top of page

Rewiring your financial mindset: Unlearning the Gift-Spend Mindset

gift voucher image

Do you remember that feeling of pure joy when, as a child, you received money to spend? Even if you received the money to buy your sibling a birthday present or perhaps Christmas presents for your family, you also received a subliminal message that a gift of money meant you have to spend it.


Yes, there was that rush of excitement and the endless possibilities of what presents you could buy with it. For many of us, this was the first introduction to money. But it also planted a seed in our subconscious mind of gift-spend .i.e. if we are given money we need to spend it, and this gift-spend belief may be hindering our financial growth today.


As children, we're often given money on special occasions like birthdays or holidays. It's presented as a gift - something to be enjoyed immediately. We rush out to spend it on toys, candy, or whatever catches our fancy. In doing so, we unknowingly establish an association between receiving money and spending it immediately.


Fast forward to adulthood. We earn salaries and bonuses but find ourselves living paycheck-to-paycheck or struggling to save up for future goals. Why? Because that childhood belief is still ingrained in our subconscious mind:"If I receive money, I must spend it."


This belief or gift-spend mindset isn't just harmful; it's holding us back from financial freedom and prosperity.


Think about how much more secure you would feel if for every unexpected bonus or monetary gift the majority of it went straight into savings instead of being frittered away on impulse purchases. Imagine looking at your growing bank balance and knowing you have a safety net for emergencies or funds for future investments.


The key to achieving this comes from reprogramming your subconscious mind to save. Reprogramming the same subconscious mind that still thinks (no matter what age you are now) that you are five, six or seven years old with a burning hole in your pocket!


Let’s look at how Elon Musk views his finances. He once said he doesn't spend his income frivolously but reinvests it back into his businesses – essentially saving and growing his wealth simultaneously. This principle applies equally well to business as well as personal finance.


Now comes the question: How do we unlearn this deep-seated 'gift-spend' mentality?


Recognize the Pattern: The first step towards change is awareness. Reflect on your spending habits. Can you see a pattern of spending all the money you get as a gift. Do you tend to splurge whenever there's extra cash at hand? If yes, then you're likely stuck in the 'gift-spend' cycle.


Understand that there's no guilt in saving some or all of the gift money. It's not a requirement to spend it immediately, nor is it disrespectful to the giver. In fact, many would be delighted knowing their gift contributed to your financial stability.

Take the time to ask yourself if you have a gift-spend belief and at what age you took this into your subconscious mind. Once you find your inner child, assure them they are safe to let this gift-spend belief go, explaining that this is not helping you as an adult to be able to afford the things you need such as a house or even a holiday. Continue to chat with your inner child until they agree to let go of the gift-spend belief and are happy to save, knowing they are safe to do so.


Re-educate your mind: Remember that money is not merely for immediate gratification but also for long-term security and growth. Start treating a percentage or all of extra income (bonuses, tax refunds, gifts, winnings as opportunities for saving rather than exercising the gift-spend cycle.

This way you also train your mind to saving. Once your subconscious mind has let go of the gift-spend idea and replaced it with saving, you start to see your savings account increase with each deposit. This growth reinforces the belief of 'increasing savings"and you will now find many opportunities come your way to save more. That is the power of your subconscious mind - what it believes, it creates.


Practice mindfulness when you receive monetary gifts. Instead of rushing out on a gift-spend spree, pause to consider your options. If there is something you absolutely want then feel free to purchase it but only if you need it, love it and will use it. Also consider whether this money would serve a better purpose if some of it was saved or invested.


Practice delayed gratification: This will help you make more thoughtful and beneficial financial decisions. Many times you will find that just by waiting an hour or two or even overnight, you no longer have the same gift-spend urge to buy the thing that you thought you could not do without.


Create a savings plan: Allocate a certain percentage (say 10%-20% or more) of your income towards savings or investments before spending on anything else. This 'pay yourself first' strategy can significantly boost your savings over time.Compound interest is your friend. Remember the Government takes your tax out BEFORE you are paid a salary, so do the same for yourself.

This way you are not just 'hoping' to have something left over after your gift-spend shopping spree (most of the time you will have spent it all); you have looked after your future via your savings and you have peace of mind because today is looked after, your future is looked after and you can relax.


Engage in positive affirmations. Tell yourself daily:"I make wise financial decisions." Over time, these affirmations will help rewire your subconscious beliefs about money, you will stop the gift-spend urge and you will draw to you opportunities that were not available to you beforehand.


Seek Professional help: If you're finding it difficult to break free from this gift-spend cycle, consider getting financial advice or counselling and once you have broken the cycle consider financial planning advice. Study up on financial investments and read great books such as The Barefoot Investor by Scott Page, Rich Dad,Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and The Richest Man in Babylon..


Remember, money is not just for spending; it's also for saving, investing, and growing. By letting go of the childhood gift-spend belief that every monetary gift must be spent immediately, you open yourself up to greater financial freedom and prosperity.

The world's financial markets are subject to change such as the 2008 Financial Crisis; while currently many people are in financial difficulties as increased house prices are passed on to renters while the costs of goods are increasing too.


So next time you receive some extra cash, resist the urge to gift-spend right away.Tune into your subconscious mind to find the inner child who needs to spend it and speak with them so that they agree to use it to enhance your future - whether that's by adding it to your savings account, investing or even starting a side business.


Breaking free from the 'gift-spend' cycle will allow you to see a significant change in your financial health over time.


I'd love to hear about your experiences with this issue of gift-spend! Have you managed to break free from the 'gift-spend' cycle? Share your stories below!


bottom of page