The biggest excuse you have for not taking action on your dreams that you can’t afford to.
When the reality is that if you just tell yourself that you are poor (for now or for a long while if you’re me), your future could be richer than you ever imagined it could be (and I’m not just talking dollars in the bank).
With this poor mentality firmly in mind, I’ve saved more than I ever have before and changed my relationship with money forever, for the better.
Frappuccinos every day or France for a month? The choice is simple in my broke mind.
I know what you might be thinking, telling myself that I’m poor, even when I may not be, sounds a bit extreme.
Like, “what’s this Nadalie saying now?”
“What’s wrong with this girl?”
Or at the very least, “say whhhaatt?” (Accentuate the “wh” please.)
The Student Situation
I honestly think I first started saying this during some actual financial rough patches in my life.
Fresh out of university, all starry-eyed, ready to take on the world, but news flash, it’s a global recession. Things got really tight, really quick.
I was living pretty comfortably for four years in Halifax on student loans, education savings plan + whichever on campus job I had at the time. Then graduating feeling so accomplished and heading off on like a two-month backpacking and chilling in London trip. To realizing, shit son, I’m broke and I have zero prospects.
I spent four years and a lot of money (most of which I have to pay back, and still have to) on my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Development Studies. But hey, at least I got that bonus Honours.
Back “home” in Toronto, I’m applying for jobs and for the next almost two years I lived on my 10k line of credit. Thank God for this. I was not comfortable with being a burden to my mom or anyone else, including the system. I supplemented my lifestyle on the cash I was making from starting my photography business, Delightful Imaging.
But still, I was just surviving. I am so thankful for survival, I know it’s rough out there and if you can survive, I am giving you a standing ovation. You deserve that and so much more.
It’s within these circumstances that my default setting for others became, “I’m poor, I can’t do that” or “Sorry, I’m legit broke.”
I’d rather be honest and stop spending money just to impress others when I simply can’t afford to.
I’m more invested in myself than saving face.
First World Problems
Trust me, I know some people will have an issue with me saying this now.
Yes, I’m not homeless, or living in extreme poverty, which trust me, as a student of International Development I am well aware of the vast separation between “my poor” and “actual poor.”
But, as you know (or you really should) everything is relative, including my statement and I stand by it.
The power of this statement and the mental shift that it creates in my behavior is well worth whatever eyebrow raises or rebukes anyone will send my way.
Yes, I know, #firstworldproblems. And if we’re really being honest, you and are aren’t “rich” relatively to the top 1% or even the 1% of that. Another hashtag for you, #justsaying.
Yes, I’m Broke
And in case you didn’t receive the memo or you’re not tuned in, the prize isn’t buying loads of useless shit you don’t need anyways. But maybe you’re not ready to hear that.
They say, saying no is one of the hardest things to do.
Somewhere between the “terrible twos” and adulthood, we stop saying NO to just about anything. We need to start saying no again and not just to stuff.
I’ve learned to say no to a lot of things (and people) and I feel no shame in it anymore.
It’s also a lot easier to say no when it’s your wallet saying no, not you.
We live with so much debt in our society because no one has any self-control. Stuff is a distraction. It’s shiny and new and it pacifies you from reality.
Trust me, it’s so much more fun being awake.
I say no, so I can say yes when it counts.
Even though I may not have zero dollars in the bank, I keep telling myself I do, because I know there will be an opportune time in my near and far future that I’m going to need that money for. Or even more pressing, an inopportune time when I won’t be making money and I’ll need a safety net.
For everything, there is a season and even if you’re on top now, you’ll eventually find yourself down.
By saying no to a lot of things over the last 10 months, I’ve been able to say yes, to some really amazing opportunities to invest in myself and my business.
Also, you know if I say yes to something, I really want to do it because it’s important me.
Setting Security Measures
Okay, so how do I keep myself in check and make sure that I don’t slip and spend like it’s Black Friday?
Simply changing your mindset every day might not be enough for you, so putting some practical measures in place to reinforce the mentality might help you.
Check out 5 ways to not spend and save your money below.
5 Ways to Enforce the Poor Mentality:
Move Your Savings
Moving your savings into another account that isn’t attached to your bank card or even better at another bank. Savings accounts are free too (well at least in Canada)!
Set Automatic Transfers
Setting up automatic transfers from your chequing to your savings with every debit transaction, sending $5 or $10 to your savings account with every swipe. This amount is so small you won’t even notice that you’re saving.
Use Cash and Debit Only
Use only cash and debit if you’re bad with plastic. Seriously, know your limit, swipe within it and if you have no self-control, just cut them up and use debit and cash only.
Wait 24 hours or more
Waiting at least 24 hours before making any serious purchase can halt excessive spending. Do you really need this? Think about what you’re giving up by spending now. You can also set limits on your cards at your bank.
Lock It Away
If you can’t spend it, you can’t spend ti. Lock it away for few years in a GIC or a TFSA. I’m sure your bank would be happy to help you save.
When I started trying to not spend I did use some of the measures above, but I’ve now reached the point where I just tell myself it isn’t there. When I log on to my bank account, I just don’t see it and I’m not really tempted to use it.
But it’s good to be vigilant and change it up, so my newest security measure came from switching to a paid credit card that waives the fee with a minimum balance. By doing this, I’ve now set a floor for my savings and I will not dip below, or I literally have to pay.
I’m putting this poor mentality to work every day and thanks to this mental shift, I intend to say heck yes to an amazing travel opportunity next year on the dollars that I’ve banked (and will continue to bank) by saying no.
It is too easy to say yes to things that bring immediate satisfaction, and even easier to believe that you don’t have the money to invest in yourself. But, if you take a simple and honest look at your spending, there are always ways to cut present gratification for future gains.
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Are you ready to tell yourself that you’re poor?
Or maybe you already do something similar? I’d love to hear about it, please tell me below and let’s be poor together.