I’ve always had a positive relationship with money. I don’t know why, but it comes naturally for me. It may be because I grew up poor, with a single mother who worked three jobs and I became conditioned to living with very little and viewing money in a unique way.
The way I’ve mentally approached money and how to make it work for me has helped me remain abundant even in my down times. I want to pass on my mind tricks to you to help you create a more positive relationship with your money.
Follow these mantras and you can start leading a more positive relationship with your finances.
“I have enough money”
When you live in a mindset that you never have enough money, you’re going to act that out in real life. You will always be wanting for more money. If you think to yourself that you have enough, that you’re able to make ends meet and that you will be able to live off of what you make, you’ll find this starts to become true for you.
This isn’t magical thinking that I’m talking about. It’s not like money is going to start to appear because you’re wishing for it (although that has actually happened to me). I’m talking more about changing the inner talk you have, telling yourself that you’ll have enough, that you are working towards being financially responsible, rather than an inner talk of fret that you can’t make ends meet, that you’re always poor, and money will always be elusive and beyond your grasp.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
Never believe you don’t have enough money. That’s like starting in the hole and never recovering, no matter how hard you work.
Changing your mindset will be the first step in working towards your abundance. You still have to do the hard work, but do it with the mindset that you’ll have enough.
This is probably the hardest mindset to change, but it will make the most difference. If you tell yourself that you have enough money, you will set yourself up to accomplish the rest of the mind tricks that I’ll propose to you.
If you’re able to change this one thought, you’ll be able to open yourself up to changing the way you deal with and manage your money.
We all have our root issues with money. Patterns that we’ve learned to make us afraid, uneasy, or defeated. But, money is not rocket science. Your relationship with your money is one of the most important relationships you’ll ever have, and it’s something you have to work with to make better, just like working on any other relationship you have in your life.
Your positive relationship with money starts by believing that you have enough, that you are enough.
It’s like if you think you’ll always be in a shitty relationship, guess what? You’re always going to attract shitty relationships. But if you really believe that you’ll one day have a healthy, happy relationship and understand that you need to do the work to get there, you’ll eventually create success.
It’s no different with money. If you always think that you’ll be poor, never have enough to pay your bills or have the things you want in life, you’ll continue in the same patterns that create the mindset of poverty. But if you believe that you’ll get to a point where you know that someday you’ll have enough money to be comfortable and happy (notice I didn’t say RICH), and you need to change your approach, do the work to get there, then you will be successful.
Start thinking abundance. Start now. Do it often and make it a habit.
“My time is worth more than money”
Every minute of every day is precious. It’s important to understand how much your time is worth. Treat your time like dollars and how you spend it. Wasting time is more of a travesty than wasting money.
“You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” ~Jim Rohn
When you work, you’re giving away your time to someone else to use your skills and your knowledge, in exchange for money. How much are you worth? How precious is your time? Make sure you’re given the proper amount of compensation for your time. If you want to be worth more, look at what you need to do to make yourself worth more.
When you work and are compensated for it, also make sure that you’re spending your time working and doing something you enjoy. One of the worst things is to spend eight to twelve hours a day doing something you hate. This is most of your waking time, make it count.
Money is also your time. When you spend your dollars on something, think about how many hours you had to work to get that money and if it’s worth what you’re spending it on. Then you can go one step further and find out if what you want to buy can be purchased at a lower price. This works well for things like clothes, food, entertainment, or other tangible items. Be frugal with how you spend your time and money, both are precious commodities.
“I make my money my bitch”
Your money works for you. Not the other way around. When you are constantly thinking that you need to work for your money, you make yourself a slave to your money.
“Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.” ~P.T. Barnum
If you create the reverse and make your money work for you, you’ll be way ahead of the game. Money is only a tool for you to get the things you need and want. Don’t set yourself up for failure by thinking that your money makes the demands and you have to abide by them. You are the master of your money. Even if you aren’t feeling abundant, you must approach it in a way where you use this tool in a more positive way.
To believe that money is a magical unicorn you’ll never catch, is to create the false belief that you’ll never achieve your dreams.
It’s time to stop thinking that your finances control your life and start taking control of your finances. Make them work for you in the best way possible. Start directing your dollars into the places you want them to go.
“Money is only a tool. It will take you where you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver” ~Ayn Rand
This is not an easy fix. In fact, when you start working this mind trick, you may find there’s MORE demands on your money. Things will start breaking. You’ll get a surpise bill in the mail. You’ll start to feel defeated and go back to thinking you’ll always be poor. But be strong and stick with it. Don’t let this mindset defeat you. Take control and work on making your money work for you instead of the other way around. In time, you’ll find this Jedi mind trick works which with the way you want.
“Buying more things will not make me happy”
Some of the best times in my life were when I had very little materialistically. Some of the worst times in my life were when I “had it all” in other’s eyes…nice house, nice car, second home, regular vacations…but a miserable life.
“Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.” ~Will Rogers
There’s a truth to the cliche’ “Money can’t buy you happiness”, but it’s not the money part, it’s the overaccumulation of materialistic stuff that can make you miserable.
