A full-fledged, decluttering movement is sweeping the nation. People are systematically examining each possession they have, asking themselves if it sparks joy in their hearts, and letting go of anything that brings them down or holds them back in any way.
Purging the physical clutter in your home has transformed an exhaustive slog to a nearly reverent time in which you honor and thank the items you’ve let into your life. It’s a revolutionary approach to tidying up your space and coming up with creative ways to pay off debt. And the same approach is perfect for tidying up your money mindset and making financial self care a priority.
Think about it: Over the years, your brain has absorbed countless ideas and drawn endless conclusions about money. Maybe those thoughts even served a purpose at one time. But it’s likely that you currently have some mental money clutter—including some financial self-talk that’s no longer working for you (or never was).
So let’s take a minute to tidy up your money mindset. Examine each assumption that’s crept into your subconscious and each conclusion you’re making—not only about money but your relationship with it. Does that thought or idea serve a purpose? Does it spark joy? If not, are you ready to thank it and let it go? And are you ready to honor the most valuable elements of your money mindset?
Today, we’re taking a look at some of the most common types of mental clutter people have when it comes to money and debt and asking ourselves, how much debt is normal? And we’re clearing out the psychological barriers and negative self-talk that are keeping you from feeling empowered and pursuing financial health.
There are countless paths into debt. You lost a job or suffered a medical crisis. A lousy housing market sent you underwater on your mortgage. You, like 70% of your fellow college graduates, took out student loans to fund your education. Or you used credit to finance a lifestyle you weren’t yet able to afford.
Whatever your story, we all have one thing in common when it comes to debt—money shame. Money coach Tammy Lally recently noted that people routinely equate self-worth with net worth. And people in debt often convince themselves they’re “lazy, crazy, or stupid—or just bad with money.”
Naturally, no one wants to talk about money shame. In fact, people are more willing to discuss marriage troubles than financial troubles. But you are definitely not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that 80% of Americans currently owe money toward some form of debt.
Fortunately, there are mindshifts you can make today to beat back your money shame and get closer to living a debt-free life.
Start with gratitude, an astoundingly powerful force in your financial life. Forbes reports that gratitude not only increases your happiness and health but also is scientifically proven to boost your wealth.
Next, begin talking about your debt. Remember that decluttering your money mindset isn’t a project you have to tackle alone. So don’t be afraid to say to friends, “I can’t afford those expensive concert tickets. Why don’t we hang out at my place this weekend?”
When you start talking about your money without shame, you’ll begin to see it as separate from your identity. And you may even inspire others to open up about their own struggles.
How often have you told yourself (or other people), “I’m just not good with money”?
Followers of the decluttering trend fervently assert that tidying up is something you learn. Well, it’s the same with money management. Improving your financial health involves educating yourself and getting the tools and systems that you need in place on how to stick to a budget and avoid living paycheck to paycheck. And maybe you simply didn’t have those skills before.
Once you recognize that debt isn’t a personal or lifelong failing, you can see it for what it truly is—a temporary situation that you can fix with the right knowledge and right resources. This new mindset can empower you to take action to improve your money skills and seek out the right tools that can help you along the way.
Fear—especially money fear—can be paralyzing. Just as you’re afraid to peer into your disorganized attic or basement, you might be afraid to really look at your debt. You’re petrified by what you might find. And you’re terrified of making the wrong money moves . . . so you may end up doing nothing to improve your financial health.
When you organize a drawer, the first thing you do is dump everything out where you can see it. Likewise, when you look at everything in your financial story—the good, the bad, and the ugly—you’re no longer left wondering what you don’t know and assuming the worst. When you can see the boundaries of your money troubles, the problem becomes finite. And finite problems—even big ones—can be conquered. One. Step. At. A. Time.
On top of that, there’s a profound sense of empowerment that you get from understanding where you are compared to where you want to be. Knowledge is power, afterall. Suddenly, you’re not a lost cause. You’re simply at the beginning of an incredible journey.
The best way to build your confidence with money is to start racking up every single win you can and avoid poor financial health. Even the tiniest success can give you enough momentum to hit your next target, then your next one, and so on.
You wouldn’t decide to purge your entire house in a day. You’d start with your purse, a drawer, or a closet. In the same way, target one tiny area of your finances you’re ready to tackle. (Wallet Hack offers a great list of quick & easy financial wins to get you started.)
Start with the unintimidating tasks. Begin telling yourself, “I can do that!” and build momentum. As your confidence and skillset grows, you’ll find yourself embracing strength and positivity that you’ll welcome into your newly tidy money mindset. And you’ll thank yourself for decluttering your psychological barriers and creating order in your financial life.
If you’re ready to shift your money mindset and explore a new way to conquer debt, we can help you get there.