My Mind on My Money: How Your Thoughts Impact Your Finances

Do you feel like you just can’t get a handle on your money? Are your finances a mess? Pay attention to your thoughts. The choices you make and how you manage your money are greatly impacted by the way you think. Your money mindset can lead you toward financial health or financial disaster, so it’s important to make sure you’re thinking the right thoughts when it comes to your money.

Getting the right money mindset

Woman thinking about money

Woman thinking about money | Thinkstock

If you receive a large bill that you’re not sure you’ll be able to pay, your first thought might be, “There’s no way I’m going to be able to pay this. I’m so broke.” From there, that one negative thought can have a domino effect, causing you to think similar thoughts. You’ll likely go through your day dwelling on how broke you are and how you wish you had more money.

How you respond to these thoughts could cause you to react one of two ways. These thoughts could encourage you to find a side job or look for a better paying full-time job. However, these thoughts could also cause you to become defeated, and spend more money to make yourself feel better. If you have a tendency to respond the second way, your actions will cause you to dig yourself further into debt. The key to overcoming this destructive path is to work on developing a healthier habit that can replace your inclination to speak negatively about your finances.

Changing your money script

Woman with money

Woman with money | iStock.com

Once you become aware of the thoughts you tend to have about money, you can take steps toward making the appropriate changes. One way to do this is by changing your money script. Money scripts, according to Psychologist and Certified Financial Planner Brad Klontz, are the messages we give ourselves about money. These scripts are developed during childhood and are the driving force behind your financial decisions as an adult. A research study led by Klontz uncovered three categories of money scripts that can have a negative impact on your financial health. They are money avoidance, money status, and money worship. According to the research results, these three scripts are linked to lower net worth, lower income, and higher revolving credit.

As soon as you begin to think negatively about your finances, get into the habit of replacing that negative thought with a positive one instead. You can keep a money journal where you write down your thoughts concerning money so that you can keep track of when you start to think negative thoughts. Next to the negative thought, write down a positive one. For example, if you catch yourself thinking about how broke you are and how you’ll never have enough money, write down next to that thought that you are on the path to wealth and you are working toward building a better financial future. Also write down a list of your financial goals and put them in a place where you can see them. This will serve as a reminder that you are on your way to a brighter financial future.

How to maintain financial success

money

Counting money | Thinkstock

Sure, you’ve taken a tumble or two when it comes to money management, but now it’s time to dust yourself off and start fresh. Here are a few tips for developing and maintaining a positive money mindset.

Let go of guilt and shame. You may have made some truly terrible financial decisions, but there’s no use beating yourself up over it. Forgive yourself for your financial missteps and move on. You won’t be able to attain financial health if you’re constantly berating yourself and punishing yourself for being bad with money. Learn from your mistakes and resolve to do better.

Visualize success. If you need some motivation to reach your money goals, create a financial vision board. This is a collage of images representing your goal. Each day, look at the board and imagine yourself getting to where you’d like to be with your finances.  

Let go of bad influences. If you have friends or family who engage in reckless financial behavior, it’s time to clean house. If you want to heal your finances, you’ll need to spend less time with them or let go of them altogether. At the end of the day, you’ll be the one left to deal with your finances, so do what you can to clear out the people, behaviors, and things that are blocking your progress.

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