Discover whether you have a poverty mindset or an abundance mindset and learn how to change your money mindset with wealth affirmations, free printable money mindset journal prompts, and so much more!
This post includes a lot of information on how to tell if you have a poverty mindset or an abundance mindset, the causes of a poor money mindset, and steps to help you develop an abundant money mindset. There is also a printable with money mindset journal prompts at the bottom of the post! You can use the menu below to navigate, or you can just scroll on down.
This post may include affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission on purchases made through links at no additional cost to you.
Signs you Have a Poverty Mindset
Everyone has a relationship with money, but not everyone has a healthy relationship with money.
Your money relationship is not determined by how many dollars you have in your bank account or what your savings portfolio looks like. Your relationship with money is about how you view money and how you use it to improve your life.
A person can have a higher salary and so much money money in the bank but be trapped in a poverty money mindset. Conversely, someone with a modest income can have an abundant mindset and more than enough money to achieve everything they want. It’s all about your frame of mind!
I’ve learned this lesson the “hands on” way. I’ve been unhappy in life situations that would seem ideal to an outside observer, but incredibly happy while living in a house without electricity or running water. By the same token, I know people who make multi-six figures but have a poverty mindset while other people who earn a fraction of that are generous and say they always have more than enough money.
So, how do you know if your money relationship is a good one or a bad one? Here are some signs that your money relationship could use some improvement.
Feeling jealous or bitter
You go to the mall and see another shopper buying the beautiful dress you wanted and you feel a pang of disappointment then jealousy.
You see your friend taking her kids on vacation for spring break while your family is struggling to make ends meet. You feel angry and bitter whenever you think about it.
Or maybe you just feel jealous that other people seem to have things you can’t afford. (It’s okay, I think we’ve all been there! I certainly know I have. Try not to judge yourself for it.)
These feelings are understandable. It’s frustrating to struggle with money when it seems like everyone else has it so good. Acknowledge these feelings when you encounter them but don’t focus on them. Negative feelings hurt you in the long-run and make it harder for you to improve your own money situation because you’re so busy keeping score. Instead, name and honor your feelings. Accept them, then let them go.
As a society, we’re taught to believe that feeling jealous is bad and shameful, so it can be difficult to own up to jealousy. It is difficult to own up to being jealous, even to yourself, but if you can it will help you immensely. Say to yourself “Even though I am jealous, I can still deeply love and accept myself. I am not my jealousy. This jealousy is just a feeling. Thank you for teaching me something about myself and my money mindset. I release you.”
Hoarding is a huge sign of a poverty mindset.
When they hear the word ‘hoarding’, most people think of houses filled to the brim with useless junk and shocking TV shows featuring homes with mounds of stuff on every surface. Some types of hoarding are less obvious than that. It might be that you’re holding onto a closet full of old clothes because you’re afraid you might need them at some point. It could be that you keep things—even broken things—because you think you’ll find a use for them some day. Hoarding because of a scarcity mindset can also manifest itself as a fear of spending any money.
Poverty-mindset hoarding doesn’t necessarily with your daily life, but it does affect your relationship with money. You’re subconsciously sending yourself the message that you don’t have enough and you never will. Instead of living in abundance and trusting that you’ll have enough to meet your needs as they come, you’re sending the Universe the message that you expect to not have enough.
You blame & complain
Blaming and complaining are toxic and trap you in a victim mentality.
Many people blame others for their situation in life. It’s their parents, the government, the economy, the zip code where they were born, their boss, their coworker, their spouse, their children – something else is what’s holding them back.
When you to tell yourself that you’re a financial victim and that things will always be this because it’s beyond your control, you will always find someone willing to victimize you. It’s like going around with a big “kick me!” sign on your back! Your situation can’t improve into you’re willing to improve your mindset and let go of resentment. As long as you think of yourself as the victim, you’ll have a hard time developing a healthy money mindset.
I’m a recovering blamer and complainer. The book Complaint Free World opened my eyes to how detrimental complaining really is, which led me to try going complaint free. You can read more about how complaining negatively impacts you here, but regardless of whether or not you read more know that blaming and complaining huge signs of a lack/poverty mentality.
