Day 1: Awareness–Elevating your money mindset

Welcome to Day 1 of the 7-Day Financial Wellness Kickstart series!

If you haven’t read the welcome message, click here to review it

Day 1 Money mantraMy financial future is bright.

Let’s kick off Day 1 by addressing your money mindset. 

Your money mindset comes from your unique set of core beliefs and attitudes about money. It’s based on your life experiences. And it’s what drives decisions about spending, saving, and investing, and managing debt.

To improve financial habits, you’ll need a better understanding of your relationship with money. How you think and feel about money strongly correlates with how it’s managed. 

In my book, You Only Live Once, I wrote about how our thoughts and feelings impact our savings and spending habits. And often, this influence is largely unknown. 

The first step in managing your money better is understanding your money mindset. You’ll need to get into the heart of your beliefs about money. And with increased awareness, it can lead to changing the trajectory of your life.

I want you to complete the following sentence. 

Money is ______________.

Write down the first thought or word that comes to mind.

Take the time to complete this sentence. What is the word(s) that immediately came to you? Is it power, freedom, importance, or evil?

There’s no right or wrong answer. 

The simple exercise is a necessary step toward understanding how you view money. 

Below are examples of healthy money beliefs:

Money is a tool

Money is not the end goal. Your purpose in life isn’t to accumulate a stash of cash. When you understand and accept money as a tool, you begin to use it to build your dream life.

Think of money as a hammer. It can help you build or tear down a wall. So, money can help build or break your dreams. You must acquire the skill to use the tool. You can learn the skills through lessons, books, and conversations with experts.

How will you use money as a tool?

Money is not evil

Some money beliefs equate money to being good or evil. I grew up believing it was a necessary evil. It created financial behaviors that made me spend money as soon as I made it.

If money is evil, why would I want to hold on to it? It would be immoral. If money is evil, what kind of people have lots of money? Bad people. I didn’t want to be an immoral and bad person, so I spent instead of saved. Essentially, my behavior didn’t prioritize wealth creation. 

Money is neither good nor evil.

Again, money is a tool. How you use money says a lot more about your values. Think of money as a magnifying glass. It will magnify your values and beliefs.

Money can buy happiness

Happiness isn’t a destination but a result of choices. When you’re using your money well and working towards your vision for life, the result is feelings of happiness.

Money buys happiness because it affords the necessities like food, shelter, medicine, and clothing. It’s challenging to feel happy when you’re hungry.

And money is also an opportunity to realize dreams. 

When you believe money can buy happiness, you’re a bit more mindful of how you spend it. You even want to make more money to use as a tool to achieve life goals and buy things that truly matter.

It is vital to understand that money can buy happiness, but money isn’t happiness. 

When we believe money is happiness, it often leads to overconsumption and mindless purchases. We’re just one purchase away from being happy. And if we don’t have money to buy the “thing,” we’re unhappy.

Is your money beliefs healthy or unhealthy?

People with a healthy money mindset have beliefs such as:

  • I can reach my financial goals.
  • I do not compare myself to others.
  • I spend on what I value and buy what brings me joy.
  • I am more than my credit score.
  • I can create wealth.

And having a healthy money mindset means:

  • Having an emergency fund.
  • Having little to no credit card debt.
  • Investing for the future.
  • Contributing to retirement accounts.

Having a healthy money mindset can help you reach goals. 

In contrast, an unhealthy money mindset can impact your ability to achieve financial success. Having negative feelings and thoughts about money can lead to financial decisions that impact well-being. It can lead to self-sabotaging actions.

Some examples include:

  • I will never make enough money to realize my dreams.
  • Debt is a part of life.
  • I don’t have enough money to save.
  • I can never afford to retire.
  • Investing is only for the rich.

What type of beliefs about money do you hold?

Take time to reflect on your thoughts and feelings. 

Make an effort to be aware of how you feel when the topic of money comes up. Do you cringe when someone mentions money? Do you tend to tune out when others talk about investments? How do you respond when someone talks about credit or debt? Are you dishing out money advice you don’t take yourself?

Track these thoughts and feelings to help you understand your mindset. Highlight areas where you need to make some changes.

Day 1 Exercise 

I once thought money didn’t buy happiness. That belief meant I spent it on things that actually never brought long-lasting satisfaction. Negative money beliefs informed my financial behaviors, so much so, I didn’t see the importance of saving money or investing.

Have you downloaded the workbook? Click here.

What’s your money belief?

Think about that short exercise I shared earlier. 

Close your eyes (humor me) and complete the sentence: money is___________________.

Again, the words used to complete the sentence say much about your relationship with money. It’s the starting point on your journey to shifting your money beliefs.

Let’s take it a step further. Ask yourself additional questions like:

  • If money wasn’t an issue, how would I spend my time?
  • Does the thought of money stress me?
  • Do I avoid looking at my bank accounts, paycheck, and credit statements?
  • How am I spending my money? Why am I choosing those things?
  • Am I working harder to keep up a lifestyle?

Then, I want you to answer the following question: 

What area of personal finance do you excel in and understand very well? 


What area of personal finance do you need the most help in? 


In the coming days, each lesson will include a money mindset focused on elevating your relationship with money.

Breathwork exercise: Intentional breathing
Money can stress us out. Breathwork can quickly and positively alter how you’re feeling.

Today’s practice is intentional breathwork. You will sit and focus on increasing awareness of your breath.

1. Take a comfortable seated position.
2. Place a hand on your chest.
3. Close your eyes.
4. Simply pay attention to your breath without manipulating it.
5. Notice and feel the subtle movements of your chest and belly.
6. And count 10 breaths (an inhale and exhale count as one breath).

Progress check-in

After this lesson, you should have a better understanding of your relationship with money and be more excited to continue on this journey.

And that’s it for today! See you tomorrow for Day 2.

With you on the journey,


Author of Happy Money Happy Life & Founder of The Smile Money

Additional reading

How to spend on loves, not likes.

5 money beliefs for better financial wellbeing

Chapter 3 and 5 in the book, You Only Live Once.

Chapter 13 in Happy Money Happy Life.

Helpful resources

Access hundreds of articles on each of these pillars on Go ahead and dive deeper into areas you need help in right away.

And find the best checking account, investing app, credit score monitoring, and more on

Day 2 Preview: Manage Money–Using cash flow to direct your money

On day 2, you’ll learn about managing your money and get introduced to a cash flow strategy.

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