For the last few years I’ve been learning about personal finance. My journey began when I vowed to be more sensible with money and live a more intentional, conscious lifestyle. Improving my money mindset has helped me to feel more calm and happier. Having more control and oversight over my money and generally a much healthier relationship with money, means no longer feeling absolute dread checking my bank balance! Improving my money mindset, has quite honestly taken some time and I’m by no means perfect, but I’m much improved which feels pretty good. Without further ado, here are 5 things I did to improve my money mindset…
Positive Money Mindset
Acknowledging My Money Story
We all have a money story, one that is created gradually and mostly unconsciously over our lifetime. Yours might be influenced by your childhood, your parents, the community you live in. I had to acknowledge my money story. As advised by Julia from The Independent Girls Collective, I began by writing down my feelings and experiences around money. Acknowledging my story was so transformative and beneficial and really helped me to overcome a few hurdles.
My biggest challenge when identifying my money story, was that I had been telling myself a pretty negative and limiting tale most of my life and one that had been reinforced throughout my eduction. My story went something like this “I don’t understand numbers, I’m really bad at Maths, I just don’t get it!” again and again on repeat. This belief has been a cause of much anger and frustration over the years. Once I recognised this as being a major part of my money story, I made a promise to myself, that I will no longer avoid numbers and start to try to understand, to be patient with myself and to attempt to learn.
Identifying Where My Money Was Going
Sounds obvious right? For many years I’d been earning a decent salary and had a gradual “lifestyle inflation” to match my income. Full disclosure: There was a point that I had no written budget, no real knowledge of what I spent my money on. Thankfully, I’ve never really been in debt or had credit cards, but I was living paycheque to paycheque and would dread checking my bank balance incase I’d spent every penny! I began by following America’s most well-known Financial Advisor, Dave Ramsey and his Baby Steps, which meant creating a written budget. Ramsey also advises having a $1000 emergency fund, which helps to eradicate any situation that might cause you to go into debt. Having a written budget really helped me to identify where my money went and the ridiculous decisions I was making when it came to spending! Now that I can see my budget written out I feel way more positive and calm knowing how much I’m able to comfortably spend.
My financial journey has gone hand in hand with my foray into minimalism.
Recognising what is enough has helped me to avoid spending money on stuff I don’t need.
Recognising that a new dress, shoes a table lamp, etc, etc will not make me a better or happier person, this has helped to make me appreciate and utilise the items I already own. Taking time to appreciate the things we already own instead of spending money on new things all the time, really does bring a sense of satisfaction and calm. I used to always get a new outfit for social situations, now I know that I have perfectly lovely clothes that I enjoy wearing and that are good enough!
Changed Language About Money
Changing the way we talk about money can really improve our mindset. Avoiding saying things like “I’m always skint, I’m rubbish with money” does help to improve how we control the flow of our money. Choosing our money language consciously and with intention will change the way you feel about money. I’ve found that avoiding this type of language has helped me to feel positive and more enthusiastic about working with the numbers.
I Set Goals
Once I had an improved money story, written budget and generally more positive outlook, I began to write down a few goals. The money I would typically mindlessly spend on “stuff” I now throw at the mortgage or save.
Setting goals with your money is a great motivator and will give you more purpose.
Try to keep your financial goals in the forefront of your mind, so that next time you’re tempted to unconsciously spend money you’ll question if it is going to benefit you and your goals in the longterm.