How to Change Your Mindset Around Money
How to Change Your Mindset Around Money
For a lot of people, finances feel like one big, unsolvable mystery.
Maybe you have big debts that feel impossible to conquer. Or you’ve only ever known struggle and you figure that’s all you ever will know. Or perhaps you’re an optimist, hoping that if you don’t worry too much, everything will work out.
While these attitudes are all different, they lead to the same thing: Hiding from your financial reality and missing out on a lot of the security and enjoyment you could have in life.
If you’re working to change your financial situation, the first thing to do is change your mindset. Here are some of the most common negative money mindsets we see — and how to fix them.
Regret can hit from many different directions. Maybe you overspent last week, or you feel like your student loans weren’t worth it, or you wish you had started saving for a home much sooner. It’s sensible to see these as bad decisions and regret making them. But regret is meant to lead us to a wiser future, not trap us in a cycle of shame.
If you find yourself consumed by regret, you may find yourself focusing on what you’ve lost rather than what you can still gain. Take this moment to put your mistakes behind you and move forward:
- Acknowledge the mistake.
- Process the mistake and why it happened.
- Determine how you will handle your finances differently in the future.
- Forgive yourself, and move on.
Focus on strategies to move forward from where you are now. A program like eHome America’s online Money Management course can teach you strategies for recovery and building toward your future. Make a plan and stick to it. Write down not only long-term goals but also realistic, attainable short-term goals as well. If you need help, check out this guide to the SMART goals method.
Whether you’re a recent college grad just entering the real world, or you have a snowball of credit card debt, feeling overwhelmed can stop you in your tracks. There can be many reasons why you feel this way, but the important part is how to handle it. When you feel like your finances are out of control, regain that control by taking action. Even small steps can get the ball rolling.
For example, start by committing to putting a portion of your paycheck into savings. Consider setting aside $20 or skipping your regular coffee treat and putting that money toward savings or debt. If you feel like you're overspending, create a simple budget that accounts for all your basic needs and shows what you have left for frivolous spending. Track your progress so you can see the impact your efforts are making.
Lastly, physical activity can help with feeling overwhelmed. It releases endorphins that can give you a more positive perspective. When you feel like you’re drowning, do something simple, like taking a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood. Then, get back to work!
You’re probably thinking: “How can overconfidence be a negative mindset?” Well, do you have a habit of hitting your credit card limit or spending extra money and then telling yourself it’ll be OK? While it’s great to have optimism, it can backfire and cross into denial or negligence.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, but set some boundaries. The best type of confidence is an informed confidence. Sit down each week to see where money is going and what spending needs to be adjusted with self-discipline. Consider giving your credit cards to a trusted friend who can help you discern when it’s wise to pull them out. When you understand your finances, you can experience valid confidence that empowers you instead of holding you back.
Mark Twain said, “Comparison is the death of joy,” and it’s true. Researchers are continually studying the impact social media comparisons have on our mental health. You may see the new house or beautiful romance, but you don’t see the fight your favorite couple got into right before posting that romantic selfie.
Finances work the same way. The more time you spend figuring out where you rank or comparing, the more frustrated you’ll get. Focus on creating your own set of goals and the lifestyle you want. Then go for it. Along the way, you’ll find that life is much sweeter when you let go of comparisons.
The scarcity mindset is believing there will never be enough, no matter how hard you try. Or you may feel that if someone has more, automatically means you will have less. This mindset leads to apathy. You don’t try to improve your financial situation because you believe it can’t be improved.
The opposite of this is an abundance mindset. You develop this by recognizing self-sabotaging thoughts and replacing them. The negative pattern is engrained through habit. The key is to interrupt that.
- Surround yourself with positive influences who aren’t stuck in the scarcity mindset.
- Take a minute each day to recognize something positive in your life.
- Find the positives in negative situations. Look for the opportunity in failures.
Changing your outlook isn’t an overnight process, but the starting point is taking the first small step. Reflect on these mindsets. Determine which ones might be holding you back. Then, start moving forward.