Our Beliefs About Money & Why They Are Holding Us Back

Our beliefs about money change everything about the way we handle it.

Most of us have deeply ingrained beliefs about money whether we are consciously aware of it or not. We may have inherited these ideas from our family, the media, our religion or our culture. Because many people around us may share similar beliefs it may be extremely difficult to pull our beliefs about money apart from our societal conditioning about who we are in totality.

What are you even talking about, Amanda?

Depending on your background, you may identify with one of the following blockages. These examples are either from my own former beliefs about money, or from my friends’.

  1. Money is bad. Wealth will make me a bad person. “Rich” people are bad. If I earn, save, invest and spend money I will become bad. (We even have an idiom for this: “Money is the root of all evil.” This is actually a misquoted and misunderstood verse of the bible.)
  2. Money is the ultimate goal in life. I can’t be happy unless I earn $X. My life is difficult because I haven’t earned enough money yet.
  3. I can only make money through struggle and difficulty. It is impossible to enjoy a high paying job. I have to choose between my own happiness and earning money.  Rich or happy, choose one.
  4. When I have money saved, something bad will happen and I will need to pay for it. Therefore, it’s better to spend my money and enjoy it right away before I lose it.
  5. I am simply not good with money. It is too difficult to understand most financial concepts so I stay away from learning about finance altogether.

These might sound a little silly when you read them, but these sorts of ideas hidden inside of us can seriously impact our ability to handle paying off our debt and saving for travel or for the future.

SO…I have messed up ingrained beliefs about money. What can I do about it if I can’t even figure out what my beliefs are?

You NEED to identify these beliefs. I know, that’s easier said than done. There are a number of ways to uncover what we really think about money, but honestly, it might not be pretty. Chances are, it is going to take a lot of hard work and often times we need to be guided through the process by someone who has been through it or even by a professional. Some of our beliefs about money are tied to painful times in our lives and when we uncover them, we often are digging up shallow graves we’ve long tried to forget about.

A great first step is just getting into some quiet time for yourself. Get out a pen and paper and fill in the blanks. Write whatever comes to mind without holding yourself back.

  1. When I think about earning money, I feel ________________________.
  2.  When I think about the way my parents handled money, what comes to mind?
  3. Money is ______________________________.

These three questions can serve as a great starting point, but if you want to really delve into this, I suggest reading the book Rich Dad Poor Dad, checking out this workshop by To Be Magnetic if you want to get spiritual, or talking with a licensed therapist online or locally. Even writing about how you feel when you watch this video can be helpful.

Identifying blockages when it comes to your finances can set you free to pay off your debts, save money for emergencies and for the future, and travel the world more freely.

This blog post only contains a sliver of a glimpse inside the complexities of our beliefs about money. I’m not going to play psychologist here, but I am certain of one thing: when we identify our harmful beliefs about money and begin to work through them, we can find ourselves propelled into debt freedom so much sooner. Please don’t judge yourself during this process. You are not alone! Trust me. I could write a book on this subject.

Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful. If you feel comfortable, go ahead and share some of the yucky beliefs about money you found within yourself. You are totally welcome to use the comments section on my blog as the landfill for the beliefs about money you need to trash.

Sending love. May we all be FREE!

xo Amanda

Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting in South Korea

If you’ve landed a job teaching English in South Korea, congratulations! It can be a confusing process–you’ve passed the first hurdle. You may not be thinking of you finances just yet, but it is always good to have a plan! You will need a budget if you want to make the best of this situation financially. Because a lot of your expenses are covered, you may think budgeting is unnecessary. But with so much potential to pay off debt or save money, it’s good to have a general idea of where you want that extra cashflow to go. Follow my guide to budgeting in South Korea and tweak it to meet your own personal needs!

Everyone’s job will have a slightly different pay scale. For the sake of averages, I will say that you are starting with a 2.2 million won budget.  If you happen to make more than this, congratulations! You can follow my budget plan and put the remaining money into various categories depending on your needs. I recommend adding anything extra to debt payments first, then an emergency fund, then investments. It’s easier than you think to save over 50% of your income while in Korea.

Something that’s important to remember when making your budget in Korea is that you should always pay yourself first. What does that mean? It means you should put your budgeted amount of money “away.” This will look different for everyone, but for everyone it means that you cannot easily touch or spend this money. Do not leave this money in your normal checking account. Depending on your situation, this could mean putting aside 1 million won, paying 200,000 into your savings account and 800,000 towards your debt. Maybe you already have a solid emergency fund and you want to put the whole 1 million towards your debt.

You will, of course, be able to include fun in your budget. Part of the reason you went to teach abroad in the first place was because you wanted to enjoy a new culture, experience a new country and travel to surrounding countries. You should definitely allot a certain amount of money per month for these kinds of expenses because if you travel all the way to South Korea to sit in your apartment for one year spending no money, having no fun, and never experiencing the culture around you–you’re definitely missing out on something important! It’s the kind of investment that isn’t monetary.

Kimbap! Cheap, delicious and filling.

 

That being said, I was able to pay off $23,000 in debt, save about $6,000 and travel to 8 countries. I also traveled all around South Korea and regularly did fun things in my city with friends. I went out, had drinks, ate all the food and visited almost every province. If I can do it you can do it too!

Because in most cases you’re not legally allowed to have a side income while you’re working in Korea, you’ll have to rely on one source of income when making your budget. This makes it pretty simple and straightforward. I’ve created a sample budget below. Keep in mind that I’ve simplified everything for the sake of example. This would have been one of my more extreme months when I lived on only about 500,000 won. Your numbers will look different than mine because you’ll have different goals and interests.