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What is your philosophy about money?
What comes to mind when you think about money? How about when people talk about budgeting and saving money? Do you have any strong emotional reactions or phrases that pop into your head?
For a lot of people, the money thoughts aren’t positive. In fact, most people I know hate talking about money, and as a society, it’s considered rude to ask friends or family about their finances.
But why? Talking and sharing ideas is one of the best ways to learn. Plus, it could completely change your life, family, and community of friends if you start sharing ideas and learning from each other. Here’s an example.
I don’t know diddly squat about cars. I didn’t grow up working on cars, and they never really interested me. However, I’ve learned a few tricks when it comes to car maintenance over the years.
I can change a headlight or tail light. I’ve successfully changed my thermostat, and I can change a tire.
How did I learn those things? I talked to people who knew more than me. They shared their knowledge and expertise with me so I could grow. I still know very little about cars, but I feel more confident learning more.
Your Beliefs About Money Can Make or Break Your Finances
Everyone has their own unique experiences and skillset with money. I’ve learned how to budget really well, pay off debt, and save money. But I know very little about investing outside our Roth IRA.
When it comes to investing, I have a choice to make. I can choose to believe, “Investing is so confusing, I don’t know where to start”. Or, I can choose to believe something else, like, “I don’t know much about investing right now, but there’s a lot to learn that will help my finances.”
The second belief puts me in a position to learn and grow, rather than being stagnant and turned off by investing. It gives me a positive roadmap about investing.
Your mindset is super important in all aspects of life, including money. What you think about money matters. I’ve read so many quotes that reflect this principle. Your thoughts translate to your real life, and create actions.
The scary part is that your thoughts can also create in-action. If you’re afraid of doing something, or believe you suck at it (like budgeting or saving money), your brain will avoid learning how to grow and learn.
The result is you not taking action to reach your financial goals like pay off debt or save money for retirement.
Henry Ford is famous for a lot of things, like starting the assembly line, but also a few quotes. One of my favorite is, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” This applies to budgeting, saving money, and all aspects of personal finance.
If you don’t believe you can budget or save money, it’ll be very hard for you to do so.
That’s why it’s so important to know what you think about money. It’s likely that your attitude about money reflects how you actually spend or save money on a daily and monthly basis.
Change Your Money Philosophy by Increasing Your Knowledge
The most successful people on the planet read a lot of books. Why you might ask? Because books impact the way we think.
Tim Ferris in his book, “The Four Hour Work Week”, challenges the norm of working 40+ hours a week. Instead, he advocates lifestyle design and intentionally planning how we spend our time and effort.
People like me read these books because I want something to rub off on me. I want to improve my life, and that starts with my thoughts. Then once I have created concrete thoughts, hopefully they become actions and habits.
There are so many books on personal finance, setting goals, and improving your life that it’s just a matter of getting a few into your hands.
Maybe you don’t like reading books, or reading on your phone is easier. Problem solved. You’re already in the right place reading a personal finance blog. As much as I love when people come and read my blog, what I love more is helping people get out of debt and reach all of their financial goals.
If I can help you do that here, awesome! If I’m not your cup of tea, I’ll happily point you to other great resources to help you more. It’s all about what works best for you.
The internet is chalk full of personal finance blogs where people share their real experiences with money and give all kinds of tips and tricks to help YOU get better at money too. A few of my favorite are Millennial Money Man, Ninja Budgeter, Atypical Finance, She Picks Up Pennies, and Broke Millennial.
These bloggers are great and have built communities of loyal followers who are turning their finances around. If you’re looking for great financial mentors and resources, read these blogs.
There’s no one size fits all, so read articles and books from different people until you start to create your own beliefs and attitudes about money. Be open to learning from someone who has more experience than you.
Find a Mentor and Learn as Much as You Can From Their Successes and Failures
Reading great books can totally change your life. However, so can finding valuable mentors and teachers who can impart their wisdom on you.
My best advice is to find someone who is where you’d like to be in your finances. If your goal is to be debt free and saving for retirement, find a person who is already there and get to know them. Learn how they paid off their debt and balanced saving for retirement.
People are generally willing to talk about their life passions and successful accomplishments. If you find someone who is passionate about making good money decisions, chances are it’ll be hard for you to get them to stop talking. 🙂
Latch on and learn as much as you can.
Figure Out Your Own Personal Money Philosophy
If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve probably never thought about your personal money philosophy. If you’re willing to trust me, I’ve got an idea to help you figure it out.
Grab a piece of paper right now. Seriously, grab a pen and a piece of paper to write some stuff down.
Write down any common phrases that you say about money. What do you believe about money? It can be anything. Writing things down has a magical way of bringing them into the light and helping us understand our thoughts. That’s why journaling is so powerful.
If you’re struggling to come up with any ideas, I’ve got a few that I’ve said in the past or have heard friends and family say. Have you ever found yourself uttering any of these?