Not only does it cost you to buy things, but it also costs you to maintain them, not only in money, but in time. The stress can get to you and have an impact on your health and relationships.
“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money.” ~Steve Jobs
Never accumulate more than you can handle. Look at everything you have and if there’s something that’s too taxing for you in time and money, find out if there’s an alternative. For example, if you see that your enormous house costs you all your time and money to manage, maybe it’s time to downsize.
Minimizing your needs to a more simple living is freeing and will give you more hope to having a happy life.
“Life is not an emergency”
Emergencies happen in life. I know how hard this is when you can’t pay the bills and you have catastrophe after catastrophe happening. However, if this is how you operate on a regular basis, it isn’t the money that’s the problem. It’s how you’re approaching your problems that’s the problem.
“It’s easy to blame others for your situation. It’s much more productive to search your own past and find what caused your faults.” ~Dave Ramsey
If you are able-bodied and can work, you should not be living catastrophe to catastrophe. It’s time to look at where you’re being haphazard with your resources, where you’re not paying attention to where they are going, and then squashing problems before they become emergencies. To let something go, to not attend to it when it’s small, will become an emergency and will most likely cost you more money.
If you’re not preventing emergencies, you may inadvertenly be creating them.
This means maintaining your car, your house, your body, before the problem gets worse. If you have a leak in the roof, patch it before you have to replace the entire thing. Change the oil in your car, rotate your tires. Go to the doctor if you have an unusual pain. Take care of things on the front end, before they become a huge problem on the back end. Pay attention to what needs to be taken care of, and you’ll have fewer emergencies in your life.
“I live well below my means”
I know one of the most common pieces of advice is “Live well below your means.” This is the most practical jedi mind trick I can give you. Figure out how much you have coming in and make sure it’s more than what you have going out. This means that you don’t spend too much on your cost of living.
“He who will not economize, will have to agonize.” ~Confuscious
Your positive feelings about money happen when you start living with a little extra at the end of your paycheck.
No matter how much money you make, you can work towards building a safety cushion. But, if you don’t make enough to live on, then you have a lot more extra work to do.
But, this article isn’t about how to live on less, it’s about how to change your mindset in a way that you can start moving in a different direction to create a healthier and more positive relationship with your money.
However, here’s a few ideas:
If you are having difficulty keeping up with your monthly bills, then start thinking more creatively how to live so you’re not constantly living in the red at the end of your paycheck. I’m not talking about “The Latte Factor”, although this concept can be helpful. I understand that cost of living (especially rent or owning a house) is high. Maybe this means having roommates, or living in a tiny home, or getting rid of your car and using public transit or a bicycle. Maybe it means getting a second or third job, or in some way being creative with how you live to have extra money at the end of your paycheck. It means transforming to a more personally affordable way of life. It could be drastic measures that need to be taken.
“These days, you’ve gotta milk a dollar out of every dime.” ~Gayle Forman
I don’t know what it means personally for you. What I do know is that if you’re paying way more to live than you are making in a paycheck, then you need to take a hard look at how to change that for yourself. You need to be extremely creative for yourself to get ahead. Again, make your money work for you. Make your life work for you. Whatever your blocks are, it’s time to take a hard look and start changing the way you live. It’s not a quick fix. But it is taking responsibility for your life.
I realize this is not going to work for everyone. Some people are ill and have medical debt, addiction or mental health issues, lack of resources or lack of community or personal support.
But some people also have negative personalities, entitlement issues, blaming others for their problems, overspending issues, ego and pride issues, etc. etc. It’s up to you to weed out which one of these problems you face and work on taking control in the best way you’re able. That may mean asking for help, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
“I pay myself first”
When you start to realize that you are your most important asset, you’ll figure out that your money needs to be there for you. Not for your car or your boat, or your house or your vacations or your hobbies, but for YOU.
“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” ~Warren Buffet
I know this sounds counterintuitive. You may think to yourself “Is she crazy?! I need a place to live, and a car to drive so I can get to work, and I have a lot of bills so I can’t save first. I won’t have enough”. Do you really need to spend everything you have in your paycheck? This goes back to taking away expenses on things you don’t need and reducing your spending habits.
What will make you happier is to have the comfort of cushion that you can fall back on when you need it most.
You should at least try it and see if it works. It may seem like a struggle, but it’s a fantastic habit to save first.
This means taking a percentage of your money and paying yourself FIRST, before you pay everything else. This means automatically deducting money from your paycheck and placing it in a savings account cushion and a retirement fund. This is money you tuck away never to be touched. Not while you’re able-bodied and working, not ever.
The usual rule of thumb is 10%. You should be doing 10% but if this seems like it’s too much, then start at 5%. Or 3%. Look and see if you can live without that extra 3%. Try it for a couple of months. Get used to it. If you’re doing great, bump it up to 4% after a few months. Get to the point where it pushes you just to the edge of your needed spending. Then use your other jedi mind tricks to give yourself more money so that you can increase it to 5%. Repeat.
