Have a Better Relationship
Most people have a love/hate relationship with their money. But we have to interact with money every single day, so why not tip the scales a little further in the love direction?
Imagine this: You are making more than enough money to pay all of your living expenses with plenty of extra for fun, investing, saving and giving. When bills come in the mail (or over email) you joyfully open them, pay them and file them with ease. You have a great financial team who supports you in making smart decisions. You feel secure in your retirement plans. You know your worth. You rock your earning potential. You have the freedom to make choices in your life based on your passions, not based on the price tag.
This reality is not a pipe dream. This is absolutely possible for you.
What it takes is consciously falling in love with your finances. Fear, worry, doubt, guilt, beating ourselves up and shame are more commonly associated with money than love. But they don’t get us where we want to go. If they did, everybody would be a millionaire!
Check In With Your Money Daily
What we put our attention on grows. So if you want more money, and a better relationship with the money you already have, you need to pay attention to it. So often we avoid looking at the number in our bank account because we know we’re not going to like what we see (kind of like how we avoid stepping on the scale). But avoidance just leads to getting mired in the financial muck.
Instead, set an alarm every morning in your phone to remind you to check your bank account balance. Open it up online or on your smartphone, look at the number, take a deep breath and focus on a few things you’re grateful for that feel abundant in your life. This practice will train you to associate feeling good with paying attention to your money. (We humans aren’t that different from Pavlov’s dog, after all.)
Pay Yourself With Captured Money
Create a “Money For Me” account where you put "found" or “captured” money. Where can you “capture” money? Well, call up your credit card company and your bank and ask for fees to be removed from your account and for interest rates to be reduced. Those who don’t ask don’t get.
When you get unexpected income, put it in the Money For Me account. When you choose not to buy something or you negotiate a lower price on it, put the savings in the Money For Me account. When a recurring expense ends, like when your child goes to kindergarten for free instead of day care, which was costing you $800 per month, capture it in the Money For Me account before it gets lost in the family’s budget elsewhere.
Having a Money For Me account makes deciding not to spend money feel better. Over time you’ll spend less and save more because of the abundant feeling of paying yourself, instead of Nordstrom.
At the end of the month you can transfer the Money For Me balance into a long-term savings or retirement account; use it to invest or to give; or spend it on something you truly value.
Watch Your Words
Money is one of the most common areas where stinkin’ thinkin’ turns up. We think about lack, we talk about worry and we complain about not having enough. We also judge those who have more money than us.
But if you want to have more abundance, it’s important to speak and think words of abundance. Why? Because the words we use create the emotions we feel. And our emotions impact our behavior, which in turn creates our reality.
Replace “I can’t afford that” with “I’m choosing not to buy that.” Notice when you’re judging people who have money and ask yourself why. Your subconscious mind will sabotage your efforts to earn more money if you’re judging people who are high earners. Learn to embrace and celebrate abundance so you can create more of it for yourself.
Own Your Worth
Money is a system humans made up to trade value for value. We earn money in the marketplace based on the amount of value we’ve provided for someone else. The problem is, most people haven’t learned to value themselves. When you don’t value yourself, you don’t add as much value to the world and you don’t receive as much value in return. This leads to earning less money than you’d like.
So, how do you learn to value yourself? Start paying attention to the ways you add value to the world every day. Before bed each night, write down three things you value about yourself and/or three ways you added value to someone else’s life that day.
No one will value you more than you value yourself. Get in the practice of building your self-value muscle so that your earning power can grow.
Spend on What You Value
Between media messages, our mother nagging us, our kids wanting things and negotiating with our spouses, deciding where to put our money can feel overwhelming. Since money is a system designed to trade value for value, you can clear up this stress by asking yourself one simple question: What do I value?
Look back on a few moments in your life where you were at your happiest. Were they times when you were out in nature, spending time with friends and family, doing creative work or experiencing peace and calm? Identify the common themes from your happiest memories and write them down. For example, they might be adventure, community, health and creativity.
Write these top values down and keep them someplace you can see them often. When faced with a spending decision, review your values. If whatever you’re about to buy is not in alignment with your values, don’t buy it. If it is, great! You’ll get a lot more emotional bang for your buck (and ultimately need to spend less to feel good) if you spend in alignment with what you value.
Rename and Reframe
There’s a great saying: “How you do it is what you get.” The way we feel as we’re doing something is often equally as important as what we’re doing in terms of the results.
So when it comes to your financial life, you want to make being a good steward of your money feel good. One of the ways to do this is to rename and reframe financial activities that in the past have felt like drudgery.
A great example would be to rename your bills “Invoices for Blessings Already Received.” When you go to pay them, you can relive all the blessings you paid for in the past month and give gratitude for them (like the fact that you’ve enjoyed electricity all month and that you have a comfortable home to live in).
Another example is to call financial meetings with yourself or your partner “Financial Freedom Dates.” Put on an outfit you feel beautiful in. Play some nice tunes. Drink some seltzer out of a wine glass. Light a candle.
When you make showing up for your money feel good, you’ll be more likely to do it. And when you show up for your money regularly, you’re able to make, grow, receive and give more of it.
Be Generous Now
A common mistake people make is thinking they’ll be generous and give when they’re making more money. Interestingly, though, studies show that giving money to charity or even spending on others increases our feelings of happiness. So, while money can’t buy happiness, it appears that being generous with our money actually can.
If you’re feeling stressed financially, one of the best ways to affirm that there’s enough is to give a small amount away. Don’t give so much that you put yourself in a state of strain, but give an amount that reminds you, “If I’m able to spare this amount, things must not be so bad. I’m doing just fine.”
Some people use the rule of thumb to give 10 percent of their income, otherwise known as tithing, but choose an amount that feels right to you. In moments of feeling lack, even a few dollars given to someone less fortunate or a cause that really speaks to your heart will immediately lift your mood and create a feeling of abundance.
Kate Northrup is the author of the new book, “Money: A Love Story.” She’s leading a live online event with guest teacher, DailyWorth founder Amanda Steinberg, called “A Course in Having Enough.” The course is free when you purchase “Money: A Love Story.” Get details at www.moneyalovestory.com.