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Earlier this year I had enough. I wanted to stop stressing about money once-and-for-all. I’m not sure if you know this, but money is stressful.
It creeps into every part of your life and then next thing you know, you’re stressed out, worrying all the time, and not sleeping.
Sound familiar? Or is that just me?! 😉
For my entire adult life, I’ve stressed out about money and my career. As someone who worked in the small business accounting world for over a decade, being responsible with money was a basic skill set.
It was part of the basics, so there was no room for not being good with finances.
And yet, up until this year, I still felt like I was struggling. Different hamster wheel, same outcome.
1. Give up your control
The story about money I told myself was that I was supposed to be good with money, never be in debt, and be a successful business owner. I had all the right credentials, experience, and connections.
So why was I still so unhappy and stuck financially? I didn’t have the answers. And I couldn’t find them, no matter how hard I tried.
So at the beginning of 2017, I gave up. I literally stopped caring about everything related to money, debt, or a career. I was burned out — treading water and slowly drowning.
And I was tired of it all.
I had nothing left. All of my past knowledge and experience led me here — a place of discontent, misery, and lost hope.
I quit everything I knew and started doing the opposite. I let my husband be the breadwinner for awhile. Our roles switched and I supported him and helped him reach his career goals. I looked for ways to support others, instead of obsessing about myself.
This season of my life lasted 6 months. Six looooooong months of confusion, feeling alone and making decisions somewhat aimlessly. For once in my life, I didn’t try to “fix” my finances. I just let them be. I let them tell me what to do, instead of constantly trying to control everything.
The tighter your grip, the more that slips through your fingers. And I had finally held on so tight that I nearly lost it all.
2. Give yourself some tough love
If you’re truly ready to stop stressing about money, it’s time to give yourself some tough love. The decisions you made (or that you and your spouse made together) are the ones that led you here. Success or fail, it’s all on you!
No one else is to be blamed for your financial mistakes or choices about money. If you wish you had more money, go out and start making more. Negotiate a raise. Invest in a business coach. Apply for another job. Offer a new service.
Stop whining about not getting results, and start doing something to get them. Shut up, make a decision, and change the way you manage money. Don’t like the path you’ve chosen? Change it. Tell your boss you’re quitting. Tell your spouse you’re going to work with a financial advisor.
I whined for years about how much rent costs in Denver and complained about how we were never going to be able to afford to buy a home here. And ya know what? We barely had enough to pay rent every month, with nothing leftover for our goal of buying a home.
So I gave myself some tough love and stopped complaining. I embraced the fact that if we wanted to live here THIS is what it costs. Is it worth it to me?
Yes. Okay, then shut up Carrie and just do it! They don’t call it tough love for no reason, but future YOU will thank you for it.
3. Treat money like energy
Money is energy. It’s meant to be spent, saved, and given away. It flows from you to others, and from other people to you. If you hoard it all for yourself, you’re choking out two-thirds of what money was created to do. And then money doesn’t have a chance to live up to its true purpose.
Once I let go of the illusion that I was control of my money, and let it start telling me what to do, things started changing for the better, rapidly! I received daily financial opportunities in my inbox. I connected with amazing people who wanted to hire me (a few who lived just a couple miles away).
In other words, I finally found the answers I was looking for and no longer felt confused about my future.
“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.” — Proverbs
4. Challenge your money story
Another really important part of how to stop stressing out about money is to change your mindset. This seems like simple advice, but from personal experience, it can be really difficult. It took about 8 weeks for me to truly change my perspective about money.
After reading You Are a Badass At Making Money, I had to face some hard truths. The money story I’d been telling myself all these years was wrong. It was holding me back from truly being wealthy and having a healthy relationship with my finances.
So I changed it.
I spent time every morning during breakfast saying new money mantras. I told publications that I was on track to earn double, or triple, last year’s income — even though NONE of that was true (yet!). (Faking it till I made it, so to speak.)
And after a while, I actually started believing that my bank accounts really were overflowing with money and that I was running a $20,000 per month business.
And a funny thing happened. All the new beliefs about money actually started coming true!
5. Get really specific with the numbers
What are your business goals? Get really specific with them. Don’t just ask for more opportunities or more clients. You’ll likely end up with a mess of spammy emails in your inbox or clients who have low budgets.
You want ideal high-paying clients who align with your values. You want opportunities to work with brands that you love and that compensate you well for your contribution.
You wouldn’t ask your parents to loan you money for your business without telling them the exact number. You wouldn’t ask your boss for a raise without quoting him a new salary.
So why are you asking the universe to make you rich with being specific with the numbers? *LIGHTBULB*
For me personally, I wanted to earn $20,000 a month from my blog and business, so I split that into different categories. My goal is to earn $10,000 directly through my blog, $7,500 from my new Strategy Consulting offerings, and $2,500 from speaking gigs (events, workshops, etc).
So that’s what I started repeating to myself over and over. I got REALLY specific with my money mantras — believing that I was running a $250,000 per-year business (even if it was only just starting to happen).
6. Know your why (and never let it go)
I also drilled down with my financial goals. The main one being that I want to buy a home in the next year or two. I painted a clear picture of everything I wanted my house to be.
From the neighborhood I wanted to live in, to the numbers of rooms in my new home, and even what my new office would look like.
This is all part of knowing my “why” which helped me find clarity about my motivation for saving money. Focus on the “why” not so much the “how”.
A lot of financial experts advise that you create a plan for how you’re going to save money by backing into your goal. When do you want to be debt free? Okay, divide your debt payments with how many months, or years, until that date.
This can be a good strategy, at times, but it puts limits on your money. You can easily get tunnel-visioned and may miss out on the hundreds of other opportunities, or ways to pay off debt, that are right in front of you.
7. Stop stressing about money
If you’re ready to stop stressing about money, give one of these tips a try. As someone who’s been where you’re at, and still struggles with worrying about money, I have proven that these ideas really do work.
You just have to be willing to challenge what you already know about money, and change your mindset moving forward.
Remember: you are simply money’s best friend, not its boss.