SAFE Financial Education Specialist Gina Richardson talks with people about how to improve their relationship with money. One topic she shares is the benefits of bringing an attitude of gratitude to your finances.
What does it means to have an attitude of gratitude toward your finances?
Having an attitude of gratitude is being thankful for what you currently have. I use shoes as an example. I’ve bought the same pair of shoes probably three or four times. And I ask myself, why I am buying the same shoe, maybe in different colors? Do I need all them? How often will I really wear them?
Having gratitude means being thankful for where you’re at. I tell myself I already have shoes, I have clothes. Do I really need more clothes? Can I just be thankful and wear what I already have until it wears out?
Having an attitude of gratitude helps you spend less because you tell yourself, “I already have that, I’m thankful for what I already have. Why do I need to go out and get something else?”
How do you counter a culture where excess is seen as success?
It comes down to who you are. Who are you really trying to please if you’re trying to keep up with the latest styles or spending excessively? Instead, bring an attitude of, “I don’t need it.”
I come from a background of living with more month than money. When you come from a background of not having much, when you do start getting things, it makes you say, “I don’t want to go broke because I want to keep up with the Joneses.” No matter if I’m in a good spot now, I don’t want to go broke and go back to where I didn’t have much.
What’s the secret to finding that gratitude?
I think having a “why” beyond yourself allows you to be thankful for where you’re at. It makes you think toward the future. My “why” is my kids. I don’t ever want to put myself in a position where I overspend and I put us in a place where we can’t do something because I’m trying to keep up with a trend or spend excessively. For me, because my kids are my life, I have to remember my early beginnings. I was thankful for the small house we lived in, the one bathroom we had, having thrift store shoes. So my why keeps me in order when I want to go above and beyond. I’m thankful for those things I had before, and that helps me stay in my lane now.
Why is it important to have an attitude of gratitude?
Having gratitude keeps you humble. You don’t ever want to put yourself in a place where ego gets the best of you. When ego rules, it puts you in a greed space, where you’re never thankful for anything, when you always need to have more.
If you’re not going to take an angle of gratitude and contentment, it puts you into greed. And greed makes you spend more money. You have to do it for the future of your finances.
Learn more about taking charge of your finances with SAFE’s Financial Fitness Academy.