Raise your hand if you’ve ever been told to speak to yourself kindly like you would a good friend? I know I have. And there is definitely importance in how we speak and engage with ourselves. Our thoughts translate into our words, which translate into our actions. And over time, this is how we build our lives. Sometimes speaking kindly to ourselves is easier than others. But on balance, we all know it’s what we need to do. But, have you ever stopped to think about how you talk to yourself and others about your money? It’s important. Ultimately, how you talk about your money matters. While talking about our money positively may not immediately fix our bank accounts, get us out of debt, or pay our bills, how we talk about money is the foundation we build from. Talking and thinking about your money can change your relationship with it, help you see opportunities, and ultimately it can give you power in a situation that might make you feel powerless. Let’s look at four reasons how you talk about money matters.
How You Talk About Money Can Shift You Out of Scarcity Mode
One reason to watch how you talk about your money is that talking about it more positively can shift you out of scarcity mode. A scarcity mindset is a hyper fixation on what one doesn’t have or one’s perceived lack. With money this fixation usually stems from a worry that there isn’t enough money.
Sometimes, this worry is founded. Your budget might be tight. You may not have enough money to cover your bills or afford even the smallest luxury.
But, often you can find yourself shoved into scarcity mode as you see what others have or are doing. You may have plenty. But because you see an Instagram post where someone has more, your mind shifts to all the things you lack. If you keep this line of thought going around your money, you will only see what you lack. And your mindset and your wallets can suffer as you try to keep up with the Joneses.
Leaving Scarcity Behind
If instead, you are able to pick your head up, look around, and reframe your thoughts, you can shift your mindset away from scarcity. Instead of only seeing what you don’t have, look at what you DO have. Don’t constantly talk to yourself or others about all the things your money (or lack of) isn’t buying you. Instead look hard to see ways you’re working to get better with your money.
The best ways I have found to help clients shift their thinking from scarcity mode is to list three things they are grateful for daily. The things you list don’t have to be life changing (although they can be). But they should be things that you have or were able to do with your day that filled your cup.
My husband and I do this every night before we go to bed. He tells me three things he’s grateful for and I do the same. Some days we are grateful for something that happened at work. Others we are thankful for a yummy dinner, a good movie, or just a chance to relax. It helps us see that even though each day might not be good, there’s some good in every day! If you find yourself struggling with a scarcity mindset, pick your head up and find things to be grateful for. Then be mindful of how you’re talking and thinking about your money. You’ll likely see your perspective start to shift.
How You Talk About Money Can Help You See More Opportunities
Similar to talking about money in a context of what you lack or can’t have, talking about money in a limiting way can limit the opportunities you see. Have you ever heard the old saying “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail”? It’s one of my favorites. It means when you are looking for just one thing, that’s the only thing you see. If you are constantly thinking your money is limiting you or holding you back, that’s all you will see.
When this happens, you’re experiencing confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is defined as “the tendency to process and analyze information in such a way that it supports one’s preexisting ideas and convictions.” So as you move through your days you’ll find more examples of how your money is working against you if that is how you’re talking about your money. Remember, how you talk about money matters! To start seeing more opportunities for your money, or even opportunities to make more money, try re-framing your thoughts. Adding “yet” to your thoughts can help you get unstuck.
Instead of “I can never afford to go on a tropical vacation”, reframe your thoughts and say “I don’t have the money to go on a tropical vacation yet.” Yet puts some of the power back in your hands and can help you start to find solutions and take steps to reach your goals.
How You Talk About Money Keeps You in the Driver’s Seat
Your words have power. So it is important to be careful how you talk about your money and the power you give your words. If you aren’t choosing the right words, you could be giving up your power and putting money in the driver’s seat. It’s important to be intentional with your words and use them to maintain power over your financial situation. I see this struggle with clients (and I know I’ve fallen victim to it too). Often a simple statement, “I can’t afford it” can shift power in a negative way.
There are times you might say “I can’t afford it” when you truly can’t. But this phrase also often gets thrown around as a cover all for not wanting to pay for something or not valuing something enough to spend the money. And while saying “I can’t afford it” might not seem like a big deal, you are giving away your power to determine what your money does for you. To keep yourself in the driver’s seat, here are a few phrases you can use instead of “I can’t afford it.”
- “It’s not in my budget right now.”
- “That’s not how I want to spend my money.”
- “No thanks. I’m prioritizing other things right now.”
- “I’m saving my money right now.”
- “What if we do something else instead?” (Here you can suggest a less expensive/free alternative or an activity that lines up with your goals and values).
Each of these phrases will help you stay in control. And better yet, they all help you line your money decisions up with your values. When your money and your values line up it becomes easier to practice an abundance mindset and stay the course on your goals!
How You Talk About Money Can Help You Stay Focused
When you constantly think about or talk about your money problems, you can lose motivation and focus on your goals. If you are only seeing the problems, it can feel like you are making zero progress. This can cause you to stop taking steps that will help you reach your goals. And over time, it can even cause you to give up on your goals altogether. This is another big way that how you talk about money matters!
To help stay focused on your goals it is important to think and talk about the progress you are making. The best way I have found to help clients do this is to track their progress. When you track your progress, you can see the impact your efforts are having, even if they are small. And remember, what you measure you can improve upon. Seeing this progress can help you stay focused. This focus will help you make money decisions consistent with the life you are working to build.
A Few Final Thoughts
Your thoughts and words are important. If you can think positively and speak well regarding your money, you will be empowering yourself to make lasting changes in your finances. Changing how you talk about your money isn’t easy. But through small shifts like finding things you are grateful for, re-framing your thoughts through the use of “yet”, being mindful of the words and phrases you use, and tracking progress to stay focused, you can shift your money mindset. Having the right money mindset will help you build a good foundation and take the right steps to reach your goals. If you aren’t sure exactly how to start, or would like a personalized system for managing your money, financial coaching can help! Set up a free clarity call here to get started.