Have you ever considered how you think and talk about money (if you even do!) and the effect it can have on how much of it you have? Admitting you think about money and worse talking about money is taboo. It’s time to break out of that taboo and talk about money, and not just about how much you don’t have. 

Talking about money is important because you want to keep money top of mind. When you make it a focal point of your life you aren’t running from it you are running towards it. 

Why is talking about money important? 

Think about salaries, most companies have a formal policy about employees discussing their salary, but why? Because if everyone knew what everyone made, a lot of people would be pretty upset to find how little they make compared to their peers. This system benefits companies not employees and making salaries transparent would give employees collective bargaining for better wages and benefits. 

Another example, I recently went to buy a car and the entire time they only wanted to discuss what my monthly payment would be. I had to ask what the total price of the car would be and what I would pay after interest when it’s paid off. They are hoping I only focus on the “small” monthly payment not the whole amount, it sounds easy to say “it’s just $15 more a month” but when you break that down for 30 months, its an additional $450 plus interest! They use the fact that talking about money is weird to get people into situations that aren’t good for them. 

If you are comfortable talking about money, you are more comfortable asking to be paid for your work. People bank on artists and creators loving what they do so much they will literally work for pennies just to do what brings them joy. That can’t continue and we collectively have to band together to demand fair pay for fair work in the arts and that starts by not being afraid to say, “hey these are my expenses and this is what my expertise and creativity are worth.” 

I believe that we all opt-in to a system that is inherently built to keep the have’s and the have-nots exactly where they are. Money is a power structure and the first step to breaking it down is acknowledging it, naming it and pushing back.

What is a lack mentality? 

A lack mentality is essentially the idea of scarcity. Most people are told there is only so much wealth to go around and that belief, albeit subconscious, effects the way we seek out money, spend money and save money. When you are always operating under the assumption that money is scarce you will be more reactionary vs. rational. If you have an abundance mindset you won’t jump from reaction to reaction because you have a more stable mindset around your finances. 

There was a study where they took rich children and poor children and made them the same offer, you can have one cookie now or if you wait 20 minutes you can have two cookies. The results of the study found that children from poverty more often took the one cookie now while children from better-off homes would wait for two cookies later. This is the perfect example of a lack mindset, these children have never seen the scenario of waiting work out for them, so why would it now? Children from wealthy homes see investing work out consistently for their families so the idea of putting aside their impulse for a larger reward later is not seen with such a high risk. 


Concrete Actions to Build a Two Cookie Mindset

If you want to break from a lack mindset and build an abundance mindset about money you have to focus first on being less reactionary and more rational. I lovingly call this my “two cookie” mindset. You can build a “two cookie” mindset about a lot of aspects of your life but I’ll get into that in another post. 

When I was in my early twenties I dated a man who was an accountant and he loved a good budget. He taught me how to budget my money and set up rules for myself to break my bad habits around impulse control. Those new healthy abundance habits are exactly how I was able to save enough money to buy a house as a freelance designer and consultant. 


Create a 7 day waiting period – When it comes to any purchase over $50 I give myself a 7-day waiting period. If I get the impulse to buy some new clothes or gadget I always wait a minimum of 7 days before I make the purchase. Most of the time I never end up buying what I thought I needed to buy originally. When I started this I set the budget at $25 because I made a lot less money, start where you need to and move it as your income becomes more abundant. 

Get a budget buddy – Find a friend or partner who you are comfortable discussing money with and have them be your budget buddy. Set a spending limit, say $100, that if you want to buy something, and it has been 7 days, you have to tell them about the purchase before doing it. They must commit to being a pragmatic partner and ask the tough questions about what you need. 

Create a 50/30/20 budget  50% for needs, 30% goes to fun, and 20% is for future you. Everyones income is going to be different and will hopefully grow as you grow so using percentages allows your budget to grow with you. You may not be able to create this exact percentage breakdown but whatever you choose, stick to it until your financial situation changes and adjust accordingly, with the goal of hitting 50/30/20.  Check back in on your budget often, I suggest one hour per week going through all your transactions so you can always see where you can improve. 

Forgive yours past money mistakes – Forgiveness is important step to creating an abundance money mindset. If you are carrying the shame of your past mistakes into your new mindset it will more tempting to want to hide from the hard work ahead. No one has been perfect with their finances, no matter what others tell you. Reach out to those you owe and have wronged and figure out a plan to complete repayment. I suggest using the Snowball debt method if you have debt to repay. Being debt free is for sure the way to be, and if you are taking on debt make sure its for the reasons that are right for you, not to chase what others have. 

Have Gratitude – Having gratitude for your money and potential money is a cornerstone to an abundance mindset. By practicing gratitude you will enjoy less jealousy around your perceptions around other people’s money. I get it, it’s super hard to resist the urge to want what others have, even if, deep down, it’s not even the right thing for you. Focus that energy on appreciating what you have and will earn. Buying a home is a perfect example, ask just about anyone and they will tell you they want to buy a house. I always push back on that. If you are a nomad-type why would you ever want to spend time saving $30k+ for a downpayment when you could likely live off that savings for years as you travel the globe. Yes, society will tell you that owning a home is the “right” thing but is it really? Do what makes you happy, not what you think you are supposed to do with your money. Have gratitude for what you have and explore what you actually want. 


Keep working on your money mindset every day. It’s a process that starts slow but quickly picks up speed the more you invest in building these new habits up. If you have questions, thoughts or money mindset tips, leave them in the comments below.