Between our conscious and unconscious minds, we can make big money mistakes, say the Debt Free Guys. But when we admit we suffer from limiting beliefs, then we can change them—and improve our financial lives.

I’m bad with money.

Money is evil.

I’ll never earn more.

Sound familiar? You may suffer from limiting beliefs and not even know it. Many of us do, and we develop these self-defeating thoughts at a very young age. Some psychologists even think we start acquiring these views as early as four or five years old.

As we grow up, we get hints and cues that mold us into the adults we become.

My earliest memory about money: I’m younger than 10, riding in the front passenger seat of my parents’ Ford Pinto, no seatbelts, mom at the wheel.

“How much money do we make?” I asked.

My mother frowned. “You don’t make any money, and it’s not polite to ask.”

Her point was valid, and still applicable for parents and kids today. For me, though, this reply set a negative perception of money. At the very least, I knew it wasn’t polite to talk about money.

When it’s not polite to talk about something, we don’t ask questions about it, and then we don’t learn about it.

Tackling Money Challenges in the LGBTQ Community

Many of us in the queer community (as with most minority communities) struggle with limiting beliefs. For many queer people, we’re making up for being bullied, forced into the closet, or kicked out of our homes when we were younger. Despite what we may say, we may unconsciously believe we’re not deserving or are unworthy, and this has financial repercussions.

Girls grow up to be women who may (consciously or unconsciously) think they can’t earn as much money as a man. They, therefore, may not try for that promotion or negotiate harder for a raise. Some demographics may feel they’ll never get the same opportunities as their peers, then get stuck in a cycle of poverty or stagnation.

Between our conscious and unconscious minds, we can make big money mistakes. But when we can admit we suffer from some of these beliefs, then we can change them—and improve our financial lives.

Overcoming our conscious beliefs are one thing. Overcoming our unconscious beliefs are another. After all, how do you fix something you don’t know is a problem?

Because unconscious beliefs are deeply ingrained, we often can’t articulate why we believe them. We’ll dismiss them as “it’s just who I am” or “it’s just what I believe,” as if they’re innate truths. If our “truths” (e.g., “I’ll never have money”, “I’ll never get out of debt”) aren’t serving us, we would do well to change them.

The good news: We can change our subconscious thinking, aka our neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Our NLP is the script we tell ourselves. It’s the voice inside our heads.

Do you ever wonder how something popped into your head? That’s your NLP talking.

Changing Our Internal Dialogue

Three exercises can reform our NLP. The first is repeating affirmations. The second is keeping a gratitude journal. The third is actively seeking happiness.

Exercise 1: Repeat Motivational Affirmations

Memorize a script that describes the best version of you and what you want to achieve. Be specific with what you want, choose measurable benchmarks to track your progress, and include deadlines.

Then, for five minutes twice a day, ideally in the morning and before bed, close your eyes and recite your affirmations out loud with enthusiasm and passion. See in your mind’s eye what you say. Feel the emotions of achieving your goals and becoming who you know yourself to be. Imagine the feeling, smells, and sounds. Include all your senses.

Talking to yourself out loud like this will feel strange at first, but it’s a repetitive exercise that, over time, will change your NLP. The more you say and hear these positive affirmations, the more your NLP will change accordingly. When you change your NLP, you’ll change your beliefs, behavior, and results.

Exercise 2: Journal Our Gratitude

Keep a gratitude journal, even on your worst days. If what we focus on expands, focusing on the positive must produce positive results. List at least five things daily for which you’re grateful.

You may need to pick easy wins at first, like “the weather was beautiful” or “that TV show made me laugh”. As you improve, you’ll find and journal bigger wins.

As you reinforce your happiness with the little things, you’ll find bigger things that make you happy. Eventually, both your conscious and unconscious mind will see only the good in your life and finances, and you’ll produce more good. In time, your unconscious mind will stop sabotaging you and your money.

Exercise 3: Actively Seek Happiness

No matter how much you may struggle financially or which demographic you affiliate with, if you live in the United States, you’re wealthy compared to the rest of the world. If you aren’t happy with what you have today, you won’t be happy when you move to the corner office—or even the Oval Office.

Thus, happiness isn’t a goal. We must work to make happiness an ongoing state, and not an ongoing goal. The search for happiness despite our circumstances is why my husband and I adopted a new exercise: Every time we have a negative thought about anything, for any reason, we must tell or text the other two things we’re happy about to counterbalance that one negative thought.

When you start looking for more happiness in your life, you notice more happiness. When you celebrate every win, no matter how big or small, you have more wins. When you see more happiness, you receive more pleasure in all its shapes and sizes.

At first, these three exercises will improve your conscious thought. While that’s good enough, eventually they’ll raise your unconscious thought, and that’s when the real magic happens. When we stop inadvertently and unknowingly sabotaging ourselves, our lives, and our money, we invite more abundance and riches.

Debt Free Guys

Read more stories from John Schneider and David Auten at

Any third-party resources or websites referenced above are not under Society of Grownups control. Society of Grownups cannot guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of the resources, websites, or any products or services available through such resources or websites.

While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner.

Let's take action, Grownup.

Check out our courses to start taking action on your goals any time.

Take a course

Let's stay in touch, Grownup.