Change Your Mind, Change Your Money
So maybe your financial life isn’t where you want it to be.
For the next few weeks I’ll be giving you some simple changes that you can make to invite “more” into your life–more contentment, more passion and even more money!
Today’s Mindset Modification: Know what you want.
I was personally a little slow in catching on to one of life’s foundational truths:
Our actions result from our beliefs and desires.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, our day-to-day behavior is rooted in our belief system, thought patterns and deep motivations. Change can only occur when it is connected to something we truly want.
Have you ever had a craving for chocolate and you just couldn’t get it off your mind? You had to have chocolate and it was difficult to stop thinking about it until you actually tasted it. You were motivated to get that chocolate.
Or maybe for you, it’s coffee. You just cannot function until you have had your first cup in the morning. You are highly motivated to get the coffee pot going because you have a deep desire for your body to be caffeinated.
Most money management techniques fail to work because they address the logical side of your brain rather than connecting to your emotions and desires. If you want to change the way you handle money, you have to get in touch with what you REALLY want and tie your spending and saving habits to those desires.
Knowing what you want isn’t a matter of asking other people or doing what other’s think you should do. You have to look at your life and what motivates you.
A big motivator for our family was my desire to stay home with my children. Many women can handle the stress of juggling work, school and home life. I am not one of them. I felt that I was failing in every arena and my heart ached to be home with my young children. I was so sad when others experienced my children’s milestones rather than me.
Once I acknowledged how deeply I felt both the desire to be with my children and the depression I was experiencing from not being home with them, I was highly motivated to do whatever it took to make my dream come true. Thankfully my husband was on board with the idea too so we worked together to cut our expenses and increase our income in ways that fit our goal.
My motivation to stay home with my kids was healthy, but not all motivations and desires are helpful. When I worked full-time, I had a less-than-healthy shopping habit. I loved buying new clothes because I enjoyed the attention I received from looking fashionable. The trouble came when I spent money that should have been spent for other priorities like rent and utilities. My motivation to look good to others created a problem for me so I had to look at why I shopped and try to find a cheaper way to meet that need.
I also love to eat ice cream, but I discovered that I was actually using the sugar rush to help me feel less stressed. Now I limit my ice cream consumption and use healthier ways to de-stress like taking a walk in the park or enjoying a bubble bath.
So now it’s your turn.
To start changing your spending habits you need to get in touch with why you are spending money now and tie your financial goals to some of your deep motivations. Take a look at whether your actions are lining up with what you say your priorities are. You can start by asking yourself these questions:
On what items do I spend my discretionary money?
What do I spend my money on now that makes me feel good? Why does it make me feel good?
Is my spending on discretionary items out of balance with the rest of my budget?
What would I do if I had unlimited time and money?
What would my “dream” life look like?
When I imagine being happy and unstressed, what do I picture?
If you’d like, leave a comment about one thing you would like to change about your spending habits. We’re all in this together!
Read Change Your Mind, Change Your Money part 1 here.
Read Change Your Mind, Change Your Money part 3 here.
I would like to spend less on eating out. I’m 5 months pregnant, have a 4 year old and 3 year old and work almost full-time. I’m so tired when I get home from work (teaching kids from 2 years old-8th grade) 4 days a week and giving piano lessons after school, that I don’t want to cook. I also don’t spend time on the weekends planning my meals because that’s our “down time” and all I want to do then is hang out with my husband and kids and do whatever I can to relax. The problem is that we don’t bring in enough to keep up this habit. Thankfully, the summer is coming and we get out of school in two weeks. That will give me more time to meal plan and make sure we are eating at home most of the time. My struggle is to not go back to the bad habit of eating out when the school year is in full swing. This coming school year is going to be a challenge again because now I’ll be adding an infant to the mix!
Staying home for me is not an option (financially or by choice if we COULD afford it) as I have tried it before and went crazy. I can’t handle being home with my kids all day and truly enjoy working (although I’m around other kids all day).
Kimberlee Stokes says
Hi Stephanie! I totally understand the exhaustion that comes with being a teacher as I taught public school for several years. I think you are wise to do some planning during the summer. Take a look at my 8 dinners in one hour plan here: https://thepeacefulmom.com/2011/08/19/easy-meal-planning-chicken/. If you did this once a month on a weekend you could save a lot of time and money without a lot of work. You can do this!
I would love to be able to say “no” more often when my husband or family asks for things or to do things. I say yes and then have to rob Peter to pay Paul. I think we have the money but not always then and there. I need to learn some patience.
I realize that Peter never gets paid back and that has helped. Using the word robbed was what I needed to hear when we started a budget.
Kimberlee Stokes says
It is difficult to say “no” to our loved ones. It has helped me to have our goals written down where everyone can see them and then there is a reason for the “no” at times. 🙂