Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this. – Dave Ramsey.
Over the years, my parents learned the lesson. They never lend money from loan sharks again. This one positive impact, however, sadly wasn’t followed with other smart money-related practices. They worked hard, get their salary, paid the bills, and spent the money on whatever they wanted. Watching how my parents dealt with money had shaped my view on wealth, which resulted in bad money habits. However, it also eventually help me improve better money mindsets as I grew up.
THE LURE OF ADULTHOOD
Do you remember the feeling of having your first credit card?
The feeling that you were in charge? That you had all the powers in the world?
It was a better feeling than having my first cellphone or my eighteenth birthday. With three hundred dollars limit, I felt like I could buy anything that I wanted. As you may have guessed, I maxed that credit card out in no time. It took me a year to pay off the whole bill, and when I did, I closed the credit card immediately.
I felt like a winner and a loser at the same time. A part of me was proud of myself, but I also felt shame.
‘Did I truly not having enough control whatsoever as a young adult, that I couldn’t even have a credit card without max it out?’
You don’t get wiser the older you get.
It was a true statement, coming from personal experience. I spent my entire twenties looking successful when it comes to money. I owned two small businesses, bought a house, bought a car, had no debts, and in some ways, I felt victorious.
But I also didn’t think of the future either. I budget for nothing, wasted money, barely saved, and worst of all; when it comes to money, I half-assed educate my self.
So guess what?
I lacked a strong foundation when it comes to money. I ended up entering my thirties with bad money habits, which started with the irresponsible use of a credit card. Again.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN TEN YEARS?
I was not too fond of that common job interview question. But as my lousy money habits were getting out of control, I forced my self to think long term. How did I see myself in ten years? I scrabble some thoughts on paper, and I read that out loud. Suddenly something became very clear.
With my reckless lifestyle and wrong money mindsets, I would never be going to get where I want to be. Realizing that very fact, I then decided to experiment with my self and be in a quest to change my money mindsets.
TEN PROVEN WAYS TO ACHIEVE BETTER MONEY MINDSETS
CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF
Most people’s problem with money lies in psychology, and that, I realize, includes me. I was irresponsible in all my behavior related to money. I saw my self as somebody who has the money and had the right to spend it. The fact is, most often than not, I didn’t.
I worked twenty hours a week at that time. I shouldn’t, in theory, allowing myself to purchases that were above my paygrade just because I thought I deserve them.
So I decided to work with myself and commit to seeing my self a different way. Every time I got the chance to see my self in the mirror, I told my self this:
‘You are a modest, responsible adult. You are going to get on top of your finances because you are smart, and you deserve to be debt-free.’
Have you ever heard of the Latin phrase ‘mens sana in corpore sano?’
Funny enough, I heard that in elementary school during sports lessons, and it sticks with me.
Believe it or not, it’s true, especially as an adult. I feel better when I know I take care of what I eat, exercise, and meditate. The state of healthy also plays a significant part in my ways of thinking. I believe when I am in my best shape, I am sharper, and therefore, capable of making smart decisions regarding any aspect in life.
CULTIVATE MONEY AWARENESS
I found this one to be a practice. When you spend quite a long time not worrying about your financial situation, having an awareness needs the discipline to cultivate.
I started with the most straightforward question: ‘Where does my money go?’
This simple question leads me to take notes of my spending and this action eventually made and stick to the budget. It also helped me to grow the mentality of start questioning my purchases. You need to learn that everything takes time. If you share your finances with somebody else, then get your partner on board for more success rate.
When it comes to any mistakes in your life, money included, you need to learn to forgive yourself. I know it’s not an easy task for some, myself included. But in my personal experience, the inability to forgive yourself and move with the lessons of your mistake will eventually create another block. This block will prevent you from becoming the version you want.
When I, again, faced a huge credit card bill, I went to a negative spiral that made me feel stupid and very little. These negative feelings made it hard to lift my self back up and start working on the solution. Instead, I was becoming more irresponsible with money. It felt like: ‘whatever, another forty euro purchase won’t change my situation now’ kinda thing.
It wasn’t until I decided to forgive myself that I realize something. My problem has a solution, and it was doable.
When you are mentally ready to change something, start simple.
Seriously, I couldn’t emphasize this enough because I’ve been there. Remember to have your eyes on the ball, that you want to achieve better money mindsets that will eventually lead you to good wealth.
It will need time, patience, and you need to put in the work – all of those, yes. But you need to start simple if you don’t want to get overwhelmed and abandon it eventually like any of your New Year’s resolutions.
Think of what you can do right now that will make an impact on your end goal. Start writing down your fixed cost and automate the payments, maybe?
I still own that book. It was curiosity at first, but then I found out that I do have an interest in money-related books.
But I have learned that honesty is always the best policy, and that includes being yourself. And we are living in an era of comfort when it comes to gaining free knowledge. Everything is out there. You will want to educate yourself if you’re going to get better at something. So please, get busy, learn a lot.
PRACTICE ABUNDANCE MENTALITY
Look around you. What don’t you have?
Most likely than not, if you can read this post, you have more than enough in your life. Why? Because some people are so poor, they won’t have an internet connection.
Not too long ago, I operated from a place of lack. The simplest example was my Celine bags. I got one. Then I saw another one that was exactly like the one I have, with better colors. Then I decided to buy that one too, recklessly. Now the newer one mostly stayed inside my closet.
It wasn’t until I started to practice Vipassana meditation that I truly learned the concept of abundance.
I am very fortunate and blessed to have the chance to live in the world with health and open opportunities to learn.
Do you have a wardrobe filled with twenty pairs of jeans, a drawer filled with artificial sugary snacks, or too cluttered apartment?
Have that one toxic friend that only wants to go shopping and to club with you and nothing else? Online shops sale notification that filled your inbox?
It’s time to curate your life. Learn that skill so you can put your focus on what’s most essential.
I decided to have my concept of minimalism and make it my way of life. Minimalism helps me to be more content with my self. It also helps me deal with every aspect of my life mindfully.
I set a simple goal, which was to pay my credit card bill way above the minimum payment.
That method made me think and re-think my spending, budget carefully and set priorities. During those months, I put my money into paying off my credit card and saving for a rainy day.
You can decide on your short term and middle term goals to achieve your end goal, but you need to set them. Don’t go into this journey blind and with the flow. Goals are essential to get you to achieve better money mindsets.
LOVE THE PROCESS OF GROWTH
Love growth is key to any progress in life, I think. However, it always comes with hard work, because loving the process of growth often requires sacrifices.
Imagine that you have to stay home while your girlfriends are having fun drinking in a club.
Or when you have to say no to a gateway weekend because you need the money to pay off your credit card debt.
I have been there, done all that, and it wasn’t a pretty feeling. But know this: with your smart sacrifices now, you will enjoy the life you want later. Love the process of growth. If you plan it right, put in the work and laser-focused on your end goal, it will pay off.
You deserve to live debt-free.
Are you trying on improving your money mindsets? What are your steps? If you have done so, what did you do?