How to Stop Feeling Hopeless About Money

There have been times in my life when I had to pinch every penny so hard it hurt.

I can remember weighing my spending choices and wondering if I’d have enough to cover rent that month or even if I could afford mundane things like new underwear.

And I gotta tell you, feeling that strapped for cash is a miserable way to live.

Thankfully, it’s possible to move past a bad money situation and fill your life with abundance (financial and otherwise) again.

Here are some doable tips for those of you who are action oriented, mindset focused, or both.

Plus, read all the way to the end to get your free printable worksheet to help you stop feeling hopeless about money.

Amazing Action Steps

If you’re a take-charge kind of person who likes to hit the ground running, try these action steps to get results quickly.

Get Another Job

Wow, we’re starting off with a real downer, right? Finding another job is probably the last thing you want to do. But if you’re not earning enough money to cover your expenses, a new job will help boost your income.

Now is the time to swallow your pride and be an adult. If your current job doesn’t pay enough, start applying to jobs at other companies or ask your manager for a raise. If you work for yourself, find a side gig or day job that can support you financially until your business takes off.

Could another job help ease the financial strain, even if you’d have to give up some of your free time?

Edit Your Budget

Whenever I work with a client who’s feeling hopeless about money, the first thing we do is find her “spaghetti number.” That’s the amount of money she needs to bring in every month to cover her bills, pay minimum amounts on debts, and eat simple foods (ie, spaghetti). There’s no room for entertainment, fancy dinners, or shopping.

The reason people feel hopeless is that they think they need to find an astronomical amount of money immediately or else they’ll be out on the street. But 9 times out of 10, they realize they have much more income than they thought once they determine their spaghetti number.

Could you suck it up and live off of spaghetti for a few months until you’re in a better place financially?

Find Supportive Friends

Being in debt or not being able to afford nice things is embarrassing, especially when it seems like everyone else is livin’ on easy street. I’ve seen too many people worsen their financial burdens by trying to keep up with the Joneses. Ignoring the problem and putting on a facade will come back to bite you in the ass big time.

Instead, be truthful with your friends and admit it when you can’t afford expensive group outings or shopping sprees. Who knows—they might be feeling hopeless about money too but where too scared to say anything. Try organizing some economical get-togethers like potluck dinner parties or picnics in the park.

Can you reach out to a trusted friend (or two) and ask for their understanding and support?

Magical Mindset Shifts

If you have a feeling that your mindset and limiting beliefs are mostly at fault for your money problems, try shifting your thoughts with these tactics.

Recite Daily Affirmations

I’m a big proponent of mantras because I know how they can defuse a tense situation almost instantly. And having money problems sure is tense. Choose an affirmation that flips the switch in your mind from lack to abundance.

When you pay a bill or write a check say, “There’s more where that came from.” And it’s true! Money is a renewable resource, and it will always flow back to you. I have a notecard in my daily stack that says, “Money comes easily and often.”

What positive affirmation will remind you that money isn’t evil, but rather a form of energy that you can harness?

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Think about your desired income. What’s that specific number? How much is it per paycheck or client? How much per year? Now think about how you would act if that number was your real salary. You better believe you wouldn’t be sitting on the couch in your jammies all day!

A fun way I used to fake it was to imagine an extra zero at the end of my bonus checks. One year I got a bonus of only $112. I was very grateful for the money, but I wrote in my aspiration journal that I had received $1120 instead. I believed it was true with all my heart and during the next year I acted the way an employee who earned that much would have acted. The next time bonuses were handed out, I got $1300.

How would your behavior change if you actually had all the money you wanted?

Try a Money Meditation

When all else fails and I can’t stop worrying about money, I sit down to meditate. There’s nothing better to help you quiet the voices in your head, calm down, and center yourself.

My favorite guided mediation at the moment is the Money Magnet Meditation by Natalie MacNeil of She Takes on the World. Her soothing voice and new-agey music helps me release all the tension in my body and shift my focus to harnessing the earth’s energy to attract what I most desire. Yes, this meditation is a bit “woo woo,” but whether it’s the placebo effect or not, it works for me.

Can you find 5 minutes today to meditate and release the tension you have around money?

Your Next Steps

If you’re feeling hopeless about money, I challenge you to find your own solutions. Not just one solution—a hundred solutions!

My free printable worksheet, 100 Ways to Change Your Life, is a game you play with yourself to come up with as many creative solutions to a problem as you can in an hour.

Set a timer for 60 minutes and start writing any idea—ANYTHING—that comes to your mind about how you can fix your money problem. The first few will be obvious ones (get another job, cancel cable TV), but once you get halfway through, you’ll start noticing solutions that you never thought possible before.

Try it for yourself! The solution to any problem is already inside you…and you just have to find a way to bring it out. This worksheet is one of dozens of free resources in the Editor’s Toolkit. Click here to get instant access.

Your homework: Create your list of 100 ways to improve your money situation and circle the 10 most actionable items on your list. Then put those ideas into motion this week. Don’t delay!

This post focuses on Step 1 of the Life Editing Process, Create a Foundation. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.

The Editor’s Toolkit

  • Free Workshop: 3 Simple Steps to Become a Productivity Superstar
  • 25+ Printable Worksheets
  • 6 Life Editing Ebooks
  • My Favorite Books and Resources


  1. Rachel G on April 28, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    You definitely have some awesome practical advice here!

    • Sage Grayson on April 29, 2014 at 9:33 am

      Thanks, Rachel! 🙂

  2. Sarah @ Long Island Nerd on April 28, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Once again I feel like you are in my head 🙂 I’ve been trying to improve my financial situation which in the short term will probably lead to me taking a second job until I can find a more ideal position. It’s nice to read this because it is sort of validating the steps I’ve been taking to figure everything out. I’m definitely going to fill out that worksheet, thanks for providing it!

    • Sage Grayson on April 29, 2014 at 9:35 am

      I’m always lurking in your head, Sarah. 🙂 Nothin’ wrong with taking a second job! I hope you like the worksheet and are able to come up with some creative ways to bring in more money.

  3. Lori on April 28, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I always love your advice, Sage! So real and honest!

    • Sage Grayson on April 29, 2014 at 9:36 am

      Aw, thanks so much, Lori! 🙂