When it comes to basic money management most of us know what we are ‘supposed’ to do, you know the basics; spend less than you earn – save for an emergency – and invest for your future.
However, establishing ‘good’ habits around money is easier said than done, for a whole lot of reasons!
Managing your money and other important things in your life (like an exercise or eating healthy program) takes discipline. And guess what, discipline isn’t a natural state for everyday or everyone. Oh, and let’s add the guilt and shame that you carry around when it comes to money.
All of this is a recipe for money misery or at least a sense of why the ‘ostrich approach’ seems more appealing to you than tackling the underlying issues of what is really going on!
Hey, I get it…one of my clients even said to me; “If I look at my numbers, then I’ll have to do something about them!” So the head in the sand approach – as appealing as it might seem – will not get you ‘financially fit’, it will only serve you up more guilt and shame in the long run.
So, I am coming to your rescue! I want to give you 8 simple steps you can take to move from negative feelings and lack of discipline to a positive money mindset and great habits!
1. Forgive yourself for all your past financial mistakes.
“You are where you are based on your knowledge, skills and habits so far. So what, when you know better, you’ll do better!”
I think there are very few people who can claim that they have NEVER missed a credit card or bill payment, never over-spent or never raided their savings for no good reason. If that’s you; then you should be the next financial guru! For the rest of us, it’s time to practice self-forgiveness.
No one is perfect. If you are not proud of your financial past, please do not let it stop you from moving forward Forgiving ourselves is a powerful tool that prevents us from being a prisoner to our past. You need to shift your focus away from shame so you can make room for better habits and a healthier attitude toward money.
Acknowledge and accept what’s happened, make apologies to yourself (and others where necessary) and then focus on what you want and need to move forward. You are not your financial mistakes!
2. Understand your money mindset.
You may think that you know your attitude towards money but it’s possible that you are not aware of how your views are shaping your decision-making. (Those underlying sub-conscious beliefs that are sabotaging you!)
I want you to track the thoughts that come up for you every time you make a money decision. You will see patterns that you can review to deepen your awareness of your attitudes and money beliefs. This is a gift to help you change the habits that are not serving you so well and help you to create better goals and plans.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Today the reality is that we live in an age of social media, reality TV, and celebrity magazines! I think it is really easy to get sucked into making comparisons. We also compare ourselves to our family members, to our friends and even fictional characters on TV!
But here’s the problem when you want to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’… you might feel like you are lacking and then you divert attention from your own finances and aspirations.
The thing is what you see in someone else is what they want you to see (they obviously choose what side they want to show you). But you don’t know the intimate details of the other person’s finances. They may appear to have an amazing life with nice clothes, vacations and toys…. but it could all be fueled with credit card debt or worse!
I always say – drive your own car and set your own goals and compare yourself to them. Celebrate your wins along the way and when you reach your goals…set new ones (or adjust them along the way too!)
4. Create and maintain good habits
Track your money, know your numbers! Data doesn’t lie – money is a reflection of our inner game. In my experience, most of you THINK you know the details about your money. When you track every penny and where it is going (using categories and sub-categories which you can use a free app – mint.com) it will give you some ah-ha moments and insight to your spending. Then you can make choices of where you want to spend and save your money.
Take 5 min a day to download and look at your numbers. It will change your life. This is the single best habit that you can start to have money peace.
5. Enhance your budget (spending plan) for happiness.
The word budget can send people screaming form the room! Dictionary meaning: planned spending. I’m assuming you like to spend money? Then this is a way for you to spend on what you want…not on what you don’t. You will be far more empowered knowing vs having no idea where your money disappears every month.
Sometimes you spend money on things that actually don’t make you happy just because you think you should. How much of your spending is for you and your goals? What are you spending on that really makes your heart sing?
6. Practice gratitude.
If you don’t feel grateful for what you have, what makes you think you will be happier with more? When you skip over gratitude and focus on getting more, you’re focusing on lack instead of abundance. You’ve heard the saying; energy flows where attention goes.
Start a gratitude journal, I write down what I was grateful for that day at the end of the night before I go to sleep.
Another saying that you may want to use every time you spend money; “There’s always more where that came from!”
Seriously, the simplest practices can make all the difference!
We all have blind spots about ourselves. No one can clearly see themselves without a mirror. Therefore mentors, coaches, and advisors are crucial. If we want to be the best that we can be, then we need to get help. Every single professional athlete, and high performance people have coaches. Why? Because to be the best they need to push themselves and have someone cheer-lead and help us with our blind spots. When you are in the picture – you can’t see the frame!
I think this is the most important and the biggest culprit to an unhealthy relationship with money. Paying everyone else first, putting yourself last (if there is anything left over) is typical and telling. How you do one thing is how you do everything, and if you show up this way in your money, you will also so it with your time and energy too.
Start what I call a ‘ME’ account. Pay yourself first. Even if it is just $5 to start – increase as you go, and if you need to take it out to buy milk – well I get that. But don’t stop because eventually you won’t have to dip into it and it will grow and you will see the difference!
Bonus: De-clutter your life!
Who has time for nonsense in their life? Not me! So, get rid of everything in your life that’s not useful and serves no purpose, this includes both people and what’s in your wallet!
You don’t have time for negativity when you’re trying to make money because they both take up a lot of energy.
De-clutter your home, car and office as well. Money likes speed, clarity and a clear space. Money can’t flow into your life when there’s clutter all around you. Here’s some tips to de-clutter;
- close unused credit cards and bank accounts
- clean out your wallet of old receipts
- do you need a new wallet, is it old and tattered? Then it’s time for a new one!
Your mindset is the key to having a great relationship with money… you got this! Believe ♥
Lots of love!