Breaking Your Bad Money Mindset
Start Shopping Smarter
Shopping, whether you love it or hate it, it’s something we all do for one purpose or another. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to function in today’s modern society without spending money. It may feel like there’s nothing you can do about it, but actually there is, you just need to start by asking yourself — Am I approaching spending with the right mindset?
Understanding Needs vs. Wants
Most of us know the feeling, the rush that comes along with spotting that seemingly perfect product on the shelf or scrolling across an ad that feels like it was tailored just to you, (because it probably was). That feeling alone is often all we need to drive us to that final purchase and become temporarily price tag blind. According to shoutoutuk.org, “Spending is all about pleasure and reward, when people have spent all month working hard, spending can serve as a type of emotional therapy.”
So, how can you start shifting your mindset to focus on needs vs. wants? Start by giving yourself a cooling off period from that initial rush feeling. This could be a few days, or a few weeks, it’s all about finding out what works best for you. Another point to consider is that needs rarely change over a short period of time, unlike wants. Our wants are typically fads fueled by superficial trends that ultimately fade. Of course, this is not to say you can’t indulge yourself every once and awhile but it’s all about shifting your mindset to create balance.
Change is something many individuals struggle with since for many of us it feels unnatural and uncomfortable to do the opposite of what we’ve become accustomed to. Creating a change requires decision making and action which becomes much more difficult than just leaving things the way they currently are. This is one of the reasons habits are notoriously difficult to break.
How can you combat your resistance to change? Use what we’ve become so accustomed to in this world — technology. Set up automatic payments, cancellations, and deposits that will eliminate the decision making for you. For example, set up a percentage of your paycheck to automatically deposit into your savings account. This way it will be like you
Always Wanting More
Our society is constantly feeding us the idea that we need more of what we have, including the latest and greatest products on the market. This idea of always wanting more is referred to as overconsumption. You’ve probably seen it before, if not fallen victim to it — popular apps, influencers, and ads telling us we need the exact same product in five different colors simply because it displays well in our home. Though what they don’t tell you is that overconsumption is a dangerous game that often leads to more “overs” — overspending and overproduction. Overspending wreaks havoc on your wallet, while overproduction pollutes and devastates our planet. Start switching your mindset from reactive to proactive and begin to stop, think, and consider.
Stop — Your hand from reaching over to the shelf.
Think — About what the product does and what it will do for you.
Consider — If you already have something similar at home that works just fine, and go back to understanding your needs vs. wants.
Only Seeing What You’re Losing Instead of Gaining
It’s all too easy to approach the idea of budgeting with a loss mindset, saying things like, I can’t have what I want right now because I need to save for the future. Though, what if you flipped that statement to say something like, I’m saving for something I need in the future so I’m going to pass on what I think I want right now? Immediately, your mindset will enter a more positive flow of thinking and you will begin to feel better about your choice to pass up on the latest fad. Thus, budgeting doesn’t need to be seen as a sacrifice, but as a purposeful plan built around your core values.
Making the Switch
Though sometimes it can seem like we’ve lost control as a consumer, the good news is that ultimately you’re the one in charge of your finances. Change isn’t easy, and switching the way you think won’t happen overnight, but with a little patience, and the will to commit, you can break bad money mindsets.