You use the language of lack
You say things like “I only have” this amount of money or “I can’t afford” to buy that. Using negative language to describe your financial situation and purchases is a sure sign of a poor money mindset!
The first step to changing your financial outlook is to acknowledge that you’re not happy where you are. Once you do this, financial doors will begin to open for you and you’ll discover a better relationship with money.
Learn how to stop struggling with money when you download your free Money Mindset workbook at the end of this post!
What causes a poor money mindset?
Understanding why you have a poor money mindset is key to changing it. These are some common reasons people have a poor money mindset:
Your parents had poor money mindsets
For better or worse, families impact our relationships with money.
If you grew up in a home where money was scarce, your attitude toward money may reflect that. You might constantly worry about money and stress over everyday spending, like buying groceries or even toiletries. You always look for the cheapest option (even if it isn’t the best overall value) and you focus on how everyone is trying to take money from you (the government, the big corporations, the health care system, etc.).
I have been there, done that and completely empathize is this is where you are right now! I inherited a poor money mindset from my family and have spent years working on cultivating a more abundant mindset.
There’s nothing wrong with being frugal and wisely considering your budget. In fact, being smart with your money is awesome! The problem is when you slip into scarcity and lack. You can struggle with a poverty mentality even if you’re in a great job and make plenty of money because your attitude toward money is rooted in lack.
Your friends have poor money mindsets
Motivational speaker John Rohn said “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Having friends or coworkers with poor money mindset can drag you down, too.
How can you tell if your friends and coworkers have a poor money mindset? Think about conversations you’ve had with them and whether money has come up. Do they complain about the price of gas? The cost of groceries, summer camp for the kids, or auto insurance? Before you know it, the conversation is over and you’re left feeling horrible because you spent the past hour focused on everything you don’t have and can’t afford.
A poor money mindset is contagious. The people you surround yourself can help you achieve all of your financial goals or they can hinder you.
You lack self-confidence
Sometimes poor self-confidence can cause an equally poor money mindset. Maybe you think you’re bad at math or that you’re not smart enough to understand finances, so instead of creating a budget and managing your money you try to avoid money, altogether.
Or maybe you think you don’t deserve a “better” job or a raise so you settle for being underpaid and unhappy. Once again, I know how that feels. I used to work a minimum wage job (even though I had a college degree) with lots of responsibilities and no benefits. My lack of value and self-confidence showed and I ended up being sexually assaulted by my boss and one of his friends.
This event was my big wake-up call that set me on the (long) path towards valuing myself and having an abundant money mindset. I quit that job, even though I had nothing else lined up, and trusted that everything would work out. It did – within two weeks I was working a better paying job where I was more highly valued (and it was related to my degree!).
That change of jobs certainly didn’t fix my lifelong poor money mindset, but it put me on the correct path.
If you suspect your lack of self-confidence is affecting your money management, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone else before you reach a crisis point. Read up on personal finances or check for local money management classes. A lot of libraries and community centers have money planning classes available for free or at a very low cost.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for your free printable journal to help you work through the causes of your poor money mindset!
How to Develop an Abundant Money Mindset
After you’ve examined your current money mindset, where it came from, and any self-sabotaging habits you may have, it’s time to create a better financial future by developing an abundant money mindset!
1. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Forgive yourself for your poor money mindset and any financial mistakes from the past. Forgive others for contributing to your poverty mindset and for anything they may have done to hurt you finically.
Forgiveness opens the way for new, positive feelings surrounding money and helps you remove a victim mentality. It allows you to move forward without being chained to your past.
2. Respect your money and treat it like a friend. Take a look in your purse. Is it full or receipts and trash? Do you have stacks of coins sitting around everywhere? If money were a person or a pet, would it tell others that your home is a nice place to be?
Clean up your purse. Organize (or toss) your recipes. Put all your coins in one place. And, if you haven’t done it yet, create a budget. Creating a budget is a huge part of treating your one with respect. There’s so much more to say on this that I created a whole additional section below on how to take control of your finances!
3. Thank your money. Instead of feeling guilty whenever you spend money, say “thank you.” Be grateful you have the money to spend. Thank it for its presence in your life and for what it allows you to purchase.
