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How to be happy with what you have. Steps to breakthrough your scarcity mentality, even when your bank account is low. Money Truths. | https://www.frugalconfessions.com/financial-health/what-to-do-when-you-feel-less-than-abundant.php

Your scarcity mentality is not serving you. However, how are you supposed to feel abundant when your bank account doesn't reflect abundance? Ideas below.

Let's face it: there are times when you feel less than abundant, and you wonder how to save money.

Like…

…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 and the scarcity mentality 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.

Examples of Decisions from a Scarcity Mentality 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 scarcity mentality 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 WealthOMeter.org or GlobalRichList.com to really put your own wealth and good fortune into perspective compared with the rest of the world.

We've all felt lack and a scarcity mentality 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!

11 replies
  1. Gary @ Super Saving Tips
    Gary @ Super Saving Tips says:

    Great suggestions. Another way to help get over that lacking feeling is to help others. Volunteer or help a family member, friend or neighbor and you’ll instantly get a boost while doing some good for other people.

  2. Karen
    Karen says:

    What great timing for this post. One way I feel abundant is by sharing what I have with others. For example, each year we plant a vegetable garden; last year I planted 4 tomato plants that each grew about 8 feet tall! I loved going up and down the street giving free tomatoes to the neighbors. A couple of years ago we were overrun with several things. I gave a paper grocery bag full of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and green beans to a sweet widow at church – that was very rewarding indeed.

    • Karen
      Karen says:

      This post has really resonated with me, and I have something else to add that Traci alluded to as well: another way I feel ‘rich’ when the checkbook says otherwise is to visit the library. There is a wealth of information and entertaining resources available. Sometimes I’ll check out a cookbook to try new recipes, or I’ll just sit and read a magazine or two rather than purchase them at grocery store checkouts, not to mention the vast amount of fiction/non-fiction books available.

      • Amanda
        Amanda says:

        You’re speaking to my heart, Karen!! Man do I love libraries. In fact, I worked at one as my federal work study for my four years of college. I thought it was a great job! And discovering Interlibrary Loan was like unburying treasure:).

  3. Natalie @ Financegirl
    Natalie @ Financegirl says:

    I think you have to find a way to get out of the negative mindset (back to an abundance mindset) in order to be successful. For me, if I’m not feeling great, I go for a run, read, and go to bed early. The next day is almost always better.

    • Amanda
      Amanda says:

      Yes–I’ve learned that even though it’s hard for me to just shutdown for the day and gain perspective, I almost always feel better after a nights’ distance away from it. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Traci McCaskill
    Traci McCaskill says:

    During times of lack I really focus on organizing and cleaning every room in the house. I also focus on teaching my kids we don’t need to spend money to have fun. We live 2 blocks from the neighborhood park pool so we’ve been spending a lot of time there. It’s free and within walking distance which is easy exercise. When the boys start talking about how “boring” everything is or needing a new toy we go organize the playroom and they find things they haven’t touched in weeks (sometimes months). We just paid off my husbands truck which is GREAT but it stretched our budget to the max so July will be tight..I guess that means I just set myself up for another month of lack but I ultimately feel like in the end it will have been worth it. We’ll just double up on library trips and neighborhood activities.

    • Amanda
      Amanda says:

      You’re absolutely killin’ your finances lately, Traci. It’s so amazing to see these changes you’re making that will (and I can say this from experience) pay you + your family back dividends in the future.

      And yes, there’s so much to do for free that it’s hard to stay in a lack mentality unless a person just wants to (hey, sometimes it’s nice to let those feelings express themselves:)).

      Something I believe my sister-in-law does that I thought was a super-cool idea is at Christmas/holidays when the kids are given a ton of toys, she closets most of them. Then throughout the year as they get “bored”, she’ll introduce a new one. Brilliant! It probably is very age-dependent if it’ll work or not (I couldn’t imagine giving a teen a new gadget and saying, “okay, give that to Mom and you’ll see it later this year!” Haha).

  5. Alan H
    Alan H says:

    Thanks for these tips, very useful ! I think the best way to feel better in this situation is to help others, feeling useful is extremely rewarding =)

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