- I want to be better with money but I don’t know how
- I’ve tried budgeting before, but it never works
- I hate spreadsheets and budgeting
- It’s just money, what does it matter?
- I’ll always be broke.
- We’re broke, we can’t afford that!
- Where does all our money go?
- I’d love to give more, but I just don’t have any extra money.
I’ve definitely said some of these before. I still find myself saying we don’t have any money, or we can’t afford things. The more often you repeat a negative thing about money, even if it’s true in the moment, has a negative impact on your finances and your attitude toward money.
If I were to sum up my attitude about money right now, I’d say that every dollar is important and if you don’t tell your money where to go, it will be gone. This is why I pick up every penny I find on the street and put it into a jar and why we budget so fiercely.
Our budget shows us the value of every dollar we make and how we choose to spend or save it. It also lets us tell our money where to go. Right now, every extra dollar is going into savings until we reach our goal of buying a minivan to cart our daughter and two fur babies around.
Creating new thoughts and attitudes overnight is pretty hard, but change also starts with awareness. As you begin to think more about your attitudes toward money, you’ll develop a greater awareness for what you believe and how it impacts your life.
You might find that your thoughts are keeping you stuck in place. Once new beliefs set in though, you can dramatically change your life for the better.
4 Simple Steps You Can Take to Change Your Money Philosophy
The best advice I can give you comes from this Ken Coleman quote.
“When you change the way you think and believe, then you can change the way you act.”
There you go, sounds simple right? Well not exactly. The best way to change your thoughts is to be open minded to learning from other people.
I have a few suggestions that can help you get started, a few I’ve already mentioned but are worth repeating.
4. Read as Many Books About Money that You Can Get Your Hands on
I know I’ve already mentioned reading books, but it’s so important that I want to bring it up again. Read about topics you find interesting and topics that challenge your current beliefs. There are also a lot of books out there about changing your thought pattern, that have nothing to do with money. Read those too.
A great book from a fellow personal finance blogger is Broke Millennial. Check it out!
5. Find Quotes You Like and Write Them Down Where You’ll See Them Often
You’d be amazed at how well this works for changing your mindset. I know people who write quotes on their bathroom mirror or fridge, and even put a sticky note on their steering wheel. The more you see something, the more you internalize it.
Quotes can also be a reminder for why you’re working so hard to change your habits in the first place. I love the movie, “The Greatest Showman”. A lyric in the final song resonates with me and reminds me why I work so hard on this blog and helping people change their finances once and for all.
“Let this promise in me start, like an anthem in my heart. From now on.” ~The Greatest Showman
This simple lyric reminds me that I’m putting in this work to build a beautiful life for my family. But it’s bigger than that. I want every person who reads my blog to transform their finances and build their own beautiful life for their family. It’s not just me, it’s all of us, from now on.
6. Read Personal Finance Blogs
There are thousands out there, but you only need to find a few you love! A great resource for personal finance articles is Rockstar Finance. It collects the best personal finance articles on the web and releases a few featured articles every week day. (Fun side note, one of my articles was featured in April and it was crazy awesome! Check out the article here).
To get them, you just need to sign up with your email and it pops up in your inbox every morning at 6:30. If you don’t want to sign up for their email, just bookmark their site.
7. Research and Learn How to Budget
Budgeting is one of the greatest tools you can use to improve your finances. There’s no magic formula or button to make your financial woes disappear. It’s as simple as tracking your spending, income, and saving every month until you develop healthy financial habits.
If you don’t already have a budget, I created a FREE budget course to help you get started. You don’t need any experience or skills with spreadsheets. The course comes in a series of emails and a video to walk you through making your own budget spreadsheet. It can seriously change your life to start tracking your spending. It did for us.
Grab your Free Budget Course Here!
Remember, when you change the way you think and believe, then you can change the way you act. Think of it as an investment in your future. You need to learn and educate yourself until your thoughts begin to change.
When you change your attitudes about money, it will change your life because what you believe really does matter.
Let Me Know in the Comments
What do you believe about money? Where did your attitudes about money come from?
Our budget and goals changed our lives and it can change yours too.
Our budget and goals changed our lives and it can change yours too.
As an Educator and Personal Finance Blogger, Jamie has helped hundreds of families learn how to budget, save money, and pay off debt (go here to subscribe and start your debt free journey). Read our debt free story, “How We Paid Off $73,000 of Debt in Less Than Four Years”.
Great article Jamie. I think the larger point you highlight here is a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset. At least that is what resonated with me when reading this.
I you think about how bad you are with money or that investing is something you will never learn…then it will be that unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecy.
I enjoy taking the challenge and learning new things as often as possible and feeding my growth mindset. It is funny though how I can have a growth mindset in some areas, but fixed in others! One of these days I’ll figure it out!
That’s a great way of putting it Cooper! And as a teacher you’d think I would’ve used the phrase growth mindset at least once!
If you’re going to be in a self fulfilling prophecy, it might as well be a positive outcome. What areas are you good at having a growth mindset?