4. Develop a gratitude practice. Don’t just thank you money – take the time to be consciously grateful for the many blessings in your life. If the idea of a gratitude practice is new to you, I’ve got you covered! Kickstart your practice with this gratitude challenge.
If you’re into the Law of Attraction, you know it is the theory that like attracts like. Put simply, good vibes will bring more bad things, but good vibes will bring more good things.
If you’re grateful for the good things in your life, you will find more things to be grateful for. You will be like a magnet attracting positive things into your life!
On the flip side, if you are ungrateful for the things you have and if you spend your time complaining, you will receive more things to complain about. If complaining actually solved anything, the biggest complainers would be the wealthiest, happiest, most successful people around. Do you know any complainers who seem happy? I sure don’t!
5. Clean your home and donate your unused stuff. This helps you develop a positive money mindset in several ways.
Remember when we talked about how hoarding stuff is a sign of a poverty mindset? Releasing unused or unwanted possessions helps free you of this hoarding mentality. I’m a big fan of Marie Kondo’s suggestions to thank your items as you let them go. I’ve personally found thanking things and treating them with respect helps me let go of them.
As you thank your items, express gratitude that you have so very much abundance in your life that you can give away things. Wow! You truly are abundant.
Clearing away clutter also creates space in your life for abundance. Clearing space in your home and life can show you are truly ready to receive more.
6. Stop blaming and complaining. I followed the Complaint Free challenge in Complaint Free World. The author, Will Bowen, directs you to place a bracelet on one wrist. Every time you complain, criticize, or gossip, switch your bracelet to the other wrist. The object is to go an entire 21 days without complaining. By that point, you’ll have completely changed your outlook on life!
My complaining habit was so engrained I had to get a wrap bracelet that was sufficiently difficult/annoying to move that I was really, really motivated to not have to move it.
When you stop blaming, you signal the Universe that you are the proverbial master of your ship, not a victim. When you stop complaining, you show that you are happy and abundant. Your expectations shape your reality – by seeing and expecting good in your life, you will receive more.
7. Change the way you talk about money.
Focus on using the language of abundance instead of the language of lack. This goes along with thanking your money and developing a gratitude practice but it’s important enough to merit a point of its own!
Say “I get to pay the internet bill” because you’re lucky enough to have internet at home. (That makes you instantly better off than the majority of the world’s population, by the way.)
Say “I have a whole $50 to spend” instead of “I only have $50.”
Say “I feel better spending that money on…” instead of “I can’t afford…”
Figuring out how to phrase things positively is a fun challenge that will become second nature as you practice!
8. Feel abundant now.
Take a few minutes to consider what you would do if you were already living an abundant life. What would your life look like? How would you spend your time? How would you dress or care for yourself?
After you have a few ideas, pick one or more of them and act on them. Live as if you already have your abundant dream life.
For example, maybe if your time and money were more abundant, you’d have more time to spend with your family. Set aside a block of time in the next week to enjoy your family’s company – stop waiting for the future! Find a way to bring one or more of your dream life activities into your current life and you will begin to feel happy and abundant now.
If you’re ready to take this a step further, create a “sunny day” fund.
Sunny days are the ones where you decide to take a road trip in the middle of the week or spend a couple of days at the beach during the off-season. Your sunny day fund can be used for anything you find fun and enjoyable.
9. Use affirmations, journaling, coloring pages, and other tools to help retrain your mind.
Reading a blog post (or even a book) is only part of the process. I hate to sound cliché, but this information only works if you do!
You can nod along and tell yourself you want an abundant money mindset, but unless you take action, you’re not going to see results. Affirmations, journaling prompts, and coloring pages can give you concrete things to work on, plus physically putting pen to paper helps so much.
That’s why I created a free printable money mindset workbook for you!
I used to keep the money mindset workbook in my member’s only area, but I decided to ungate it and give it away right here!
More mindset resources
How to create affirmations that work
Natasha is a former classroom teacher turned WAHM. She also is a registered yoga teacher & holds a certificate in natural skincare formulation from the School of Natural Skincare. She shares her passion for education, positive parenting, free printables, and recipes for DIY bath & home products. Learn more about Natasha and where she’s been featured.