Episode 88: My Money Mindset Wobble

You’re listening to The Work Of Becoming podcast! My name is Dr. Karin Nordin. I am your host as well as a behavior change expert and self-proclaimed tornado girl. I spent years of my life struggling to change before I finally got my PhD and learned the psychological tools that I needed to actually make those changes happen. Now, I’m bringing you five-minute sneak peeks of how I’m applying the real science of self-help to my life. Let’s get started!

All right, y’all! Welcome to episode 88 of The Work Of Becoming podcast, which is about a money mindset wobble that I had recently. That is this: at the beginning of the year, I decided that one of my financial goals was to save more money. So, specifically, I wanted to triple my savings, retirement, and investment by the end of the year, which sounds like a lot, but I don’t have a ton-a ton of money in savings. I didn’t, at least, at the beginning of the year. I still don’t because last year we bought a house. So, we kind of drained our savings in order to buy that house because we had to pay 10% down instead of 5%. It was a whole thing. And so, I decided I wanted to do this goal.

And so, of course the first thing that I did was I went through all of my transactions, and I was like, “Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut!” I was thinking about what I could reduce, what subscriptions can I cancel, what coaching can I end, what can I do. And so, I did that at the very beginning of the year. And then as you know, in January, I felt very stuck with certain things. I’m still budgeting. I’m spending more money than I want to on UberEats, but I’ve cut a bunch of other stuff, and I start to feel all of this tightness. I start to feel all of this money scarcity where I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I have to be saving. I have to save all this money. I’m not saving enough. I can cut down more,” and scarcity for me creates anxiety, and when I’m anxious about money, what do I do? I get really all or nothing with money.

And so, what happens is, basically, the financial equivalent of binging and restricting, essentially. So, I will spend zero money for a little while, and then I’ll be like, “Ugh, I can’t do this!” And then I go and buy a bunch of stuff on Amazon or treat myself to something, and then I spend a bunch of money. And then I’m like, “Ugh, I spent money! I’m not supposed to be spending money,” and I restrict, restrict, restrict.

This is a behavior change pattern we see in people’s money all the time is you’re like, “Oh, I’m good. I’m good. I’m good… Oh, I’m not good.” One of the interesting things for me — let me pause and say this podcast does not apply to you if you are genuinely in a situation where you don’t have enough money to cover basic needs, okay? Let me just say that first. But for me, I did have enough money to cover basic needs, but what I had done is I had stripped my budget down to the point where I was only covering basic needs and I was saving money, and there was no room for self-supportive spending. There was no room for me to spend for enjoyment or pleasure or because I wanted to or as a form of self-care.

And so, as a result, I wasn’t getting any joy. I wasn’t having those little moments. I wasn’t having the support that I needed in my life. And so, what actually ended up happening was the impulse spending went up, and I actually was managing my money really poorly because that state of anxiety was driving this sort of negative behavior cycle.

So, I talked to my partner about it (I had a conversation with Jon about it), and I talked to a trusted friend about it, and I talked to my business coach about it, and the answer that all of us came to was that I needed to focus on what I did have and I needed to put money in a budget that would allow me to care for myself, that would allow me to be supported. And so, part of that was reinvesting in Alliance Coaching. So, I’m enrolled in our one-on-one coaching program now, which I will actually talk about in a later episode. I’m re-recording this episode because the file got corrupted. So, you don’t know about this yet. You will know about it, etcetera, etcetera.

But I chose to do that because I realized that I needed more support. So, I looked at my budget, I examined a couple of things, and I decided, “Okay, these are the areas that I’m gonna pull back on (number one is UberEats), but these are the areas I’m gonna allow more room on. So, I’m gonna give myself a little bit more spending in our grocery budget so that I can buy fun stuff I’m actually excited to pack and bring to work. I’m gonna invest in a coach so that I have the support around my behavior so that I’m not making impulse purchases.

And so, that’s what I want you to think about today. I want you to think about your own spending and your own budget and are you in the money mindset wobble where you’re in a back and forth between spend like crazy, restrict, spend, restrict, spend, restrict, and what can you do to give yourself enough money to support yourself to being the best version of yourself? Because guess what, the best version of yourself is very responsible with her spending.

So, that’s what I want you to think about in this episode. Let me know if this resonated, and I will talk to you in the next one!

PS: if you are on a journey to become a better you, and you want to learn the tools and techniques that will actually help change your life, make sure you check out my Change Academy Membership. Each month, we do a 1.5-hour workshop on a different psychological topic, but we also provide resources like journal prompts, worksheets, and trackers. We host community events and more. If you’re struggling to close the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it, this membership was built for you. Go to www.karinn4.sg-host.com/change-academy to learn more!


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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.


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