Do you believe that you will never have enough money? Does the thought of money evoke feelings of fear, dread, and cause you endless stress and anxiety?
I want to be very clear–there is a difference between a scarcity mindset and having legitimate financial struggles. For those who are in a money crisis mode, the following scarcity identifying factors are survival techniques. When I refer to a scarcity mindset, I’m referring to those who have the financial means but have limiting beliefs surrounding spending money.
What exactly IS a scarcity mindset? This is a (mostly) irrational fear surrounding your thoughts on your finances. Often the scarcity mindset stems from your money story. The values you form surrounding money are formed in childhood. This mindset holds you back. When you believe that you can’t have the life you want, chances are you are correct. If you have this constant, irrational fear surrounding money, chances are you have a much higher level of stress and anxiety in your life.
Just being stressed about finances does not equal a scarcity mindset. Many people with healthy views of finances experience stress. To help you determine if you have a scarcity mindset, do you identify with the following?
Are you stingy with tipping? Do you find yourself wanting to save a few dollars by skimping on tipping when you are out to eat? Do you pass up opportunities to tip to save a few dollars here and there?
Do you judge others spending choices? Does it bother you when a friend makes extravagant purchases? Do you feel pangs of jealousy when you browse social media and see pictures of friends enjoying fancy meals out and fun vacations? Do you silently think that you are doing better than others when you realize a friend or family drives an older car or lives in a modest home? It’s essential to keep in mind that looks can be deceiving. Social media is never the entire story; it’s a one-second snapshot of someone’s life that they are choosing to show. Attempting to count someone else’s money never works out well. If you recognize yourself judging others for their money choices, remember, there’s enough money to go around. Someone’s decision to purchase an expensive car has no bearing on your life whatsoever.
Do you expect freebies? Have you set expectations that you are entitled to as many free things as possible? Are you an independent adult with a family of your own, but you still expect your parents to foot the bill for meals and vacations when you see them? When you see a waiter headed to the table with the check, do you find the need to get up for one reason or another at that exact moment?
Are you hesitant to dream of a successful future? How often do you find yourself using the word never when it comes to realizing your dreams?
Do you find it challenging to be happy for others when they find success? When we have a scarcity mindset, we find it hard to be happy when friends and family realize their goals.
Do you feel that when someone acquires something of value, that lowers your chances of having the same? Rationally think about this.
Do you subconsciously, or even consciously, want others to fail? Of course, this one is difficult to admit, but consider this and see if you identify with this statement.
Do you eat unhealthy foods only because they are inexpensive? The least expensive foods tend to be the least healthy. Your health is your wealth. I urge you to work on this. I’m not going to step on my lifestyle soapbox, but I want to remind you that healthcare costs can be outrageous.
If you recognize yourself in any of the above statements, you likely have a scarcity of money mindset. With this mindset and thought process, you genuinely believe that you will never have enough money. This way of thinking leads to excessive stress and anxiety. The good news is this way of thinking CAN be overcome.
Some ways to overcome a scarcity mindset include:
Journaling Having a journal allows you to self reflect. I recommend keeping a gratitude journal where you take time daily to ponder what you are most grateful for in your life. Journaling entails more than just thinking about something. Taking the time to write down what you are thankful for (or other feelings, both good and bad) makes your thoughts tangible. It’s simple to let your mind wander, but your thoughts become visible when you write it down.
Create a money plan. Having a solid plan in place, you can allow yourself leeway and freedom to spend without stress when you are confident that you can meet your goals.
Build savings. Have a goal in mind. What amount of money do you need to make you feel secure? How much money do you need so that you can live without fear of losing everything?
Start a side hustle. Having a productive side hustle where you have extra money coming in helps alleviate financial stress. Side hustles are an excellent way to reach your financial goals faster and help you achieve a healthy financial wellness level.
Protect yourself. While many view insurance as a wasted expense, nothing could be further from the truth. Insurance is your financial safety net to protect yourself from monetary loss. Life insurance is necessary if someone is dependent on your income. Accident insurance can save you money on deductibles, and Drs visits when you have an injury. Rental insurance protects your property. Knowing you are protected from extreme financial loss through having adequate insurance protection provides peace of mind and goes a long way towards alleviating a scarcity mindset.
Don’t beat yourself up if you struggle with a scarcity mindset. It can happen to anyone. The way you deal with it can have an enormous impact on your life. Work towards overcoming these issues, and you will find that you can reduce your stress and anxiety over money.