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Unhelpful Money Beliefs & How to Find Yours

Your subconscious beliefs about money impact what you do with your money. Here’s how to find and eliminate yours.

Hey y’all,

This week we’re diving into mindset.

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How to Find and Eliminate Your Money Scripts

Money scripts are the unconscious beliefs you hold about money. They’re called scripts because they’re often not fully known to us, and we follow them blindly the way an actor might follow a script.

For example, if you grew up hearing, “Money is the root of all evil,” you may hold a belief that earning more than you need will lead to a negative outcome.

These scripts are crucial to address because they impact your financial outcomes. 😬 Think about it — how you feel impacts your performance on a daily basis.

Money beliefs are the same way. If your beliefs have been programmed over the years to believe money is scarce, you’re likely to view it with a negative, scarcity mindset. This translates into actions like holding onto every single cent you earn, never spending on impractical things, and constantly fearing going broke despite being financially stable.

There are four core money scripts:

  • Money Status: Your self worth is primarily tied to your net worth. You might prioritize outward displays of wealth — having a nice car or home because it will look good to the outside world.

  • Money Worship: You believe money is the key to happiness. Money solves problems, so you often purchase things in an attempt to achieve happiness. Nothing ever quite feels enough though.

  • Money Vigilance: You are concerned about your finances, and having enough money is of utmost importance to you. You think financial handouts are wrong, and you think having money must come from hard work.

  • Money Avoidance: You might believe money is bad and that you don’t deserve money. You might view wealthy people as greedy or corrupt, and believe it is virtuous to live with less money.

This quiz will help you find your money script.

Money scripts aren’t all bad — there are benefits to each one, but the downsides tend to overpower the benefits. By addressing your money scripts, you can shift away from the downsides and find a more balanced state.

How to Break Out of Your Money Script in 3 Steps

#1: Make a list of statements you heard growing up.

  • What is your earliest memory of money?

  • If you went shopping with your parent(s), what was the conversation like when looking at price tags? At the register? Did one of your parents ever hide purchases from the other parent? Was “don’t tell Dad about this” a common phrase when shopping?

  • When talking about work, how did your parents and early care takers talk about the financial side of work?

Identifying these can help you rewire the beliefs.

#2: Brainstorm ways to recognize the antithesis of your belief.

  • If your earliest memory was around the scarcity of money, how can you create opportunities to learn about how money is abundant?

  • If you always heard “You can’t take your money to the grave, so might as well spend it,” how can you create space to realize the benefit of both saving and spending mindfully?

Here are a few examples based on your script:

  • Money Status: For 7 days, at the end of each day, make a list of the things that day that made you happy or things you’re grateful for. After 7 days, highlight how many of those things contribute to your social status. You may find that social status isn’t what truly makes you happy.

  • Money Worship: Create a budget around the life you want to live right now. How much do you need to live? Also, consider keeping a journal of “things I want to buy.” When you feel the desire to purchase, write it down instead of throwing it on the card immediately. Revisit in 7 days, and think through your intention with making that purchase.

  • Money Vigilance: Create a financial plan for the next 10 years. What are your goals and how does your current financial status support that? Also, make a list of your financial worries. Then, create a list of evidence that supports and disproves those worries. Which list wins?

  • Money Avoider: Schedule time to check in on your money each week. If you can, schedule that time with a friend or partner for accountability.

#3: Speak about your money scripts with people you trust.

Some people believe in the idea of “moving in silence,” but I think accountability from sharing your goals with people you trust is more powerful. Let people know around you what you’re working on, and it may prove to be beneficial.

For example, my friend knows I’m working on my scarcity mindset, so when she catches me saying something like “Ugh, I just feel like I’ll never have the money other people do,” she’ll come back with, “Reframe that. There is enough to go around for everyone, and you can’t wait for the day that wealth is yours.”

It’s somewhat of a swift kick in the a$$ for my mindset, but it keeps me in line.

Helpful Resources

For an in-depth video about money scripts, check out this one from financial psychologist and the creator of the Klontz Money Script Inventory, Brad Klontz. It’s a long video, but you can listen to it podcast-style; you don’t have to view the screen to understand what he’s saying.

If you need help keeping track of your thoughts about money, consider using a money journal. It may help keep you accountable to sticking to the process of rewiring your scripts.

If you need a place to track your income, expenses, and debt, I like using the Boost app. I find the visuals super helpful in being able to see where I’m at financially (and where I’m headed).

What I’m Thinking About

Our subconscious beliefs about money impact how we handle it a lot more than we think. I’ve been thinking about how this relates to debt, and especially our mindset about how to get out of debt.

Next week, we’ll dive into debt, strategies for paying it off, and some of our favorite resources for managing your debt payoff journey.

In the meantime, consider your own thoughts around debt. Do you feel hopeful about your ability to pay it off, or do you feel frustrated and scared? How did you acquire that debt? What kinds of debt do you have?

See ya next week,