A while ago, Andy and I were taking a good hard look at our financial future. A few months down the road, we were going to be dealing with the loss of some of our income. It wasn’t terrible—we were totally going to be able to survive, but we were going to have to cut back.
And even though I love saving money and budgeting and I am never happier than when I am hoarding money, I started feeling a little anxious. We were going to have to cut down on traveling, and eating out, and buying clothes, and other non-essential things that we love.
I happened to be mulling all this over while I was in a Target, picking up a present for someone. And I felt this desperate need to just buy all the stuff. Our financial downturn hadn’t hit yet, and so it seemed wise to just buy it all, right now, while we still had disposable income. I scoured the end-caps for clearance deals for whatever we might need for the rest of our lives.
This was an exceedingly depressing exercise. I looked at a candle. Would we be able to buy candles under the new regime? Probably I should just buy it now. Maybe two or three. We’ve been needing a new saucepan, might as well get it now while the getting is good.
This sounds silly, but I was pretty distressed about it. And then I remembered something I read on the internet one time: it is not a good idea to live out of a scarcity mindset. And that’s exactly what I was doing. Our resources were limited, and they were running out, so I needed to scrounge for stuff. In my panic I was about to make some very poor purchasing decisions.
The solution, the internet told me, is to live out of an abundance mindset. So I decided to try it. I said to myself, “Anna, you do have money, and you will continue to have money. Today, and also in the future, you can buy whatever you want in this Target.”
And INSTANTLY, the panic went away. It was just gone. Once I told myself that I could buy anything in that Target, I didn’t actually want anything at that Target, except for the gift I originally went in for. I felt calm and very satisfied with all of my current possessions.
The thing is, my financial situation hadn’t changed at all. I was just looking at it from a viewpoint of abundance instead of a viewpoint of scarcity. And abundance felt so much better.
You do have to be careful with this, though. If you tell yourself you can buy whatever you want in a Target, and you take yourself up on it and buy everything in the Target, that is going to be a problem. Definitely don’t do that. The trick is to know that you can buy whatever you want in Target, but remember that you should spend your money only on things you really want. And you do not really want random clearance end-cap garbage, or three totally unnecessary candles.
This abundance mindset is helping in other areas of my life. We’re trying to eat more healthfully to manage some health issues in our family, and eating healthfully always makes me feel deprived. I’m not even much of a dessert person, but as soon as I try to eat better I desperately want all the sugar in all its fatty, carby forms. That’s the scarcity mindset. It all goes much better for me when I tell myself that I can eat that fat-sugar bomb if I want to, but is that what I really want? I would probably feel better if I didn’t. And lots of time, that abundance mindset helps me to relax and make a better choice.
I’m working on seeing the abundance in my life, and it turns out there is quite a bit of it. Seeing that abundance, instead of focusing on the scarcity, makes life much more pleasant. And healthy. And rich.