A couple of months ago I shared two new books I’d bought on my Instagram and asked my followers which one they would like me to read first and report back on.
Jen Sincero’s You Are A Badass At Making Money won. It actually only won by a slim margin (to be fair there was tough competition - it was up against Tara Mohr’s Playing Big which I have still yet to read!) but I was secretly pleased.
Why? Because I have issues with money. And by that I don’t mean loads of debt – I am in a fortunate (carefully or maybe hard earned?!) position where I have no debt. Even my student loan is paid off - a ball-and-chain in the world of debt for many I know!
What I mean is I have issues with my mentality around money. And I am increasingly aware, now more than ever working for myself, setting my own rates and working out how much I want to earn, that it’s holding me back and getting in my way.
Ever since I studied Business Studies for A Level (that’s aged 16-18 for those not familiar with the UK education system) I realised my mentality towards money could be described as ‘zero budgeting.’
Zero budgeting means acting like you have nothing. Allow a budget of precisely zero for everything you need to do above exist. Every purchase is painful. Every penny out carefully considered. Every unnecessary item pushed down the list of priorities.
Throughout my 20s living in London I was obsessed with where my money was going. For about two years I tracked every. single. penny. of my spending. I produced pie-charts of where my money was going each month and each year.
And what did I learn? Pretty much what every 20 something renter in London already knew: my biggest outgoing was rent and travel. What was left (less than 50% of my monthly income) was spent on going out and food - increasing amounts when I started this blog!
My mentality around money has definitely also come from the way I was brought up. My mother was very proud of the fact she did the weekly food shop for the three of us with just £40. She was (and still is) a charity shop addict and perpetual bargain hunter. And don’t get me wrong, there is much to be admired in that. My mother is more creative with a small amount of money than I will ever be and what she manages to achieve with the interior of her home, the gifts she buys and makes people and her own personal style is something I don't expect I'll ever be able to replicate!
But as I’ve gone on through life I’ve come to realise zero budgeting isn’t a great mentality to have around money. And having read and loved Jen Sincero’s How To Be A Badass, I knew her money-making book was going to have some straight talking truths about how my mentality around money was holding me back. And it did.
Here’s what I learned and a few of the tips, mantras and tools Jen shares in the book:
Everyone has beef with money
Everyone has some kind of relationship with money. And 'relationship' really is the operative word here.
We treat money like a person sometimes – the way we describe it, moan about it, despair that it’s left us, are filled with glee when it’s with us. We link it to people, experiences, our past and how we feel about ourselves. We listened to our parents say things about it which formed our opinion too.
That’s nothing to be ashamed about – we just have to observe what we’re saying and thinking about money and find ways to change the story we’re telling ourselves if the story is negative.
One of the tasks Jen suggests in the book is to write a letter to money. Like it’s a person. Notice the limiting things you say about money or the way you let it control you and your emotions: “You always leave me” or “You’re never around.” “You’re so hard to get” or “I’m not comfortable around you.”
List out the limiting things you believe about money and flip them! Some of mine went from:
I never have money
I do have money. I always have and I always will.
Earning money is hard – the people I see with lots of money work long hours and hate their jobs
Earning money is easy if you’re putting out the right vibrations into the world (more on that later)
Surround yourself with people that are comfortable with money
This one was hard to chew but probably just what I needed to hear. When I read Jen’s recommendation to start listening to what people around me say about money I was a bit horrified.
How many times in an average week do you hear the people around you saying any of these things:
“I can’t afford it”
“Well I’ll obviously never have the money to do that”
“Sounds great but not possible with the way my finances are right now”
It’s not that you have to stop loving the people who say those things. But it might be worth challenging them once in a while. Because the more you keep saying or hearing these negative things, the more they feel like the truth and they sink into your psyche.
See above on the first task about writing out positive statements and phrases about money. These are the kinds of things you need to hear every single day. Not the negativity.
You have to be clear about what you want and ask for it
Sometimes it’s nice to dream about having a lot of money and what you’re going to do with it. But have you ever got specific?
Like… if you have a dream location to buy a house or a fantasy car, how much do they cost? Do you have a figure in mind? Do some research! Write down all the prices of the things you want in your life. If you had to earn that much money – how would you do it? Could you break it down into what you need per year, or per month or per week?
It doesn’t just have to be material things you want money for either, or self-centred things - although there is absolutely nothing wrong with that by the way. Think about your why for earning money.
“I want to earn €100,000 next year.”
- It will enable me to save for a deposit for a house
- I will be able to take me and my boyfriend on a dream holiday
- I will be able to grow my business and help even more people
- I will be able to give money to my favourite charity
- I can start a pension and save for the future
How is that going to make you feel?
- Happy to treat others with gifts and experiences they want
- Secure for the future
- Like I am having an impact on the widest number of people possible
Your why(s) are so important because without them you aren’t really motivated to take action and make changes.
We talk a lot about your whys when we’re doing goal setting workshops on The Reset retreats and its totally applicable to money mindset too. Get specific and identify what is driving you.
Money is energy
Okay I’m about to go a little woo-woo on you now, but I feel like if I’m ready to hear this then you might be too.
One way Jen Sincero introduces in the book to think about money is as a flow of energy. If you are putting out positivity, creating amazing valuable things, experiences and products, helping people, changing lives in a beneficial way: people want that. And people are willing to pay for that.
They see the value you are going to add to their lives, all the benefits, the way you’re going to help them and how amazing they’re going to feel and they want to exchange what they have (money) for what you can offer.
I actually really like the idea of money as energy. Because it moves away from the idea of cold hard cash, hard to earn and keep, and takes money to a place where it’s just a form of exchange for the good you are adding to the world.
It makes me focus more on value-add content and makes me realise if what I am producing through this blog, my course and the retreats is of value (which I know it is!) then it is right to exchange with people for it. They get what they want and the money that flows in to me I can put towards my desires and dreams.
Some tools for you for a better money mindset
Here are the money mantra’s Jen shares throughout the book.
Write them out, stick them in places you’ll see them every day, say them out loud, record yourself saying them (I have mine saved in my phone and listen to them when I’m walking places!) and make them stick in your brain until they pop up there naturally:
- I love money because I love myself
- I love money and money loves me
- I love money because it’s the root of so much awesome
- I love money because money is always here for me
- I love money because I love living an awesome life
- I love money because it comes when I call
- I love money and am grateful every day that it’s surrounding me with its glorious goodness
- I love money because I am a fearless, badass moneymaking machine
- I love money because it makes me more of who I truly am
- I love money because it gives me freedom and options and that’s how I love living my life, with a whole lotta freedom and options
- I love money because it lets me be the most me I can be
- I love money and will not give up until I am surrounded by all the wealth I desire
By the way if you love affirmations and mantras like this we do 21 Days of Affirmations over on The Reset, sign up here, totally free and start any time.
If you want more I would highly recommend you get your hands on the book and read it for yourself.
I have made you a little download of all the tasks Jen has in the book which you could definitely have a go at right now, but the book will put them into so much context and has loads of great stories and anecdotes. All together the whole thing is super persuasive and has definitely helped me a lot with my money mindset.
Let me know what you think! I could probably do another couple of blog posts about this topic – would you be interested?
I wrote this post on knowing your value which is linked in many ways you might enjoy until then.