7 Habits to Improve Your Relationship With Money

3 min
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Money is a tricky business. It’s the root of so many of life’s worries, and the gateway to a lot of life’s pleasures. We can sometimes feel as guilty for spending it as we do for keeping it, and exhaust ourselves thinking about it. And money issues run deep – family and cultural belief systems all impact our relationship with the cash we’re carrying. Some people love money, some people hate it. But whatever we think of this system of checks and balances, we all need to be in some kind of relationship with it to live well in the modern world. Because while some of the world’s richest people can confirm that money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness, it can certainly afford us a lot of misery if we let it. Here are some tips for healing your relationship with money.

1. Get real about your financial health

Facing up to your financial reality might be painful, but it’s important to be honest with yourself about where you are. Lay it all out on paper and be brutally honest with yourself about what you have, what you owe, what you’ve spent, and what’s coming in and out every month. Make it a regular practice to check in on your bank account, perhaps weekly or monthly, on the basis that the energy it takes to hide in fear is draining and probably contributing to your money woes. They say the truth will set you free, and knowing where you stand is empowering.

2. Maintain a cash flow spreadsheet

Put all your monthly outgoings in one clear spreadsheet, and be meticulous about the minutiae – subscriptions, bills, loan repayments, any regular outgoings. If cinema night with the gang is a weekly occurrence, get your average spend in the expenditures column. No one else needs to see this document, so don’t hide anything! Use these numbers to be absolutely clear on what you have left of your income once your monthly spends go out. Check in every week or month and add in any extra notable spends or income.

3. Release any shame around your finances

Your inherent worth as a human being is not correlated with your bank balance. This is something that many of us need to untangle, through no fault of our own – we will be living in a capitalist system until someone devises something more equitable. Instead, try to see money instead as a neutral resource that ebbs and flows. Sometimes we are owed and sometimes we are owing, and that’s just part of the natural cycle. When the state of our finances impacts our self-esteem, it just feeds the fear and keeps us in financial paralysis – and makes way for shame, which can lead to a whole new range of issues.

4. Implement financial boundaries

Once you’ve got some clarity on what you’re spending each month, analyze your motivations for spending. Are you purchasing things for a dopamine hit? Does most of it go on socializing or grooming? Ask yourself why these things are more important than your emotional wellbeing. Place some protections around your money. Don’t spend it just to please others, and trust that it’s ok to say no if you want to, or if you don’t have the funds this month – or just refrain from explaining yourself at all.

5. Save something each month

Even a nominal amount of savings will build up and give you at least a little reassurance that you have a fall-back if you really need it. Create a direct debit so that it’s just like your other bills and outgoings, and start small if you need to. Sometimes, it’s easier to build a good habit by taking it step-by-step, rather than setting yourself up with unrealistically high expectations from the get-go.

6. Adopt a 24-hour rule on purchases

Delay impulse buys by a day or a week to give your nervous system time to rebalance, and see if you’re after whatever it is because it’s something you truly want or need, or if your desire for it (or to spend) is actually coming from another root cause. If you’re still thinking about making that purchase in the cold light of day, you can make a more clear-headed decision – maybe having checked in with your financial status spreadsheet.

7. Practice an abundance mindset

The Law of Attraction states that we call in what we give out, so if we believe we don’t have enough, we never will. Adopt an attitude of gratitude for what you do have – a roof over your head, an education, and access to the wealth of opportunity on the internet are all great examples. Recognise all of the value in your life that’s not just monetary. If you see anything else as a bonus, then you can be less attached and more trusting of the wealth that flows towards you.


All of the content on our website is thoroughly researched to ensure that the information shared is evidence-based. For more information, please visit the academic journals that influenced this article: Financial Shame Spirals: How Shame Intensifies Financial Hardship; Conceptualizing An Abundance Mentality and Its Relationship to Lifelong Learning, Human Flourishing, and Profound Learning; The Neuroscience Behind Retail Therapy.

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