Frugal Confessions — Live a VIP Life on an Average Paycheck

How to Shift Your Mindset When You Feel Less than Abundant (and Your Account Reflects that)


Let’s face it: there are times when you feel less than abundant.


…after paying your rent/car/student loan and realizing you’ve got $139.88 until your next paycheck.

…Or seeing an alarmingly substantial dip in savings after paying off a big debt, which technically should make you feel great except that you feel like you’re being punished by that low balance.

…Or realizing that you work five days a week, commute crazy amounts without actually having put any money aside in your for-keeps accounts for the last year (“annnnnnd I’m working for what?!?“).

You don’t have to believe in any type of woo-woo money energy to know that when you make decisions from a place of stress and lack, they’re not the same kinds of decisions you would make when you feel abundant.

They’re the kind of decisions that could keep you in the loop of lack instead of ones that will ensure you don’t get back to this place again.

Sometimes those decisions are out of necessity, so no judgment here.

But I’d like to help you with feeling as abundant as possible during times of lack so that you can see the bigger picture, know you’ll get out of it, and make financial decisions that not only help in a pinch but further you + your goals ahead.

What To Do When You Feel Less Than Abundant

Examples of Decisions from a Place of Lack Versus a Place of Abundance

What do I mean about decisions from a place of lack versus from a place of abundance, and why does that make a difference to your future prospects?

Let me give you a few examples:

  • Setting Yourself Up to Miss the Sales Cycle Stock-up Price: In our household, my husband goes through certain items like crazy. Mustard and pickles come to mind. When these items hit the stock-up price, I should purchase 2-4 of them at once so that I will have enough to get me through until the price drops to its lowest again (usually around $1.00). But if I’m feeling lack and am tightening up the purse strings, then I will likely only purchase enough to get us by. Meaning in two weeks I’ll now have to purchase the product for about $0.50-$1.00 more (times 4, as that’s how many we would probably need on a typical 12-week sales cycle) than I otherwise would have paid.
  • Choosing the Higher-Costing Plan for the Phone: You’re dying to get that new Smartphone but haven’t saved up a penny for it. So when you see a two-year contract plan that gets it down to a price you can afford, instead of realizing (and holding off a bit longer) that for the next two years you’ll more than pay for the cost of the phone by the bloated plan costs, you go for it. Now you’re stuck in a plan that is bleeding your cash flow too much each month, making it more difficult for you to save up for that next new gadget upgrade two years from now.
  • Taking Social Security Too Early: The longer you hold out before starting your social security payments, the higher your monthly check will be. So if you start panicking about where the money’s going to come from in the gap years between retiring and your first social security check, you could be looking at a significantly smaller lump of money over the long-term (especially since people are living longer than ever before).

Moves to Make You Feel More Abundant while in the Muck of Lack

So how can you turn your mindset around to one of abundance (or at least one headed in that direction) rather than one of lack…especially when your bank account is hanging out on the lack side of the equation?

  • Make it Sparkle: Clean the house, clean your car, clean something. It’s free, it gives you a mood-boost, and it works.
  • Go Shopping…Seriously: Go to a thrift store with $10 and go shopping! Seeing how far your money can stretch can temporarily bring you out of a funk. Especially if you’re in an “I’m-broke-and-can’t-afford-things” holding pattern.
  • Change Your Backdrop: Are your surroundings feeling a bit stale? Google your area + free and see what pops up. Maybe there’s a festival or a trail you haven’t tried, or some place you can go to where you can pack snacks/a lunch and let part of your day unfold.
  • Focus on Gratitude: One of my favorite things to do throughout the year is to take one of those rip-away, one-a-day, calendars (the small ones that fit on your desk), and each morning ripping off yesterday’s page, turning it over, and writing three things that make me grateful. Or five. Or ten. Or perhaps just one if that’s all I can muster at the moment. Then I collect the used pages in a small bin and every six months or so I read through them. What a treasure of gratitude this creates both each day as well as during those precious sit-downs where I can see just how blessed I am.
  • Cash in Reward Points: Sometimes a little splurge is all it takes to put you in a grateful mindset and to feel more abundant! Tweet this! If you’ve got reward points to cash in, go ahead and treat yourself.
  • Compare Yourself with Others: Usually I’m hugely against this one…but it’s great to put your life into perspective. Using tools like or to really put your own wealth and good fortune into perspective compared with the rest of the world.

We’ve all felt lack in our lives. What are some ways that you have shifted your mindset despite what your current financial picture looked like? What are some ways you’ve made decisions from a place of lack that you later regretted because they set you up for more lack? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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