Abundant living is a mindset, as we have discussed in previous posts. People who know how to create abundance think about money differently. They let it flow from them when necessary, and they see it come back without anxiety. The people who are best at creating abundance know that it actually has very little to do with the dollars in your pocket. With that in mind, here are some strategies that can help you cultivate an abundant mindset and overcome a scarcity mindset.
Choose the Things You Really Want
How many times have you wanted to buy something you really wanted, but you talked yourself out of it for one reason or another? Instead of buying what you liked, you bought something you did not really want or care about as much. Maybe you bought several such items. In the end, you may have paid more for these “stand-ins” than you would have paid for the one thing you really wanted. The majority of our purchases are emotional, so acknowledge that. You are better off fulfilling the emotional need with what you truly want, rather than trying to compensate with a horde of less expensive items that don’t really mean that much to you.
Sometimes abundance thinking means that you should buy the one thing you really like instead of the dozen or so things you do not. This does not mean you should go into debt because you really like something. It does mean honoring what your true choices are, however.
Plant a Garden
No matter how big your yard is, or even if your yard is an apartment balcony, you can grow something to eat. Tomatoes and herbs do well in pots, and it is amazing how many food plants you can pack into a small space. Seeds and seedlings are relatively cheap, so give it a shot.
If you need to use pots, you can usually find some good used ones at thrift stores and garage sales. There is also nothing wrong with cheaper plastic pots, as long as they have the holes in the bottom so that water does not collect inside the pot (this can drown your plants).
If you have some ground you can use, give some thought to how you should lay out your garden. How big should it be? Is it near a water source or outdoor water spigot? Is the area fenced? If not, do neighborhood pets come into your yard? Dogs and cats dig, so you may need some kind of barrier around your plot. You will also need some basic tools for your garden, such as a hoe, a spade, and a trowel. For larger gardens, a wheelbarrow may be necessary.
Of course, if the thought of gardening makes you want to run screaming, then do not do it. You should only do those things that give you joy. Some people like to raise chickens for their own fresh eggs, and that is a great thing to do—unless it is too much responsibility and work for your lifestyle and would just make you miserable. Remember, it is a good thing to spend money on your local farmers and merchants. This is how abundance flows.
Buy the Best Clothing You Can Afford
You will save money in the long run (and look sharper) if you buy good quality clothing. This will likely mean paying more money than you would have otherwise, but quality clothing will reward you with more years of wear and good looks. That being said, expensive clothing isn’t always good quality. So how do you tell?
When buying clothing, look first at the fabric. Is it thin or thick? Thin fabric will wear much faster. Next, look at the stitching. Are there a lot of strings? Do the stitches look sturdy? Did they use a weak thread or a strong thread? If the garment has zippers or buttons, are they well attached? Or do they look like they could come off without much effort?
You may find that some brands have a higher quality than others. When you know what they are, seek them out, but be vigilant. A company can change its quality guidelines without warning. Also, look for sales. If you’re accustomed to buying clothes in season, consider thinking ahead and buying clothes out of season. Summer clothing goes on sale in August and September. Likewise, winter clothing goes on sale in late winter and early spring. Take advantage of these times.
It is probably even more important to spend more money on shoes than on clothing. Ill-fitting or cheap shoes can change the way that you hold yourself and walk, and this can lead to injury over time. Invest in a good pair of shoes. They will cost more, and it may be harder to find what you need on sale. But consider: you can pay $20 for a pair of shoes that will be bad for your feet and last you about six months, or you can spend $100 for a pair of shoes that fit well and will last you several years. Shoes are not just a fashion accessory; they are an investment in your health.
Good shoes will be made with leather and other sturdy materials—never plastic. They should have a good arch support in them, or you may need to buy inserts that provide more support. Above all, go to a good shoe store with knowledgeable staff who can measure your shoe size accurately and help you to find a good fit. It can make a world of difference, particularly if you spend a lot of time on your feet during the day.
Maintain Your Car
Your cars will treat you more kindly with some regular maintenance. Oil and filter changes, transmission fluid changes, brake checks and brake fluid replacements will all keep your car healthier and safer. Spend a little today, or spend a lot tomorrow.
It also pays to find a mechanic you can trust, even if you have to shop around. If you can get recommendations from friends, then start there. Here are some tips for discovering whether a mechanic is honest or not:
- Get a written estimate for all proposed work in writing before you let them start to work on the car.
- If the mechanic comes back to you one time with something new to add, then okay. Stuff happens.
- If the mechanic comes back to you a second time, be suspicious of their motivations.
- If the mechanic comes back to you a third time, do not allow them to do anything other than what you’ve contracted for, and run in the other direction.
It is very common for unscrupulous mechanics to try to increase repair costs, particularly with women and younger customers. To illustrate this technique, here is a true story:
I was suspicious when a mechanic came back after the initial estimate holding a really bad-looking shock absorber in a shop rag like a baby. “I knew you’d want to see this,” he said. “Your shocks are really bad.”
“Yeah, that looks terrible!” I replied. And then I leaned over and swiped off the motor oil with my finger to see the maker’s mark. For one thing, shocks shouldn’t have that much motor oil on them. This shock was completely covered in it. For another thing, if it does have that much motor oil on it for some reason, it shouldn’t be as fresh as this motor oil was. The shock that he said he’d removed from my car—a Buick—was for a Volkswagen.
The moral of this story is, if the mechanic does a “safety check” while doing other work, and they tell you that they have found worn parts, ask to see them. Even if you know nothing about auto mechanics, look to see if it’s a reasonable assumption that the part came from your car. The simple act of being a little suspicious can prevent people from gouging you further.