Money has a lot of power in our society, but having more money doesn’t change your relationship to it. It’s your relationship that ultimately defines your satisfaction around money and your ability to grow your income steadily.
Any of these practices will begin to shift how you relate to the flow of energy and resources we call money.
1. Apply Mindfulness
First, write down everything you spend your money on. Tracking each penny gives you a sense of where your money goes, what your priorities are, and what your weaknesses are. It’s not about changing anything, it’s just about developing mindfulness.
Mindfulness is not a special ritual or meditation. It’s simply noticing, applied consistently over time. Beyond tracking your spending, you can also apply mindfulness to your feelings about money, with a short daily journal check-in about what happened today with money and how you felt about it.
How mindfulness transforms your relationship with money:
Mindfulness is like a superpower when it comes to transforming unconscious beliefs and habits. Simply by observing your own behavior, it behavior will change without even having to apply willpower or self-discipline. This works because mindfulness brings old patterns and habits into the light of day, where they connect up to your present-day goals and values. This essentially updates the wiring for these habits and shifts them automatically.
Mindfulness itself does require self-discipline however–you have to apply it consistently over a period of time for it to work its magic.
2. Save 10% No Matter What
Save 10% of your income, from whatever source, and put it toward retirement (If you are self-employed, you can create a SEP IRA for this purpose). Put it as a line item on your budget that never changes, like the money you set aside for taxes.
How saving transforms your relationship with money:
This practice helps you develop discipline and frames managing your money as a long-term commitment to yourself.
Second, it teaches you restraint. Having that line item that you are not allowed to spend helps you develop self-control and tells your subconscious that you value stability and responsibility over that shiny new thing.
3. Create a Buffer & Overflow Account
A “buffer” is a minimum amount in your checking account that is a stable “floor” that you never let it fall under.
The buffer can be any amount you choose, but each month you will balance your account to that amount. So if your buffer was $1000, you would be at $1000 at the beginning of the month and at the end. Any extra you would put into savings, and any shortfall you would take out of savings. That will give you clarity if you are living within your means. If you constantly have a shortfall you would know that you need to immediately reduce your spending and work to increase your income.
Note: this is NOT your emergency savings. This is money that serves to be a “balance point” in your checking point that is higher than zero, so you eliminate overdrafts and you always know where you stand at the end of the month.
How a buffer transforms your relationship with money:
First, your buffer keeps you honest. Relationships require honesty, and your relationship with money is no different. Having simple, clear feedback on whether you are living within your means each month keeps you from lying to yourself or living in denial.
Second, it evens out any variability in your income. Variability can activate your fight or flight response, which is never a good thing. Putting extra into your saving each month, knowing you can draw on it for any shortfalls, will help you feel stable and in control, even if your income varies from month to month.
4. Change Your Money Beliefs
Make it a goal to identify as many of your conscious and unconscious beliefs about money as you can. Just becoming aware of them can help them start to shift.
Start with these prompts:
- Money is…
- Wealth is…
- I would have more money if…
- If I were wealthy, people would think…
- If I were wealthy, people would act…
- I want more money because…
- I don’t want more money because…
- I’m afraid I’ll never succeed because…
Write down how your parents and any other figures you looked up to used money. Then, brainstorm any beliefs you may have unconsciously formed from these people.
Next, write down your financial history – how you have used money and what it has meant to you in your life. Then brainstorm what beliefs may have influenced your behavior, and any beliefs these events may have left you with.
Once you have identified your beliefs around money, you can start to change them.
Simplify your list of beliefs until you have identified a few big ones. For example
- People who are wealthy exploit other people.
- Being successful will make my life overwhelming & destroy my privacy.
- I’ll never be successful because I’m just not good with money.
Then, start looking for evidence that your beliefs are too broad.
Don’t try to argue with yourself; think of it more as a discovery mission to see if there is any wiggle room in your beliefs. Trying to change a belief completely is pretty difficult, because they are there for good reasons. But all you need to do is drive a wedge in there and say it doesn’t apply to ALL people or ALL situations for you to be able to make yourself one of the exceptions.
For example, if you have a belief that rich people are exploitative, there’s plenty of evidence to back that up, which is why you believe it. But try looking to see if there is any evidence of any exceptions whatsoever. Who do you know who has more money than you? Did they exploit people? Remember, if there is only one exception, then the belief is too broad. Once you find your evidence, you can change your belief to, “Some people who are wealthy exploit other people, but I don’t have to be one of them”.
How changing your beliefs transforms your relationship with money:
Your beliefs are a powerful subconscious lens through which you see the world. By introducing uncertainty into those beliefs, you create more room for yourself to create a new story around money.Leave a comment