Dyana King, a single mom of two, knows all too well what it’s like to have a scarcity mindset.
Like so many other women of color and single moms, King points to her upbringing as the main reason behind her scarcity mindset. Growing up, she says, it was common to hear her mom, herself a single mother, say they didn’t have enough money or couldn’t afford things.
“My mother did not know how to take care of herself, let alone three kids. I saw my mom struggle,” says King. “We were always hearing about her having to write hot checks and being told we don’t have enough money.”
But that’s in her past.
Now 29, King is financially successful enough to have her own money-coaching business, Money Boss Mama. She took part in NextAdvisor’s Moms & Money panel on May 6, where she talked about how women can maximize their 9-to-5 income to become debt-free. Getting to this point was a journey, though — one that she says other moms can replicate, even when they feel overwhelmed.
The turning point for her came when she was in her early 20s. Her first child came when she was a 21-year-old working college student, making less than $10 an hour. She struggled to make ends meet and kept finding herself focusing on never having enough. All she wanted was to end the cycle of struggle.
“I was sitting on the floor when my daughter was supposed to be in bed, and I had no idea how I was going to pay my bills. She came up to me, and I lashed out at her because of the stress. I realized I was becoming my mother, and I did not want to be that person,” says King. “That was the moment where I realized that to give my daughter a better life, I had to become better myself.”
So, how did she shift from a scarcity to abundance mindset, and begin saving money?
She started rejecting whatever did not align with her vision and goals, and became very conscious about what she was feeding her mind.
She also set clear, specific financial goals and started to take steps toward achieving them. In 2016, King started a journey to become debt-free. After a lot of trial and error and going into more debt multiple times, she managed to pay off almost $35,000 over four years.
How to Shift Your Mindset from Scarcity to Abundance
If you focus on scarcity, then that will be your sole experience of money, says King. An abundance mindset is the complete opposite; the idea is that if you focus on making and having more, then that will be your outcome.
Keep in mind that how you define abundance is very personal and can mean many different things. With that said, here are some tips on how to shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance.
Take a Trip Down Memory Lane
King suggests doing some deep self-reflection to start. Ask yourself what your upbringing was like and lean into any uncomfortable memories, so you can start taking control of your relationship with money.
“This is such a gentle topic, especially for women of color and single moms, because a lot of how we view our money and what we say about our money comes from our upbringings and experiences,” King says. “Whether you’re aware of it or not, it plays such a huge role in your relationship with money right now.”
Change Your Money Script
Money scripts are unconscious core beliefs about money, according to financial psychologist Brad Klontz. Negative money scripts can horribly affect your financial situation because they affect how you feel, which then shapes your actions, and eventually, the results you get.
A scarcity mindset around money can create anxiety and confine you to fear-based limitations. That can thrust you into a vicious cycle, where you’re trying to self-soothe by avoiding the problem, says King. For example, King says she had a fear of becoming her mom and not having enough to support her and her child.
It’s your responsibility, she says, to unlearn any negative thinking in order to reach your financial goals, and the first step to take is to get to know yourself better.
King suggests writing down your relationship with money, including your fears. “If you write it down in a journal, you’re able to pick up on patterns and habits you have and the thoughts that create those. It allows you to embrace your history and move forward at the same time,” she says.
“We carry other peoples’ beliefs and habits that we’ve adopted as our own. But once you take that trip down memory lane, you start to shift those unconscious things into the conscious. That gives us the ability to take back the reins,” she says.
Give Your Money Direction
You have to have intention with your money, says King. If you don’t have a specific goal with a specific amount, you’re never going to feel like you have enough.
“Figure out what it is that you’re trying to accomplish and have a clear specific goal that’s attainable and measurable for your current financial situation,” she says. “When you have something that you’re focused on, you’re able to create a specific plan in order to reach that destination.”
You can start by focusing on something you can control — like your budget. Creating a budget allows you to be more intentional with your money because you’ll know exactly how much you have coming in and going out. If your income is more unpredictable or you’ve struggled with traditional money-management strategies before, you could create a zero-based budget. With zero-based budgeting, every dollar you earn is given a purpose throughout the month.
Balance Self-Worth With Net Worth
Being intentional about how you build your net worth requires you to consider your self-worth and how you view yourself. “I was someone where my self-worth was wrapped into my net worth, so that meant if my finances didn’t look good, I felt like I was a failure and wasn’t doing enough,” she says.
Your net worth is only a fraction of your identity, King says, and should be separate from who you are at your core.
“There’s a delicate balance between self-worth and net worth that has to be put in place when you’re walking your journey,” she says. “Otherwise, that puts you in a very vulnerable state.”