I love those budgeting blog post that seems like they can turn me into a budgeting diva overnight! They have actionable steps, are easy to follow, and boasts results in the thousands, but after a few
weeks days, I turn right back to my detrimental ways.
Because change is hard!
Changing your mindset, habits, and priorities about money is a struggle bus. It’s much easier to start with behavior modification like:
- Stop eating out… to start buying expensive organic
- Start saving…to get a new car
- Get a second job… so you can keep feeding your Starbucks addiction
You can make all the trendy changes you want in your financial life, but fads go out quick! Without a true mindset change, you will spend another year growing your debt and your financial dark hole will be a little more comfortable.
Don’t get comfortable!
As easy as it is to make quick changes, it’s almost twice as easy to go back to bad money habits! Come to terms with all of your financial decisions and evaluate how they affect you now and in the future. It all starts with your Money Mindset.
Don’t just make a financial plan. Truly believe the reasons behind the plan! Change your money mindset!
Come to Terms With the Facts:
According to Adweek “Marketers spend 500% more on millennials than all groups combined”
As millennials, we have been breed to spend on food, clothes, electronics, and experiences. Anything to give us a high and to be better, prettier, and best! We love new things!
That’s why Apple can still make millions of dollars with the same iPhone and negligible changes. When people realize that all they do with their smartphone is text, call, and use the apps they realize that you could do that 6 iPhones ago.
Our education system doesn’t teach us about money. I was lucky enough to have it as an option in college, but most schools don’t have anything. We are driven by a societal message that college is the only way to make it, hence the $20,000+ of average college debt.
The increased cost of healthcare, higher cost of living, retirement investing, student loans and other debt, combined with bad spending habits leave very little savings for millennials. Small emergencies can wreck your finances for months and leave you paying interest on your accumulated debt for years.
Millennials are less likely to pick up credit card debt. Yay! But, more likely to stay at home essentially stunting their actual money knowledge.
A lot of people emerge from their parents in their late twenties and then go into culture shock when they see how expensive life can really be. They have a hard time learning to scale back on their wants so they can fulfill their needs.
Yes, the struggle is real, but sometimes you need the struggle to learn, grow, and break bad money habits.
Changing your money mindset now can dramatically change your financial future by this time next year. Take it from me! 😉
This is the year to learn the truth about money and use it change the course of your life!
The Heart of the Matter: Why My Money Mindset Changed
It was mid-2014, I had just broken up with my boyfriend and ran home to my parents a completely broke, jobless, debt-filled wreck.
I was the prodigal daughter – my parent’s inheritance + my own money and it was a total depths of despair moment as I evaluated my finances and my life. At that moment I felt I had failed at both.
I struggled through three weeks of raw, painful emotions.
I had just gotten a “new” car with a car payment /insurance, maxed out both of my measly credit cards ( one was actually over-maxed by $60), and recently used all my savings. Stack on my $24,000 in student loans with repayment starting in 3 months and things were even more tragic.
I saw it coming
I was the girl who always had a plan and knew the right choices to make. The thing is having a plan doesn’t count, making the right choices is all that matters.
Moving to a city after college that had no job to offer me, murdering my savings, letting people borrow money from me, frequent wine runs, and even more, frequent credit card swipes disintegrated my finances.
My financial and lifestyle choices only had one end. The ending my parents, teachers, finance blogs, and the Bible I had stopped reading a few months back warned me about.
*Cue the dramatic music * If I continued on this careless and irresponsible path I would only go deeper into the hole and the bright light of hope would only get dimmer. (I’m a super fan of Anne of Green Gables, if you are with me, comment below! 😜 )
The only way I could stop that ending was to make some BIG changes, not just in my lifestyle, but most importantly in my mindset.
Below are the key steps I took to start the progressive changes in my money mindset that have truly changed my life.
How Your Money Mindset Can Change:
All of the steps below can be implemented at different stages and don’t have a specific order. The last step is something I recommend starting as soon as yesterday to accelerate the mindset change with the truth about money. You don’t have to hit rock bottom to begin a mindset change. You can start right now! Preventing the struggle is ideal, but getting out of the struggle leads you to the same direction, it’s just a much bumpier road.
**Affiliate Links are in this post, for products I love and totally recommend **
1 | Ask God and Yourself for Forgiveness
The first and most personally necessary step for me. The feeling of forgiveness and cleansing brings hope and that hope moves you forward. I got a well-paying job a week after I ran home and I directly give all the praise to God. I don’t believe in luck, I believe in provision!
