How Your Relationship with Money Affects Spending and Earning

by Melanie Lockert · 8 comments

Money is such a complicated subject because there are so many emotions around it. Most of the decisions we make concerning it are personal, and therefore affect us in a personal way. The way we view money is influenced by our upbringing, culture, family, friends, and relationships.

Our past directly relates to our money mindset and our ability to conceive what money can and cannot do.

For most of my life, I grew up thinking that money wasn’t very special. I didn’t go as far to say it was the root of all evil, but I did adopt several money mindsets that I’m dealing with today.

For one, I’ve grown accustomed to the starving artist mindset — that any sort of creative work will leave you broke and just barely getting by. Now that I’ve seen that existence for myself, I wonder, was it me, or did I actually set myself up for that life?

I’ve also been uncomfortable around the idea of wealth. In my mind it equates to greed, and privilege. To believe in wealth feels like a rejection of working class roots, and who wants to reject where they came from?

Aside from those money mindsets, I’m also dealing with massive student loan debt that simultaneously tells me I did the right thing by educating myself, but also the wrong thing because I chose something so unprofitable.

I mention these things because we all have a relationship with money, whether we want to believe it or not. For some people, that relationship is misanthropic, while others it is mere nonchalance. Many of us experience a relationship with money surrounded by fear, anxiety, greed, or power.

We’re all overcoming our own money issues of how to deal with it, how to manage it, how to make more of it, and how to reconcile our money beliefs while having a happy relationship with this necessary form of currency.

So, take a moment — what is your relationship with money? Do you see it as a necessary evil? Or a form of power? Do you see it as a tool for good or a source of misery?

Whatever your relationship with money is now, it’s important to come to terms with your beliefs and start to forge positive thoughts surrounding money. Here is why your relationship with money is important to your financial success:

Your Relationship with Money Affects Spending

If you have a negative relationship with money, you’re likely to see it as something frivolous or unimportant. In that regard, it’s easier to spend money on things that don’t matter, just because you can.

Having a bad relationship with money can lead to reckless spending, and never quite knowing where your money goes. Understanding that money is necessary and even empowering can completely shift how you spend money.

You can start viewing money as a tool for freedom, rather than something that controls you!

Your Relationship with Money Affects Earning Power

When I started to pursue a life of creativity, I already made my mind up that I would never make a lot of money. This is what everyone told me would happened, so that’s what I expected — in turn, that’s what I got. I wonder now if I actually had the guts to think about money as empowering and actually think that creativity could turn into money making potential, where I would be today.

But I can’t go back, so going forward I’m convinced I can do better than my past. I’m rewriting the stories I’ve heard from friends and family, and even my own experiences. I’m open to possibilities and saying that yes, I can and will earn more.

Half the battle is actually convincing yourself you will, and the other half is working hard enough and having the guts to make it happen.

If you have a negative relationship with money, it’s hard to increase your earning power. By having a positive relationship with money, you are opening up more possibilities.

Your Relationship with Money Affects Your Happiness

While I don’t think that that money buys happiness, I do think it affects our happiness. If you don’t care about money and spend recklessly, it’s hard to be happy when you’re stressed out about paying bills or dealing with emergencies. Conversely, if you focus too much on money, it can seem like it never gets you what you really want.

The best things in life are free but money can be a helpful tool in reaching your goals, providing security for your family, and creating a buffer for emergencies.

So, if you have a less than stellar relationship with money, what should you do?

  • Respect money
  • Acknowledge your pain points surrounding money — evaluate why you feel that way
  • See money as a tool to reach your goals
  • Know that wealth can help you give back to others
  • Realize that reaching your money goals is empowering
  • Understand that wanting more money and increasing wealth doesn’t make you bad or greedy

Start changing your relationship with money, and you’ll increase your wealth, improve your spending habits, and gain control of your overall finances.

Do you think you have a good relationship with money? Or could you improve upon your habits and create a better mindset about wealth?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Becky Law says:

    Thanks for the advice. Money is not really the root of all evil but the love of it. It’s a blessing and needs to be taken care of.

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

    Good points here. I have a positive relationship with money now, but I used to really fear spending any money at all. It was incredibly difficult for me to make purchasing decisions and I’d labor over it. I actually spend less money now, but when I do need to buy things I don’t torment myself. I just buy it because I know I’m living frugally most of the time.

    • Melanie says:

      It’s always tough when purchasing something is an ordeal. I’ve been there! Now, I try to be frugal and wise and plan and save for bigger purchases.

  • Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom says:

    I’ve had in interesting relationship with money. I got a good job right out of school and realized that I’d prefer to live a simpler life and didn’t want to get on the lifestyle inflation treadmill. So, I quit and worked for myself enough to have the life I wanted. I probably sold myself short on pricing because I didn’t value my services enough, so that’s an area where I could improve.

    • Melanie says:

      Interesting! I think our upbringing can inform our money habits, or we rebel against what we know. Working for yourself is tough, and it’s easy to sell yourself short. I am learning to value my work and charge what I’m worth.

  • Kayla @ Everything Finance says:

    Great post Melanie! I totally get what you’re saying here. Growing up my relationship with money was that we didn’t always have enough and now I think that’s why I spend, spend, spend because I didn’t want to be without. I didn’t have the “things” my peers had as a kid and sometimes I felt left out. Now I have things and no money, which is something I’m working on changing.

    • Melanie says:

      I think that is common for people that don’t grow up with a lot, and find success later in life. It’s a way of compensating, but can get out of control. I am constantly trying to deal with my scarcity mentality and tell myself I have enough.

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