3 Ways To Change Your Mindset About Money (That Will Help You Have More Of It!)

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How To Save More & Improve Your Personal Finance By Changing Your Unhealthy Relationship With Money

Your relationships with people are important — but it's likely that your relationship with money goes sorely neglected and might even get abused from time to time.

When you have an unhealthy relationship with money, it's a struggle to figure out how to save more and better navigate your finances overall. Your wealth (or lack thereof) is constantly on your mind.

But the good news is you're not stuck. When your financial status is not what you want it to be, there are ways to change your mindset that can help your bank account grow — a lesson I learned when my family first came to the US for refuge.

When my husband, our two-year-old son and I fled communist Russia twenty-six years ago as Jewish refugees, the Soviets allowed us to bring only two hundred dollars and two suitcases per person, which came to a total of six hundred dollars.

Arriving in the land of the free, we were poor.

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In the early days of my life in America, I remember my first trips to overwhelmingly large, bright supermarkets full of produce and how intimidating it felt to be the timorous foreigner who was used to waiting in endless lines to buy a bone of beef to cook soup for her young son.

I think back to when my husband and I had to weigh each carrot and potato to see how many we could afford to buy — or if we’d have to choose between one or the other. We gratefully accepted all the generous donations of furniture, pots, linens, toys, and clothes given to us by members of the local Jewish community center. We borrowed money from my aunt (who had come to the US here before us) to buy a barely-breathing Chevy.

My husband, Felix, took jobs delivering pizza and selling vacuums, while I attended English classes at the local library and enrolled in a medical assistant course. We had to start somewhere. I had no idea that one day my husband would own a successful construction company and I would earn a Ph.D. in Natural Health Studies.

In those days, it was us (the poor) versus them (the rich). The gap was an ocean wide. But we wanted to swim across it and overcome our financial issues, thirsting for a life of opportunities and choices — that’s why we came to America.

Bravely, we dove in and sank to the bottom, signing a lease for a low-income apartment and receiving food stamps and welfare.

We thank God and the government for their temporary help. We did what we had to do to survive, while learning to swim in the vast waters of prosperity. But with the very first strokes, we had to decide what being prosperous meant to us, as this is an intimately personal and diverse definition.

For us, the American dream meant purchasing a home for our growing family. That represented success and fulfillment.

Owning a house was something we really wanted, yet could not afford. But four years later, we could.

To close the gap between where we were financially and where we wanted to be, we realized we first had to fix our relationship with money and develop better money habits.

Feeling poor on the inside can never produce a comfortable amount in the bank. Life always reflects our beliefs back to us (the mental conclusions we came to in our childhood as we observed grown-ups) about our self-worth and the potential we envision for ourselves.

So, if we wanted to buy a home, we had to change our thinking. It was time for us to replace our Medusa-ugly "poor" mentality with one that could lead us to the "Promised Land."

The inner transformation began for me one day as I was staring at a dollar bill, smoothing its crinkled edges and gazing at the Federal Reserve seal and serial number.

“Talk to me, George,” I winked at the American icon, the country’s father and first president. And believe it or not, at that precise moment, a deep realization formed in my mind. To me, this innocent piece of paper money symbolized the emotional essence of safety, stability, and freedom in life — something I couldn’t bear to live without.

And then I had another realization: Just like taking up space and inhaling air, it’s my birthright to feel prosperous, which means worthy, capable, "enough," and deserving.

At that moment, I knew that the journey of owning a home was an emotional voyage of developing a deep sense of personal power and self-esteem — not purely a financial one.

Who knew? I certainly didn’t.

Growing up in Soviet Russia, we were constantly programmed to be average, like everyone else. Standing up and expressing your opinions was prohibited; outspoken people ended up in prison. Ambition was ruled by the regime, and individual indulgence was an outlawed capitalistic tendency.

The great news is that the oppression of my past is over. I am an American now, a proud capitalist. I can give myself permission to gather and relish the juicy fruits of life in ways that feel appropriate and fulfilling to me. Despite my past, I am free to choose to feel good, be happy and enjoy my life every moment.

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I know now that money can’t buy happiness, but happiness can generate abundance. I believe that life wants to assist us with our desires, and it is up to us not to block this assistance with our negative mentality. Life will bless us with an endless rustling, green rain — if we let it.

So if you're struggling to save more or to reach your personal financial goals, changing your unhealthy relationship with money is the the first step.

Here are 3 ways to change your mindset about money — that will help you save more of it!

1. Let go of financial resentment.

Every time my husband and I would see a BMW on the street, we’d imagine what it'd feel like if we were the ones behind the wheel of this sophisticated machinery. Mentally, we’d become one of "them" — people with money — transforming our poor identity into an affluent one.

However, at some point, we realized that we couldn’t resent people with money if we wanted to become one of them. Besides, the only reason we resented them is that we didn’t believe we could be like them — and that’s just silly. Who decides what we can and cannot be?

2. Change the way you talk about money.

Words reflect our mentality, so in order to change our unhealthy relationship with money, we started paying attention to what we were using to talk about it.

Instead of saying, “I need to buy another car, but I don’t have enough money,” we’d train ourselves to make statements that kept us hopeful and optimistic.

“I need to buy another car and I know it is possible.”

“I want to get a higher paying job, and I’m smart and capable.”

“I want to feel happy and am on my way to developing that habit.”

“Life holds equal opportunities for each of us, and I deserve to receive my endless share of blessings.”

Doing this helped change our mindset about what was possible financially.

3. Don't give up hope.

Even when you feel like giving up on your dreams of financial prosperity, don't. It will help you sustain a healthier attitude about saving money long-term.

My husband and I never stopped dreaming. Every night, as we’d take our golden retriever for her walks, we’d talk and dream about the future, We kept a fire of creation going by asking each other questions, like “What else do we want to experience and create, and how amazing is it going to be once we realize it?”

Only you can decide what is right for you — to clip the wings of your dreams or to fly high and be limitless. After all, you might as well shoot for the moon and end up among the stars, rather than settling in the misty grotto of your financial insecurities.

The choice is yours.

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Katherine Agranovich, Ph.D. is a holistic consultant and the author of Tales of My Large, Loud, Spiritual Family — How to Find Peace, Purpose, and Healing in the Chaos of Daily Life.