Do you want to improve your relationship with money? I don’t mean buying gifts for your partner (that may or may not work depending on their love language). This week we are going to discuss improving the relationships we all have with our money. Your money mindset makes a big difference in how successful you are financially. If your relationship is on the rocks, don’t worry. There are ways you can start making small changes to improve your money mindset and repair this lifelong relationship.
My First Date with Money
My father is a pain in the butt to shop for. He doesn’t wear any clothes with writing on them, logos or bright colors. He could pack his entire wardrobe in one suitcase. The guy hates clutter more than I do. My mom will give me ideas but he rarely seems excited about what we buy him. However, miraculously one year when I asked him what he wanted for Father’s Day and he had an answer.
A video game. This game cost $50 and it was going to be his no matter what.
I was a waitress at the time at a small coffee shop. At the start of my shift and throughout the day I kept thinking “I am going to make $50” over and over. I can’t tell you what I normally made in a shift for tips but I know it was usually less than that. However, I took all of the tables I could. Each customer got their drinks served exactly the way they wanted. My energy was up and I didn’t feel the least bit of frustration about the kitchen backing up or lines forming. All I wanted to do was make that money. When I made $50+ that day I remember thinking – that wasn’t so hard. That attitude about making money has stuck with me for decades.
A Working Relationship
A man I used to work with kept a calendar of days until retirement on his desk like he was serving a prison sentence. Having him on the team brought everyone down. If you had a project with him you knew from the start that he would do the bare minimum. He didn’t care about the result, just about crossing off days. Why managers keep people like this on their team confuses me to this day. Yes, it is hard to fire someone. There is a right way to do it but someone always suffers. However, this mindset can drag even the happiest employee down and ruin a culture.
Protecting myself from toxic environments has helped me maintain my positive mindset when it comes to making money. Several jobs later I still believe that work can be enjoyable and I can make what I want to make. It is my choice to be happy or frustrated. Choosing to be eager, curious, and positive about what you do will bring more money your way.
Would You Break-Up with Yourself?
Imagine your money is your partner. When you first started making money were you excited about it? Proud of it even? Did you feel great looking at your bank account and smile on payday? I remember being THRILLED when I was making 1/3 of what I make now. Sure my bills were lower and I didn’t have a family to help support but that doesn’t matter.
On the flip side, do you feel ashamed of your money? Do you compare it to everyone else’s money and think it is pathetic. Do you think the only way you would ever be able to have what you want would be winning the lottery because you will never make what you want?
Let’s be real here – money isn’t a person. It’s a thing that has no power until you turn yours over to it. If you treat it like some loser boyfriend don’t expect it to ever make you happy. No matter how much you make you will always find a way to spend it or wish it was more. Also, stop looking at everyone else and thinking they have it so great. They probably aren’t worrying too much about you. You can only control your thoughts and when you do things can start looking up immediately.
How to Repair Your Relationship
There is no perfect salary or reasonable amount of money that would make everyone happy. When people ask me how much money they should have saved it amazes me that they think I know the answer. There isn’t one. However, if what you make now doesn’t feel good you need to start looking at where it goes. When you focus on what you spend it is easy to see some places you can redirect your spending to start feeling better about what you have. If you love your job but it isn’t a high paying field start looking at others that seem to do well and try to figure out what they are doing differently. Shifting your focus from jealousy to curiosity can be a start to getting you in a healthier place.
Another thing you can do is stop talking down to yourself when it comes to money. If you can’t afford something instead of feeling awful try to focus on the positive things you are using the money for instead. For example, I just went to a party at my friend’s gorgeous beach house. My six year old asked why we didn’t have a beach house. Did I say it is because “money is tight” or “we don’t make enough money” or “they are more successful than us”? No, of course not. This is not how I feel. I did tell him that we didn’t have a beach house because we like to have money saved which allows us to travel to lots of different places and visit our friends whenever we want. I feel good about that and he did too.