The hardest part of this process is forgiving you. I’m still carrying that as a goal into 2017, but the time will come. Do not sit there and beat yourself up or succumb to hopelessness about your financial situation. It will improve! Small pushes towards the right direction can snowball into one of the best decisions of your life.
2 | Find Quick Sources of Income
If you are in between jobs or need to get rid of debt quickly, do a couple of these to find your balance.
- Plasma: When the going gets tough the tough get’s going. I truly was going to leave this out of the post as I was slightly embarrassed about admitting how desperate things got. But it was necessary to maintain the small strings of dignity I had! Plasma helped pay for my car note, insurance, and monthly minimums on my credit cards and cellphone, while my parent’s generosity took care of my basics the first month I lived with them. Plasma helps you (it pays up to $400 a month) and saves the lives of others. I am not going to write a blog post about the process, it’s really not that cute, but it pays the bills!
- Uber: I tried Uber as a side job and it turned into an extremely embarrassing story you can read here.
- Surveys: They suck but the money is legit.
- Babysit or mow lawns: Neighbors, co-workers, church members, classmates, friends, family.
- Sell your things on Craigslist: Free, easy, and people will jump over the moon for the really good stuff.
- Turn off anything that pulls money and isn’t basic to your survival. (Everything but the Internet of course, that is a basic need!) If things get hard enough, turn off your car insurance and start taking the bus.
I recommend and stand behind all of these for emergency money situations before you ask someone else or the government for help. As an adult, you have to learn how to get yourself out of your own messes. Especially when it comes to money! No one put a gun to your head and forced you to swipe your card or give that cashier all your money. You made the decisions and you need to deal with consequences. Tough love is real love! #BigSisterTalk 😇
3 | The Money Evaluation
This process opened my eyes about my spending habits and introduced me to the whole new world of a credit score.
If you cannot see your errors, you will never change them.
Write down all your credit cards and loans
- Log into your banking and loan accounts and find the exact amount and interest for each debt you have. Be sure to write down every single loan. Student loans are shown lumped together, but each individual loan has its own interest rate.
- Use this calculator to see how long it will take you to pay the debt off.
- Ask yourself how much more a month you can put towards debt. Even an extra $5 makes a difference.
- Recalculate your debt payoff date(s) and mark it in your calendar.
Check your credit score for free with Credit Karma and Credit Sesame
I use Credit Karma to see my score from both Transunion and Equifax and Credit Sesame for the overview and credit factor gradings. The score they show is about 40 to 50 points lower than your actual score. The loan, credit card, credit inquiries and collections information are accurate.
Both sites are easy to sign up with and allow you to see exactly where you need to approve with actionable recommendations. I found a $34 dollar doctor bill that went to collections in my name and the exact people I needed to call to remove it. Make sure to check into every credit inquiry and payment in collections and correct or pay them.
Only go to these sites on your personal computer/ phone that’s connected to your personal wifi. Identify theft will definitely wreck your credit!
A score below 680 will create unnecessary stress when it comes to apartments, houses, cars, business loans and other life possibilities, aim for a 750 or above.
Follow their recommendations and check your score every month. It took a year for me to improve my credit dramatically. Consistency pays!
Write down a financial roadmap of goals
Now that you have set a few goals for your debt and finances, you have to make sure you achieve them.
I placed all my goals in my financial roadmap in my reminder app on my iPhone and had it reminds me to review my goals every morning at 9 am. I also set weekly and monthly reminders to review my budget and finances. Every small financial choice has to be whipped into shape for you to reach your goals.
Financial evaluations, that I still do yearly and weekly, set the forest fire to my mindset change.
With the Financial Overview Spreadsheet, you can see ALL the money you make in a year and exactly how it leaves your pocket. Make various copies of it and play around with different factors such as how getting a second job or turning off cable affects your yearly budget. It’s exactly what I used to do my own evaluation, but without the amazing self-calculating and cute colors, I added for you. See your financial future and make the needed the changes now.
4 | Give Yourself An Allowance
Yep, like your parents gave you. This is one of the best ways to cut extra spending!
Having an allowance
allowed me forced me to say no to the invites to dinner, road trips, new outfits etc because I needed that money for more important things.
An allowance will make you think before you spend money and this, my friend, is one of the basic steps to a money mindset change.
