Honestly, I never thought about how I spent money until we started our debt-free journey. I just thought being overwhelmed with debt, and living paycheck to paycheck was just normal adult stuff.
It wasn’t until we started budgeting that I figured out I had a toxic relationship with money and an unhealthy money mindset.
This toxic relationship caused me to max out several credit cards, which caused years of overwhelming financial stress. Worse than that, it caused a strain on my marriage.
I had to do some deep soul searching to change my money mindset, and I finally got there (for the most part). Now, I want to share the 5 secrets that helped me get out of my toxic relationship with money and create a healthy money mindset.
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- 1 What is money mindset?
- 2 Secret #1: Start managing your money!
- 3 Secret #2: Start saying NO!
- 4 Secret #3: Learn to be content!
- 5 Secret #4: Ask yourself, WHY?
- 6 Secret #5: Be generous!
- 7 Conclusion
What is money mindset?
First, we need to talk about what money mindset means. Money Mindset is the beliefs and attitude you have about money. This mindset determines how you manage your money.
Above is an example of an unhealthy money mindset. I was spending frivolously with no plans of actually managing my money or saving any.
On the other hand, now that I have a healthy money mindset, I spend with intention. I give myself permission to spend and say no when I need to.
Now that we got that out of the way let’s start with secret #1 to change your money mindset.
Secret #1: Start managing your money!
Managing your money is a must if you want to develop a healthy money mindset. You have to know what your overall financial situation looks like. So, there are three necessary things you have to do.
Look at your spending behavior
Look at your spending habits by reviewing a couple of months of your bank statements. This was a huge eye-opener for us. We were just blowing money on ridiculous stuff. Fast food was our pain point.
So, take a gander at your spending and see what areas you are possibly overspending. I think you’ll probably be shocked to really see where your money is going.
You have to make a plan for your money every month. This is crucial!
A budget will help you organize your money and create a plan for where it is going each month. This will also help you make cuts where you need to, so you can do more with your money.
Track your spending
After your budget is done, you have to track your spending. Tracking keeps you accountable to your budget. Every purchase should be written down; that way, you know you are keeping within your budgeted spending.
Secret #2: Start saying NO!
If you never say no to things you can’t afford, you will never get out of debt. You will always be stressed about money, and you’ll stay in an unhealthy relationship with money.
Stop using your credit card(s)
Say no to those credit cards. Get rid of that mentality that you need them for emergencies. You don’t need credit cards for emergencies…that’s what an emergency savings fund is for.
And stop charging your card with the promise to yourself that you’re going to pay it in full when the bill comes in. Most of us know that’s a lie, and what happens? Interest…that’s what happens.
According to a study done by Magnify Money, “Americans paid banks $121 billion in credit card interest in 2019.”
$121 billion in interest….that’s craziness! Banks are getting richer because we have become so dependent on loans and credit cards to get us out of tight situations.
Pay off your debt
After you start saying no to using credit cards, say no to debt! Create a plan to pay off and get rid of the financial stress for good. And yes…you can do it even if you’re broke (we did it on one military income)!
Prioritize your debts, and start tackling them one by one. This is where budgeting and tracking your spending will help you to pay your debt off.
It’s not easy…it’s actually really freaking hard! But, with the hard work you put into paying off your debt, you’ll NEVER want to go back into debt again!
Secret #3: Learn to be content!
Contentment is being truly happy and satisfied with what you have. If you never learn to find a sense of contentment, you’ll just continue to spend money to find it.
So how do you learn to be content? It can be hard, but here are some things you can do to get you started.
Finding contentment starts with being grateful. What are you thankful for? It may be harder some days than others to come up with a long list of things you’re grateful for, but stop and count your blessings for what you have.
Embrace a more minimalistic lifestyle. Now you don’t have to take this to the extreme. But, channel your inner Marie Kondo. Go through your home and only keep what brings you joy.
As you start decluttering your space, you’ll most likely feel more at peace. When you embrace living a more minimal lifestyle, you don’t want as much, which means you buy and spend less.
Declutter your mind
Speaking of Marie Kondo, declutter your mind while you’re at it. Stop comparing yourself and your lifestyle to other people. I know it all looks so perfect on social media…but you know it’s not. Right?
Stop trying to keep up with the Jones’ because they’re probably in debt trying to keep up with someone else.
I love how Dave Ramsey says, “It’s time to stop buying things we can’t afford with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” I’m not sure about you, but I feel this in my soul!
So, stop living beyond your means. Learn to be content with what you have, and love people, not things.
Secret #4: Ask yourself, WHY?
To change your money mindset, you need to find out why you have the money mindset you do and why you want to change it.
Why do you have the money mindset you do?
Our money mindset is influenced mostly by what we learned growing up and our environment now. Brené Brown says it best “genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger.”
This means that although we may have learned to manage our money from our parents, our environment and emotional well-being influences our spending.
Why do you want to change your money mindset?
Next, you have to find out why you want to change your mindset. You may have to do a little soul searching for this.
For example, I had to change my money mindset because my spending and debt was affecting my marriage and, ultimately, my family. I wanted to change my mindset and spending habits for them.
Secret #5: Be generous!
I am a true believer that if you put good out into the world, good things will come back to you. The act of generosity changes the way you think about money because you’re serving and thinking of other people first.
I love this quote by Dave Ramsey, “Live like no one else so that later you can live and give like no one else.” I guess that’s why I love the Baby Steps so much because it’s about becoming financially independent and wealthy so that you can be outrageously generous.
Even if you don’t have much to give monetarily, you can still be generous by donating your time or gently used items to people in need.
It’s pretty easy to develop a toxic money mindset in today’s world. Before Financial Peace University and the Baby Steps, my money mindset was at it’s unhealthiest.
It wasn’t easy to change, but it was essential to becoming debt-free.
I hope you can put these 5 secrets to use and change your money mindset to a healthier one.
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