I believe the more the better, so I put away more like 20%. But I didn’t start at 20%. I worked up to it. It’s like putting that frog in tepid water and gently turning up the heat. You’ll find you don’t miss the money if you do it right. And after time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the money you’ve accumulated. You’ll even start dreaming about saving up for other things in life you want: a house, a car, vacations, etc. You’ll eventually find that you can have the things you want AND have the cushion for your peace of mind.
“ I love what I have”
It’s important to love the things you have in your life for obvious reasons. The love for your things that I talk about, it’s taking care of your things, loving your things and making sure they are around for a long time.
“Quality is not an act, it’s a habit.” ~Aristotle
When you take extra care of something; your home, your car, your body, it will last longer. It costs less money to take care of something on the front end than to fix something that’s broken down or trying to hastily replace it on the back end, thus creating an emergency, as we’ve already talked about.
This means buying less, but making quality purchases and having pride in what you own. It means taking care of the things you have, enjoying them and being happy. This goes for everything in life. What we neglect or abuse will wither and die, whether it’s a material object or a relationship.
Make quality purchases, take care of your things, and give appreciation for what you have.
“The best kind of debt is no debt”
There is such a thing as good debt and bad debt. Good debt is an investment that will grow in value or generate long-term income, such as a house or student loans. Bad debt is debt incurred to purchase things that quickly lose their value and do not generate long-term income, such as credit cards or cash advance loans.
“Never spend your money before you have it.” ~Thomas Jefferson
Overall, debt is debt, because you are borrowing money that you need to pay back later along with paying extra money for borrowing in the first place. Some borrowing is inevitable, such as buying a house or getting an education. But besides that, there is no other debt you should have to incur.
Buying a car is sometimes considered neutral, but it really depends on many factors. If you can pay for a car outright, that’s ideal. Otherwise, a loan on a car through a credit union or any other low interest loan is sometimes necessary. Practicality is the name of the game when it comes to having a car (or anything). Don’t buy more than you need, don’t spend more than you have to.
If you can’t pay cash for it, you shouldn’t buy it.
“Credit cards, fees and interest are the work of the devil”
Borrowing money and then having to pay it back with additional money on top of it is the worst way you can spend your money. Understanding fees and interest can be confusing, and to understand them more, read this article.
Like I’ve said, sometimes it’s necessary, such as buying a house. But, most everything that you’re buying and putting on credit cards can probably be paid for in a more frugal way.
“On average, credit card transaction fees amount to $2.50 to $3.00 for every $100.00” ~Matt Niehaus
If you took the amount of money that you paid in credit card fees, late fees, and interest, and instead invested them into your savings, that alone is part of the 3% we just talked about that you can put instead towards savings. Watch what you spend in fees and interest, and don’t use your credit cards. And for goodness sake, pay your bills on time and avoid late fees.
“My Health is My Wealth”
This last jedi mind trick is important. Besides time, health is one of the most important things in life. How does this relate to money? If you don’t have your health, everything else will suffer; your job, your family, your quality of life, and your money. Even if you live with a chronic condition, you can still have health.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~Jim Rohn
As a nurse working in a hospital, for the people who come in for treatment, about 90% (my own unscientific conclusion) of the acute medical issues I see are lifestyle related: heart and lung disease, diabetes, immobility, alcoholism, or drug addiction. Most of these people are too ill to work or make an income. Many of these conditions are also preventable.
When we’re young and healthy, we tend to take advantage of our body. The body is very resilient and can go for years, even decades of being neglected and/or abused and continue to work well for the person. But there will come a time the body will give out and start to break down.
“If you think wellness is expensive, try illness.” ~Anonymous
Fortunately, I’ve been reasonably healthy most of my life. But as I get older, things are starting to change and break down a little. My body needs more maintenance. I’m also fortunate to have health insurance (I understand that a lot of people don’t have this necessity), I find that I need to visit the doctor more regularly to keep on top of the issues that my body faces as I age. I work hard on making sure I have routine checkups before something becomes an issue.
Don’t get me wrong, I spend A LOT of money on medical bills. This is a necessary evil, because if my body doesn’t work, then I don’t work and everything else falls apart. If I neglect my body, the problem will only get worse and cost me more in the long run, so I bite the bullet and do the things I need to do to take good care of my body. I also work on eating right, exercising, minimizing alcohol and getting a good nights sleep. Overall, this has been the best thing I’ve done for myself.
Taking care of your body and remaining healthy for as long as you can is the best investment you can give yourself. Watch what you eat, this is the most important thing. Exercising is right up there too, whatever that means for you…even if you just get up and get moving! These two things alone will change you for the better. And for goodness sake, go get a checkup with your primary doctor.
A Final Note…
Take any or all of these mantras and apply them to your life. If you start moving yourself in a direction to become more financially secure, your newfound financial freedom will feel so much more wonderful than it does with the mental burden of being in debt and never having enough. Even having an emergency fund is a good start to having a sense of security. The sooner you start making changes, the sooner you’ll see positive results!
Michelle Jaqua is a blogger on Medium.com. She writes to inspire people toward emotional healing, personal development, and living a passionate life. Sometimes she just writes about life.
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