I write this as we head towards New Year when many people will be making New Years resolutions around their hopes and fears for the year ahead. I will be one of them. Lord knows, I could do with dropping a good few pounds, getting myself organized and taking more exercise
One thing I did do last year (though not at New Year admittedly) was to think about (and change) my attitude towards money - my "money mindset" if you will, so that instead of thinking negatively about money, I actually started to think more positively. And I urge you to do the same.
Think about it for a second. What is your mindset about money, and where did that mindset come from?
Was it from your parents? Was it "not the done thing" to talk about money when you were growing up? Did your parents argue over money so that it became a negative thing?
Or are you jealous of people who make more than you do? do you believe they deserve it?
Or do you see other people as always "on the take" - trying to make more money with ever increasing devious means - their main mission to take your hard earned cash off you?
Money is linked to so many emotional sentiments in our lives that it is no wonder so many people battle with getting a healthy mindset about it.
I remember going to the toy shop as a child and my parents not having enough money to buy the toy that I really wanted
I remember my parents arguing over money and just something as simple as paying the bills
So how can we adjust our mindset to think more positively about money?
First step is getting your finances under control. That will make you feel better.
But another great first step towards a new and more positive money mindset is to look at what truly makes you happy. Or would make you happy if you had it?
So go on.. ask yourself...
What Makes You Happy?
Here are some examples:
- Is it a scenario where you can comfortably pay all your bills month on month and leave some residual money over for your leisure activities?
- Or is it that you have enough set aside to push the kids through college?
- Or is your ideal lifestyle one where you re working with people who share your vision and passion for life as colleagues or business partners?
Whatever your dream, you can bet that money will likely have a role to play in bringing that dream to reality…but that’s okay.
Break down your lifestyle dream into manageable chunks. Then determine the steps you have to take to reach that lifestyle goal. You’ll find that working towards realizing a lifestyle goal can help you to create a healthier relationship with your money.
For example, one of your personal ambitions may be to take the whole family to Disneyland for a "dream holiday" but at the moment that trip seems like a pipe dream because you have bills to pay and responsibilities (financial and non-financial) which simply stop you in your tracks.
So break it down into small steps
First of all talk it over with your family, partner and even your boss. Is your goal realistic? Are you capable of achieving it? Is it something your family actually want ? (or is it a personal dream?)
Next, investigate the cost of getting to Disneyland and the options you have in terms of length of stay, accommodation options, travel etc and start to formulate a plan to save for the trip
Above all - resist the temptation to say you can’t afford the trip and keep going This is your goal remember, something which you really want and are striving for …
Now look at your budget and examine where you are spending your income. Is your discretionary income going towards activities that support your goal? If it isn’t, then start making hard decisions about how you are spending your money. The cost of that second or third latte of the day could be put towards your holiday.
Next look at ways you could raise some extra money
- When is the last time you received a pay rise from your employer? If you haven’t thought about your lifelong goals and their relationship to money, you likely haven’t been very aggressive about your earnings. Discuss your performance with your manager - you may be surprised
- If you are eligible consider working some extra hours or overtime to supplement your basic income
- Look at getting a second job specifically to pay for your holiday
- Ask the kids to contribute - especially if they are teenagers and can do a bit of babysitting - and set them a challenge to save up as well
- Look for ways you can earn extra money online or by providing some sort of service to others in your local area
- If you’re self-employed, perhaps now is a time to revisit your rates and implement a long overdue increase.
Essentially this is an exercise about articulating your goals and taking control of the money you generate and spend to help realize those goals.
It is also about confronting fears and long-standing assumptions about money, you can achieve a healthier mindset about money and make lasting, positive changes in your life.
And the great thing is that once you have achieved one goal you can set your sites on loftier, life changing goals and change your relationship with money for ever
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Meet the Author
Andy Thompson is the author, webmaster and site editor
I'm really just an ordinary Dad who has managed to get a grip of my family finances, and I like to write about what I (and my family) have learnt.
I believe there are really just a couple of steps to getting on top of your finances - budgeting, goalsetting, earning more and/or spending less. DadCash deals with them all and more.