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Scarcity Mindset: a Money Coach's Perspective

Updated: Jan 19

As Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, says, "This mind-set of scarcity is not something we intentionally created or have any conscious intention to bring into our life. It was here before us and it will likely persist beyond us, perpetuated in the myths and language of our money culture. We do, however, have a choice about whether or not to buy into it and whether or not to let it rule our lives."

Scarcity Mindset

A scarcity mindset is a belief that there is not enough-- this is rooted in fear.

I vividly remember sitting on a school bus early in my interpreting career with a bunch of little kiddos and their two teachers. We were heading to the local pool for swimming class. I was interpreting between hearing & Deaf classmates.

I wanted off that bus so badly. All the kids were screaming (I did not sign up for this!), and I used to be a lifeguard (please don't make me teach swimming lessons again!). But there I was, bouncing back and forth to see if the kiddos wanted me to interpret the screaming and chatting with the teachers about their day.

a group of kids yelling from various seats on a bus

That should have been the one and only time I took that job... for two reasons: 1) I wasn't the best fit for that student. He deserved an interpreter who loved screaming kids; 2) my sanity. Instead of politely declining the other seven sessions, I eagerly signed up to cover them—scarcity mindset. I thought, "If I decline these seven jobs, there won't be other work. I'll kick myself when my rent comes due and I'm scrambling."

Financial decisions influenced by scarcity tend to focus on short-term gains rather than long-term prosperity.

It's Impact

A scarcity mindset can profoundly impact your financial well-being.

People trapped in this space often struggle with saving money, investing, and saying no to things that aren't the right match. And the most alarming part of a scarcity mindset is that it creates a negative relationship with money, leading to stress and anxiety.

Breaking Free

Luckily, overcoming the liming belief of scarcity and cultivating a mindset of abundance and prosperity is possible. Let's chat about some of the steps you can take:

Financial Journaling

Every time you spend or receive money, take a split second to record how it feels. You can use the Notes app on your phone or go old-school pen & paper if you carry that with you. I recommend either setting up a quick smiley-sad face scale (😊 - 😐 - 😔) or a 1-5 scale (1= Not a good feeling, 3= neutral, 5= A good feeling)—no need to journal paragraphs here unless you're so inclined.


One of my ultimate favorite references is from Ken Honda, author of Happy Money. Arigato In, Arigato Out. It's a Japanese phrase roughly translated to, thank your money. When was the last time you extended appreciation toward your money when paying your cell phone bill?

Abundance Mindset

Embrace the belief that opportunities and resources are ever-flowing. What we focus on is what our brain sees. If we focus on lack, our brain will find proof of lack. If we focus on abundance, our brain will find proof of abundance.

Work with a Professional

Sometimes it's hard to see outside ourselves. Involving a neutral party can help you hold a mirror up to your thoughts/behaviors. Many Financial Coaches (me included) weave mindset work into sessions. If scarcity is deep-seated, maybe consider a specialized Money Mindset Coach or a Financial Therapist.

Talk with Others

Find a group of people who focus on abundance. There are lots of financial communities for women out there. One of my favorites is The Pledgettes. The founder, Jenn Uhen, and I share similar value-based money beliefs.

Celebrate your Wins

We can't change our mindset if we only focus on the end result. We have to appreciate the journey and pat ourselves on the back along the way, no matter how small the progress.

My scarcity mindset has yet to be completely irradicated. It sneaks back in when things aren't going my way. The most in-my-face example has been over the past two-three years. I put on twenty pounds (that story is for another time... with wine).

For the last three years, I've survived off of free pants from my aunt and a few pairs that stretched along with my body. It wasn't until I read part of Mike Dooley's book Infinite Possibilities that I realized I was living in a scarcity mindset.

I wasn't spending money on new clothes because "it would be a waste," I thought. I told myself that clothes for this thicker version of me would only be good for a short time. My scarcity mindset was holding me back from loving my body (try squeezing into the wrong size pants for three years; it has no positive impact on your psyche).

The story I'm telling myself now is... Money is an infinite resource. When it's time to buy smaller pants, I will donate the larger ones. Easy peasy.

In Conclusion

A scarcity mindset is a barrier to financial well-being and personal growth. You can break free from its limitations by acknowledging its existence and implementing strategies to shift toward an abundance mindset. Will you join me in embracing the power of an abundant mindset and move toward true financial freedom?

gif with two words: yes, no -- a red circle wraps around the word yes

Here's to you,

Melissa Mittelstaedt

Money Coach | Accredited Financial Counselor®


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