The Mantra That Helped One R.D. Ditch The Scarcity Mindset & Attract Financial Abundance
For this week's Well Spent, we chatted with Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN—an mbg Collective member who has successfully built a booming business as a health coach, registered dietitian, and science writer. Cording had great advice for anyone struggling to separate money from self-worth, get over the scarcity mindset, or stay sane as a freelancer. And you won't want to sleep on her tips for saving money on healthy food and journaling your way toward a more abundant financial life.
What does financial well-being mean to you?
I know it's different for everybody, but to me, it's feeling a sense of ease around money. As I work toward financial health, my goal is always having the freedom to be able to take care of myself and enjoy my life.
What has your financial journey looked like up until this point?
Oh my goodness. Well, for starters I've never had a conventional nine-to-five job, which is crazy, but I think a lot of it has to do with my age and background. I've always had a lot of different income streams. There was one time in my life when I was still working in the clinical world but I was also doing corporate wellness, building a private practice, and starting to do more writing. I was juggling like seven different income streams at once, and I was exhausted. I still wasn't reaching my goals because I was so burnt out and I was spread so thin.
That was a definite learning experience. It taught me that in order to have a healthier financial life, I really needed to get clear on what my goals were and set up a plan to meet them. I found that when I got more clear on how I was going to make money, I realized I didn't have to be constantly doing stuff. If you're killing yourself to make xyz dollars, it's not worth it if you can't actually feel well and enjoy life. For me, the big lesson was becoming more intentional about how I earn and handle money.
Getting over the scarcity mindset has also been big for me in my journey. It's a really sneaky thing. I've struggled with it so much. Even now, money stuff is a big part of my daily journaling. I've had to do so much inner work on that. I'm definitely a big believer in having a mantra. I do believe in the Law of Attraction, and I think that translates to our financial life, so I write notes to myself about attracting an abundance of wealth and resources to support that picture of having ease and freedom.
Is there one mantra in specific that has been helpful to get over the scarcity mindset?
There are two that come to mind. One that I love to use is, "I attract an abundance of wealth and resources." Another one I've used during the moments when wanting money makes me feel guilty, I'll say, "Having enough money allows me to better support other people in my life." For me, a lot of this ties into inner stuff, emotional stuff, and mixed messages I have been told about money, so I've also been writing, "I now open myself up to reaching a new level in my financial life."
Backtracking a bit, how did you end up getting clear on your goals and start saying yes to the right work as a freelancer? That's something I think a lot of people struggle with.
First, I broke down the hours I was spending on each particular project. Writing for one publication, in particular, I realized, "Gosh, I'm spending about 40 hours a month on this thing and I'm only making $250, and it's not bringing in business to my coaching practice." Some publications don't pay or don't pay a lot, but if you are able to make meaningful connections or if you're getting business from that exposure, then it could be worth it. Like many R.D.s, I was trained to be a people-pleaser. And I grew up in a world where it's always about everyone else. I had to get honest with myself about who I was actually supporting with my work.
In my current practice, I use a subscription-based coaching model, where someone signs up for a set number of months and they get a number of different services, depending on which level they sign up for. But when I first started, I was doing consults for like $30/hour. A colleague sat me down one day and was like, "Jess, you're a trained professional with a master's degree. People pay more for a mani-pedi special than what you're charging." Hearing that was a wake-up call. I had to get comfortable with charging more, and I found that really helped with my business in so many ways. Since I was earning more and not spreading myself so thin, I was able to provide better service and my clients that were signing on with me were having a better experience because they were committed.
How do you handle the uncertainty of working for yourself and owning your own business?
Thank goodness for CBD to help me get sleep! Also, whenever I start freaking out, I get out my journal and ask, "OK, what am I freaked out about?" And then I look at, "What's the worst that could happen?" Usually, it's not as bad as I'm thinking it is. I also think about, "If this worst-case scenario happened, how would I deal with that?" Or, "What can I do to deal with this situation?" And I just make a list of all of the things that I can do. That helps make that feeling of hopelessness or helplessness much smaller.
I think that being organized also helps. I've built systems for myself like and designated certain days to doing things like checking my accounts or doing outreach to grow my practice.
Looking back, what tips would you give your younger, less money-savvy self?
Start planning sooner! Now, I find it so helpful to make a spreadsheet with my known expenses for the year that I can use to make a budget. It helps me see what I need to make, but it also shows me that I don't always need to freak out as much as I used to think I did.
I think a lot of the anxiety that comes up around money has to do with the fear of the unknown. I would tell my younger self that information can help. Once you know what you're dealing with, then you can start taking action steps to just deal with it.
As a nutritionist, when do you think it's worth it to splurge on food? Any affordable superfoods you love?
In general, I tell my clients to pick their priorities. For example, if you are someone who is going to be eating a lot of kale, since that's on the Dirty Dozen list, it might be something to purchase organic to reduce your pesticide exposure. But maybe stick to conventional bananas and avocados because they have lower levels of pesticides and you're not eating the skin, so you can save money there. I'm a huge fan of berries, but they can be really expensive, especially in the off-season. I recommend buying frozen since it's cheaper, and frozen stuff is packaged at peak freshness. That way, you don't have to worry about food waste either, and research has shown that the frozen stuff may have higher antioxidant activity because it hasn't been sitting on the shelf.
In terms of when to splurge, it's tricky. I am sensitive to the fact that many people are on a tight budget. I know what that's like! When it comes to meat, poultry, and fish, I do really feel like it is worth it from a health, taste, and environmental standpoint to spend a little more on options that are sustainably raised and organic. Sustainably farmed fish is becoming more readily available. Sometimes eating these things on a budget means getting used to a smaller portion. For example, grass-fed beef is delicious. I would encourage someone to buy a smaller amount of meat from the farmers market and bulk up the dish with lots of vegetables versus buying huge quantities of factory-farmed meat.
Are there any DIY tricks you use to save money in the kitchen?
I don't generally recommend juice as a regular thing, but for someone who wants to do it, I would encourage juicing at home. And you can repurpose the pulp to make vegetable stock. Beauty treatments can also be really costly. A DIY scrub with olive or coconut oil, sugar, and essential oils is nice to use in the shower to keep your skin soft.
What's the best money you've ever spent?
My dog. The little dude saved my life. Talk about good medicine!
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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