
Did you write down your “money stories”? We need them for this next part.
Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Write down your “money stories” in the left side column. In the right side column, I want you to either:
- Write an opposite, positive statement to counter act the negative
- Or think of why the negative statement is not true, and write down the reasons
Sometimes people are raised with poverty thinking statements, only for circumstances to change for the better. But that old mindset remains.
Positive statements to counter negative can be:
Money doesn’t grow on trees becomes there is always enough money
We cannot afford that right now becomes I always have more than enough money to enjoy life!
You must change your money stories to improve your circumstances.
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
- Success Principles by Jack Canfield
- 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.
Look At How You Spend Your Money
Start looking around your home for things that you no longer use and can sell.
- Are any of the items “impulse purchases”?
- Did you use the item more than once?
- Or did you not get around to fixing that thing that you bought parts for?
This is part of spending unwisely.
Many people who come into a large sum of money impulsively buy. And buy.
They buy a house for themselves, maybe a vehicle or two. and plenty of new stuff. They throw lavish parties. Vacations are plentiful and they bankroll others to bring them along.
And one day they go to buy something, like another car, only to find that the money is gone.
I saw this personally when a friend of a friend got a big cash settlement. This guy bought a new car, partied ‘er up, and crashed the car. Rinse, repeat. He went to buy a new car but his bank account said “Sorry. Closed”
Buying things that you don’t use means that there is another issue at work for you.
It could be spending out of loneliness, which you see often with hoarders on TV.
If you are getting rid of your “gently used” stuff, good on you! Try to sell it if you can. If it can’t be sold, then give it away.
Facebook Marketplace is a great resource. People will buy lots of items that you might think of as worthless.
Give it a shot first. Take a few photos and put up an ad. You might be surprised.
Not only does this help declutter your home, but your stuff will go to someone who will use it.
Decluttering gives you a chance to look at things that you buy.
If it looks like you have plenty of new stuff for projects that were not completed, this is valuable information.
- You might need to look at how much time you really have.
- Or why you don’t finish projects.
This should be an ongoing project, but I will warn you: decluttering can be cumbersome if you have a lot to sort through.
I had a lot of stuff from moving twice.
I did not have good decluttering skills, so junk just kept moving with me.
I tried decluttering before my last move. I do not recommend decluttering when you are stressed. I was throwing stuff away without thinking, just to get rid of it. #mistake
Do your decluttering out of a genuine need to tidy up. And be prepared for many afternoons of looking at “stuff”.
I highly recommend Marie Kondo’s book “The Magic of Tidying Up”.
Marie has you touch everything, to see if it is important to you, before you throw it away.
This is a valuable part of this process. Keep what matters, at least for now. You can still throw it away later if you want.
And do your decluttering because you want to discover what really matters to you.
Please don’t wait to declutter until the moving truck is outside. You will keep things that you don’t need, while throwing away items that you do need.
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.
FYI: I do not suggest that you get rid of things that are near and dear because you “need the money”. 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.
Create A Wealth Mindset
If you tend to spend money unwisely, see if you can get to the root cause.
- Do you “treat” yourself a lot?
- Are you buy things for some future project that never happens?
- Is it fun for you to drive around aimlessly and then have to fill up your vehicle gas tank again?
- Or is it that you think you deserve ‘something’ just because?
Look into the spending areas that are problematic for you. The easiest way to see if your spending is a problem is to add up how much you spend on these ‘little things’.
Choose to think about what they mean. Not just the cash, but missed opportunities.
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? Total up that amount of money, and multiply by 12.
- Is that amount equal to a vacation?
- A car payment?
- A new sofa?
You may be sacrificing what you really want in favor of a temporary treat.
If this is you, like it was me, then you might want to learn how to stop spending.
The book I read that helped me was Living Well, Spending Zero by Ruth Soukup. I did this 31-day challenge 2 months in a row, which really helped me prioritize my spending.
I literally stopped all unnecessary spending for over 60 days. This helped me to see how my ‘treats’ were affecting my bank balance.
Choose to stop spending money on trivial treats that do not enhance your overall life.
If you can’t afford a decent vacation, is it because of your Starbucks habit? It could be.
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.
Start looking at a bigger picture. Like Tom Hardy’s character in Inception said “Don't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling!Click To Tweet“.
Once you have a grip on that, decide to start saving money.
Stash 10 bucks in your car. Whenever you are in it, think to yourself “I always have money!” This is just a quick and easy way to start changing your mindset.
I used to do this because co-workers always seemed to want to go out for wings on the day before payday. So I needed to stash some cash so that I could go to.
If you get to your next payday and still have the ten dollars, add five more. I got to the point where I had $50 stashed in my car, and I knew that I always would have cash for food or gas. That is freedom, and a mindset change for the better!
A Savings Account?
Yes, you too can have a savings account with real money in it! This will be easier when you are in the habit of not spending. Do that challenge a few months in a row.
I know the rule is to pay yourself first, and that will become easier later when you have gotten ahead a bit.
I found saving money easier when I signed up for an online savings account that was not tied to my usual bank.
They sent me a card, but I kept forgetting my passcode. I keep throwing money into that account online…10 bucks here, 5 bucks there. It all adds up. Now I regularly add 10% of my take home pay.
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 is 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 money you work against creating 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 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. And you can pass that knowledge to family and friends. Because they are going to ask why you are suddenly doing so well financially…
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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!
12 thoughts on “Escape Your Poverty State of Mind”
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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 “learn to save your money” and “don’t use credit cards”.
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.