So much of learning to turn your money around has to do with attitude and perception. For nearly two decades Rick and I had the perception that there was “nothing we could do” to change our financial mess. And guess what? We didn’t change our financial mess! Then one day we became desperate and overwhelmed by our situation. Overwhelmed with living paycheck-to-paycheck and constantly worrying about money.
The stress became severe enough that we started searching – desperately – for stories about people who had overcome their own complete mess of a financial situation. And guess what? We found LOTS. Google “how to pay off debt” or “debt success stories” and you’ll suddenly be inundated with scores of people who were swimming in financial trouble and found a way out. When we started seeing these stories we realized that the answer to our financial problems – as Dave Ramsey says – in the mirror.
Attitudes that Will Turn Your Money Around
Over time, we realized that there were several attitudes we had about money that had to be changed if we were going to make this “getting out of debt” thing work. Here they are, in no particular order.
I am Responsible for My Money
We used to say “I have no control over my money situation” and “it is what it is”. Then we learned that our daily money decisions had consequences, and that if we changed those daily decisions that our money situation would be different. This sounds silly to many of you, I know, but when you’re raised with the perception that there are “haves and have nots” and that your money situation is just “luck of the draw” it’s tough to turn from looking outward to looking inward regarding your finances.
Once we did that (and it was NOT easy – don’t kid yourself) things started to change. It’s a tough attitude to adopt, but it’s the first one you need to adopt in order to change things.
Buying Things Doesn’t Fix Problems
There’s a short-term thinking mindset among broke people that buying stuff will make your problem all better. And it may, for a few hours. But then the “new and shiny” of whatever you’ve purchased wears off and you’re left with more debt and the same problems. It’s like when you go out for a night of partying, bathe in the laughter and fun of downing dozens of jello shots, and then wake up the next morning with a serious hangover (not that I would know anything about that 🙂 ). It may be “fun at the time” but the ramifications of the actions have made the problem worse.
Emotional Healing Improves Financial Healing
This one was TOUGH for us. We didn’t realize how much our childhood troubles affected our management of money. Once we uncovered that, we had to go through the whole process of revisiting the wounds, cleaning them out and bandaging them up so that they’d heal properly. When that looooooong process was done, we saw our money issues much more clearly and had the strength to conquer them and manage our money in a way that was truly beneficial for us and our family.
Perseverance is My Friend
Perseverance is a good thing, but it takes time and strength to develop it. After years and years of attempting to manage money well and then throwing in the towel when roadblocks came (which usually took about thirty seconds) we decide to start pushing through those roadblocks and keep on going. We started looking long-term at our progress and realized that the financial setbacks were only a blip on the radar compared to our overall progress. This encouraged us to keep going and realize that any progress was still progress, no matter how slow.
One of the reasons Ruth and I blog so passionately about personal finances is that we desperately want to see people overcome their financial struggles. As Ruth and her hubby have learned, and as Rick and I have learned, life with diminishing debt and a flourishing savings account is a much more peaceful way to live than our former paycheck-to-paycheck “systems”.
You deserve a life of financial peace. Don’t give up on your dream of being debt free!
What attitudes are – or were – stopping you from turning your money around?