If managing money is a mystery to you, clue yourself into this: Change your money mindset and you’ll likely be surprised at how money starts working for you.
Give your negative beliefs attention
The more you try ignoring a thought, the more persistent it becomes. It’s there for a reason — to get your attention. So give it what it wants and move on.
Think you don’t have negative beliefs about money? See if any of these ring a bell:
- There’s never enough money.
- I don’t make enough money.
- I’m bad with money.
- If only I had more money, then…
- I can’t afford it…
If any or all of the thoughts on this list ring true for you, write them down. Add to the list any others that come to mind. If you’re still having trouble coming up with anything, try remembering any negative beliefs your parents had about money, as communicated to you via their words or actions growing up. What you may discover is that your parents passed their negative beliefs about money on to you.
Counter your negative beliefs with positive affirmations
Once you’ve made your list of negative beliefs about money, it’s time to counter them with positive ones. Granted, they’ll be just thoughts to start, but think them long enough and they’ll eventually grow into beliefs.
Take another look at the list above of examples of negative beliefs about money.
Then take a look at the list below, countering each negative belief with the opposite (i.e., positive) thought:
- There’s always an abundance of money.
- I make more than enough money.
- I’m good with money.
- I have all the money I need.
- I can afford everything I want.
Finally, for every negative belief you wrote down on your own list, write beside it your counter-response. Yes, it might feel like a lie. That’s perfectly normal considering you’ve spent a lifetime believing the opposite is true. Just keep in mind it takes time for the mind to adopt something new.
Exercise your new money mindset
You’ve done the digging (for negative beliefs) and you’ve planted new seeds (positive affirmations). Now it’s time to nurture the new money mindset that cannot grow on its own.
Every 30 days:
- Choose one of your positive affirmations to work with.
- Write it down and post it somewhere you’ll see it every day, multiple times a day.
- Every time you find yourself having a negative thought about money, think or say aloud your positive affirmation instead.
- Every time you engage in a financial transaction, from buying gas to taking money out of the ATM, think or say your positive affirmation aloud.
Once you’ve cycled through all of the positive affirmations on your list (spending an entire month with each one as you go), start over again from the beginning.
Keep a journal
Every time you have a negative thought about money, write it down. Then ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could possibly happen if that negative thought is true?” Write it down. Then ask yourself, “What’s more likely the truth.” Write it down. Finally, ask yourself, “How can truth inform change?”
For example, if your negative thought is, “There’s never enough money,” what’s the worst that could possibly happen if that is true? Well, if there is never enough money, then the worst that could possibly happen is nothing will change at all since you’re already accustomed to living with “never enough money” and you’re somehow getting by.
What’s more likely the truth, though, is that you’re spending more money than you’re making — in the past and right now. So the change you need to make is to find a way to spend less than you earn in the future.
Create a positive affirmation.
Every day our minds are filled with thoughts that inform our beliefs and, in turn, our actions. So what you think about your finances is every bit as responsible for your financial situation as your behavior. So the more you can do to manage and minimize your negative thoughts about money, the better.
Keeping a worry journal, as suggested above, is a great way of keeping negative thoughts in check. You can also try countering them with positive affirmations.
For example, if one of your recurring negative thoughts is, “There’s never enough money,” you could counter that with a positive affirmation as simple as, “There’s always an abundance of money” or “I always have an abundance of money.”
Write it down and post your positive affirmation in a place where you will see it every day, multiple times a day, like the bathroom mirror or the refrigerator. Say it aloud every time you see it and as many times as you can remember throughout every day.
Start a vision board.
If seeing is believing, vision boards are magic money makers! What are your financial goals today, next year, for retirement? Any one of these goals is worthy of a vision board.
Take a trip to your local thrift store or library bookstore and get yourself a stack of magazines as relative to your financial goals as possible. (They’re usually just a quarter a piece, fifty cents at the most). Now sit down with your magazines and tear out pictures and words that reflect your goals.
You could be creating a vision board of your dream house, a trip to Europe, a business plan, or just a big stack of cash in the bank. Whatever it is, collage the pieces of it together onto a poster board and hang it somewhere you can see (and add to it) every day.