Sagacious Tip | Swiper No Swiping!! I had to use cash and leave my card at the house when I first started my allowance because it was way too easy to swipe past my bi-weekly $50 dollars on my card. Do this for the first few months until your spending urges are tamed. Also, it’s super embarrassing to be at checkout and not have the money. (or maybe that’s my pride talking! 🙄)
5 | Cut Expenses
Here are some super simple ways to cut your expenses that truly worked for me. My initial savings was $900+ and then $300 a month.
- Refinanced car payment -$48 monthly
- Shopped around for car insurance and saved 50% with Geico –$72 monthly
- Asked for an extension on my student loan deferment –Gave me time, but took away money with interest
- Moved into a studio apartment that paid for all utilities– Initial $100 and then $50 monthly
- I did not buy anything new for my apartment. I made everything or Craigslisted/Goodwilled/Christian Missioned – $500+
- Meal prepped- Stay tuned for the Everyday Finances part of the Financial Literacy series, where you can learn how I brought my grocery bill from $250 to $120
You can do at least 3 of these within the next week. Start today!
6 | Automate Payments and Savings
Make your bills, extra payments towards debt, and savings automatic!
Automatic payments force you to be accountable because the money has to be there or you are gonna get some costly overdraft fees. They also remove the stress of paying bills, set it up once and forget about it.
Make sure your savings is in another bank account. I had to move all of my automatic savings to my Capital One 360 savings account and made sure it didn’t have a card connected to it. That was one of my better decisions in funding my emergency fund.
This is my #1 tip in building up an emergency fund/savings and paying off debt without the sting of seeing the money go. Set up the automatic payments on your paydays. You will get used to the smaller check and love the payoff!
7 | Money ReEducation
These are the real Money Mindset changers I needed to keep motivating me throughout the year.
- Mr. Money Mustache: This is my favorite money man! He gives it to you straight about your bad money habits and makes you take full responsibility for your actions. I love re-reading his blog post just for motivation. He is also one of the reasons I aspire to retire early and decided to learn more about investing.
- The blog post that truly opened my eyes about my debt
- Shop My Closet Project: The most down to earth personal finance blogger. She tells the struggles and joys of getting out of debt and being a soloprenuer.
- Moneyunder30: This guy is awesome. He is knowledgeable is all about the actions you need to take to get where you want to be. His email newsletters are always packed full of stuff about personal finance that anyone under 30 needs to hear.
- Penny Horder: A “fun” personal finance blog that is full of stories of what other people have done to get out of debt and fun news updates. They are the MVPS of free food post, that part of college life will never leave me!
- Investopedia: You will gain a thorough understanding about money after spending a few days on this site. Read and soak it all in. Check out the awesome simulator and try your hand at investing.
- The Message Ministry Edition: The Bible in Contemporary Language: One of the best ways to put money in perspective. “The LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil…” 1 Timothy 6:10
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!: This amazing biography gives you an amazing look at your money beliefs and shows how the rich think compared to the poor. It is a must read for changing your money mindset. Free PDF version.
- As a Man Thinketh: This is more about the importance of how you think and its affect on your life. Change your money mindset and change your life.
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich: This book shows the importance of action in finding success. Being passive in your life or with your money won’t lead you to the full life you could live.
- The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be: Excellent read about how the many paths we take in life can be avoided if we just remember one principle.
- Earl Nightengale: 9 months ago a good friend sent this to me and it has sparked a mind revolution about money and about how my thinking affects my life. It’s the inspiration behind the money mindset blog title.
- His/Her Money: Amazing inspirational stories of people becoming debt free.
- The Minimalist: A hilarious journey in minimalism and life. The coolest theme song and totally legit host.
- Budgets and Cents: Down to earth and genuine talks about the self-employment journey and encouragement for you to begin.
Evaluate the ReEducation:
- Get right with yourself, ask for forgiveness and see the beacon of hope in whatever bad financial decision you made/make. Know that it can be undone and fixed.
- Do a financial evaluation every year and know where your money is going at all times. Don’t forget to grab the ReEducated Budgeting Spreadsheets.
- ReEducate yourself on personal finance and you will be amazed at all the wrong ways you thought about money. It truly is mind-boggling.
- Keep reading the Financial Literacy Series for even more financial ReEducation.
Thanks for reading! Do you have a money mindset that needs to be changed or did you already start your change? Subscribe to get the Financial Literacy Series sent right to your inbox and comment below!