Thought Control


Control your thoughts to avoid harmful thinking traps about your finances.

Thinking traps are faulty ways of thinking about money that usually lead to large amounts of debt and fewer options. The great news is you can escape that outcome just by changing the way you think about money.

Assess if you have any of the following money management thinking traps.  This website shows you how to challenge these self-sabotaging thoughts.

1. It will all work out
There are thousands of people strapped with underwater home mortgages and/or large student debts that will be happy to tell that you things won’t just work out by themselves.  Sometimes things work out. Sometimes they don’t.  However, you can increase the odds in your favor by making informed decisions.

2. It will never work out
This is a self-defeating, self-fulfilling prophecy.  You can’t control everything.  However, you can control your attitude.  It is important to understand that there are solutions to deal with your situation.  You have rights and you have options.  It may not be easy, it may not be fun, but you can take active steps to better your situation.

3. It’s too overwhelming and too much work
You can learn how to manage your money.  You can get help learning how to do this as well.  Think of it as a process.  It can seem overwhelming and laborious when you’re starting out, but you can get there step-by-step.  Break it down into steps. Or seek help from a qualified, trusted professional.  Start with this website.

4. I have to figure out everything about my future right now!
You cannot and do not need to plan out every detail of your future life right now.  Life has steps and it has stages.   As a graduate, you should focus on getting a job and finding a career, while making wise decisions that will provide you with financial options, not leave you mired in debt.

5. I’ll let my parents take care of it
Parents can be a great source of information, guidance, and support.  You can serve yourself if you learn from your parents how to make financial decisions, rather than just letting them do it for you.  And as part of a family, you need to think carefully about how burdening your parents with added debt will affect their future as well.

6. I’ve got a good job (or I’m going to strike it rich) so I don’t have to think about this.
Having a good job doesn’t mean you should throw away your money.  Why waste money?  By making wise financial decisions right now, you’ll have more money to use how you see fit.   Keep in mind that life often throws unexpected challenges our way, such as loss of income, health problems, or other unexpected expenses.  Have a money plan that doesn’t depend on you striking it rich.  If you manage your money well and don’t strike it rich, you won’t be overburdened by too much debt.

“OMG. I couldn’t believe how many money thinking traps I had. It was like, check, check, check. And I was like thinking, who benefits from that? I can tell one thing: it wasn’t me. “

Angela, Seattle

7. I don’t care about money so I don’t need to think about this.  
Sooner or later, debt will catch up with you–often when you least expect it and when it’s most likely to interfere with your plans for your life.
Good money management and smart financial decisions give you options and freedom to do what you want to do sustainably, as opposed to having to abandon your passion to pay off your debt.

8. I’m not good at math or money just isn’t my thing.
Good money management isn’t rocket science.  It’s not a snap decision either.  It’s something that you can learn if you set your mind to it.  There are resources to help you get there, and many of them are on this website

9. Counting the pennies, but giving away dollars
Wise money management happens on at least two levels: 1) everyday spending; and 2) big ticket items.   What good is clipping coupons that save you 5 cents on paper towels if you are paying way too much for your housing?  You want to make good everyday spending choices, but don’t forget to be smart about big-ticket items because that’s where the majority of your money will go.  What are your big-ticket items and can you save on them?  Budgeting will help you make these choices.

10. There is only one way
Because of different goals and situations, there is no one size fits all money management path.  Don’t get trapped into disheartening comparisons.  Do the best you can with what you have.  Take your time.  Assess yourself and your wants.  Gather information.  Seek help.  Make a plan.  Make an informed decision. You can improve your situation.

11. Money management is about feeling guilty every time you spend money.
Money management is not about guilt.  It’s about options, enjoyment and peace of mind.  This is achieved with a balance between your needs, wants, and savings. While you work toward a financial situation that will enable you to cover needs, wants, and savings, you should smartly manage your money by setting appropriate limits.

12. Advertising doesn’t affect me.
Wake up and smell the television and internet.  Companies spend millions upon millions of dollars on advertising because they know it works.  Young people are bombarded with marketing and advertising messages that promote conspicuous consumption. Buy now! Don’t worry about it.   Think about how many messages you receive that say buy less or plan for the future.  Think about mindsets that will help you set up your life, not make someone else rich because you owe them money.

13. I can’t do everything you’re asking so I’m out.
This is an “all or nothing” attitude that can be destructive to your financial present and future.  We realize everyone won’t be in a position to implement all the tips and habits we proscribe.  That’s ok.  Do what you can now and set some goals for the future.  You will be much happier if you do as much as you can rather than throwing up your hands and walking away because you can’t do everything we ask.
On to the next section!