Scarcity Mindset, Abundance & Joy

For as long as I can remember, I have had a scarcity mindset. The word abundance feels like something touted in my face, tempting and alluring, but external, not something I associate with. To live a life of abundance seems to never think about tomorrow, to seek maximum pleasure today, to prioritise absolute bliss, without consequence.

I don’t know what inculcated this in me, whether it was the immigrant mentality, seeing my parents be conservative with their wealth, or learning to disassociate from the tantalizing effects of money and greed at a young age. As I grow older and earn my own income, I feel a sense of tug-of-war in me, torn between wanting to enjoy the high quality things life has to offer, but also remain humble, and not spend 40-60 quid on a regular Saturday night dinner just because you really needed some wine (note to self – there’s always a bottle at home, and it tastes even better when you’re in your PJs).

The Scarcity Principle applies to anyone who resonates with the feeling of caution, the need to be measured and frugal when it comes to spending. I don’t think this is a bad thing, but I think what happens is – given humans are habitual creatures – we never then learn how to live a life of abundance, to revel in the joy of saving as we do, of cashing in on the rainy day we’ve been saving for. Don’t get me wrong, saving, investing, financial patience – these are all absolutely vital for success in my book. But, I think part of me doesn’t know how to enjoy what I’ve earnt, to recognise when I’m not investing in things that need to be spent on, and that’s the side I want to delve deeper into today.

So how do you enjoy a life of abundance, whilst still achieving your financial goals? Trust me, I’m learning with you, but hear are a few things I’m picking up.

(1) Financial awareness is key

You need to know how much you have, and how much you want to save, in order to know how much you can spend, i.e. your disposable income. That means getting used to checking your account balance (as daunting as it can be, especially after a night out where you discovered your new favourite cocktail), being mindful of the impact on your bank account when you want to purchase something new or shiny, but equally, being honest with yourself when it really is time for something to go – you might already have that something in mind.

(2) Create a budget for play

Number two, on a similar vein, is budgeting for fun or play. It’s like giving yourself an allowance to go for nice meals, explore, whatever takes your fancy. That way, you don’t have to feel guilty for it when you want to save – it’s something you’ve accounted for, which will still keep you on track to achieve what you want. And if you don’t end up using it all, then hey – more in the bank at the end of the day. So long as this one is done reasonably (e.g., x% of your monthly income, after rent, bills, and necessities), I think this one is a great way of allowing yourself to spend on you, both in the short-term and long-term. Also, rather than seeing it as a limit on your fun, see it as an allowance, almost an encouragement – you’ve earned this, and have the means for it.

(3) Quality over Quantity

Last but not least, choose quality over quantity. Sometimes I find that what I thought I wanted doesn’t really “spark joy” the way Marie Kondo told me it should. When you do spend, an abundance frame of mind – in my book – is about spending on something enriching, fruitful, that reaps benefits for a long time. Be that a holiday, an investment piece for your wardrobe that you’ve wanted for quite some time, or something for your home that makes your life infinitely easier, these things bring you way more satisfaction in the long-run, than buying a couple new dresses each month, or that handbag from a brand that looks like a dupe for something higher end. I’m definitely guilty of this, but it’s something I’m aware of and consciously trying to work on.

So when we talk about abundance, let’s frame it in a way that emphasizes abundance of joy – the enjoyment that comes from working hard and reaping the benefits. Remember this doesn’t need to take the shape of something “big” – abundance is a large level of satisfaction achieved, not the satisfaction achieved from something large.

PC: Baraa Jalahej

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