Are you ready to break free from a poverty mindset? Most of us have been conditioned to think a certain way when it comes to money and success, so it’s no surprise that many of us have an ingrained poverty mindset.

But if you want to achieve true financial freedom, then it’s time to break out of the box and start thinking as wealthy people do. In this article, I’ll share 26 examples of a poverty mindset so you can start looking for them in your thinking and working towards replacing them with more productive habits.

It’s not easy, especially because many of these beliefs might be deeply embedded ideas you don’t even realize are influencing your decisions, but with some mindful practice, you can begin establishing healthy beliefs about money and wealth. Let’s get started.

What is a poverty mindset?

Have you ever heard of a poverty mindset? They are the beliefs and habits that can impede success and keep you in a cycle of poverty.

A poverty mindset is essentially an attitude or way of thinking that affects your behavior and decision-making. It occurs mostly due to negative experiences or beliefs, such as having limited resources or access to opportunities, leading to an individual giving up on their dreams and goals.

Some common examples of a poverty mindset include:

  • believing that success is only reserved for certain people
  • not seeing any value in education
  • Prioritizing short-term needs over long-term goals

Poverty Mindset Examples

Recognizing these poverty mindset examples allows you to become aware of any existing negative thoughts and work on breaking free from them. Thus, being self-aware can be the first step towards success and achieving your goals.

If you find yourself falling into these poverty mindset examples, take a step back and remember that there is an abundance of resources available for everyone from education and career opportunities to financial resources like grants or crowdfunding platforms as well as an abundance of relationships and purposeful pursuits if we choose to create them.

1. The “I Can’t Afford It” Mindset

The I Can't Afford It Mindset
The I Can’t Afford It Mindset

One of the most common examples of a poverty mindset is the “I can’t afford it” mentality. This type of thinking creates a sense of scarcity and leads to feelings of powerlessness. Rather than finding creative ways to save money or looking for better-priced options, this mindset tells you that everything is out of reach.

This kind of attitude can also lead to self-destructive behaviors like taking on bad debt and making impulse purchases based on a desire for instant gratification rather than long-term savings. To break this cycle, it’s important to take ownership of your financial decisions and learn how to set realistic goals and budgets.

2. Believing in Lack-Thinking

Perhaps you’ve heard the term “lack of thinking” before. It’s the attitude associated with people who are stuck in a poverty mindset, believing that no matter how much they achieve, there will never be enough.

This type of thinking makes it difficult to move forward and progress financially, as someone with a poverty mindset is less likely to take risks or invest their money in assets. Instead, they remain in their comfort zone and miss out on opportunities that could change their lives for the better.

Some examples of lack of thinking include:

  1. believing there’s not enough to go around, so it’s better to just hunker down and take what you can get.
  2. Focusing too much on spending and not enough on earning potential
  3. Constantly comparing yourself to others and feeling like you’ll never measure up

The key is to recognize these thoughts when they come up, challenge them in a healthy way, and focus instead on positive thoughts about abundance and prosperity, both for yourself and for those around you.

3. Fearing Change and Growth

Its very easy to fall into, but it can hold you back from achieving your goals. When it comes to personal and professional development, embracing risk and learning new things is essential to long-term success. Here are some things you should do instead of avoiding change and growth:

  1. Be open to challenges. Don’t be afraid of failure. Failure can be a great teacher.
  2. Take risks. In order to gain success, you need to take risks and try something new.
  3. Prioritize learning. If there’s something new you want to learn or try, do it. Learning new skills can open doors for more opportunities in the future.
  4. Aim high. Don’t settle for what’s comfortable; challenge yourself by setting higher goals than normal.
Reaching your goals will give you a huge sense of accomplishment
Reaching your goals will give you a huge sense of accomplishment.

4. Feeling entitled to handouts

Do you find yourself thinking you’re entitled to handouts? This type of poverty mindset is a dangerous trap to fall into, almost like an addiction, because it can prevent you from reaching your highest potential. It’s important to recognize that this isn’t just about money; it also applies to favors, special treatment, and other entitlements.

When you feel entitled, it’s usually because you’ve confused need with want. Needs are things that are essential for your survival and growth, such as proper nutrition, education, and health care, while wants are non-essential items that provide pleasure. Such as TVs, vacations, and designer clothing. If you think you’re ‘owed’ something that doesn’t fall within your basic needs, it’s important to recognize this mindset and work on improving it.

Don't let fear keep you from making progress
Don’t let fear keep you from making progress.

5. Ignoring Financial Goals

Let’s be honest, setting aside money for retirement or other financial goals can feel like a total drag, but if you want to succeed financially, it’s essential that you set and pursue long-term goals. Thinking short-term and never planning ahead can be considered a poverty mindset example. While it’d be easier to just spend your money and “hope for the best” in the future, it won’t pay off.

6. Always Choosing the Cheapest Option

Always Choosing the Cheapest Option
Always Choosing the Cheapest Option

It’s important to be a wise spender, and when you’re budgeting, you may find yourself choosing the cheapest option in order to save some money. That’s okay to do sometimes, but when it becomes a habit, it can quickly become an example of a poverty mindset.

Cheap isn’t always better; sometimes it means sacrificing quality, so you need to be conscious of what you’re buying and why. Ask yourself whether it makes sense to buy something cheap that won’t last very long or something more expensive that will last longer.

Take a look at this list of questions to help decide:

  • How much value does this product offer?
  • Is this just a short-term solution for something more pressing?

7. Making Excuses for Poor Decisions

It’s understandable that we all make mistakes or have bad days or weeks. However, it’s important to recognize when we make a poor decision and own up to it. Excuses like “I was stressed and I couldn’t think straight” or “I was too tired to act responsibly” should be avoided and instead replaced with more productive behavior like taking responsibility for the mistake and taking steps to correct it.

Making excuses for poor decisions is a sign of a poor mindset because:

  • It demonstrates an unwillingness or inability to accept responsibility for our actions and outcomes.
  • It shows a lack of self-control as well as an unwillingness to take proactive measures to rectify mistakes.
  • It perpetuates negative behavior by failing to hold ourselves accountable for our own decisions and giving ourselves an excuse not to do better in the future.
Change won't happen overnight
Change won’t happen overnight.

8. Not Investing or Growing Money

One example of a poverty mindset you should avoid is not investing or growing money. It’s hard to build financial wealth if you don’t invest or grow your money. You should look for ways to put your money to work for you, like putting it into stocks or investing in a business.

Not only will this help you create wealth in the long term, but it can also help you build a cushion of security if you ever find yourself in an emergency financial situation. Even small investments can compound over time and eventually add up to big amounts if done properly and with the right strategy.

9. Being Resistant to Education and Growth Opportunities

Being Resistant to Education and Growth Opportunities
Being Resistant to Education and Growth Opportunities

It’s human nature to want to stick with what we know and feel comfortable with. When we break out of our comfort zone, however, the rewards can be great.

Growth opens doors, both literally and figuratively. Education is a form of growth that can unlock a world of possibilities. Pursuing higher education can provide you with new skills and knowledge as well as increased earning potential. Studies have consistently shown that individuals with college degrees earn more money over the course of their careers than those without degrees, even when controlling for other factors such as race and gender.

10. Feeling Helpless and Powerless About Your Financial Future

Do you ever find yourself feeling helpless and powerless when it comes to your financial future? If you do, know that you are not alone; many people feel this way.

It can be tempting to think that there’s nothing you can do to make changes in your future, but this isn’t true. Taking even small steps can make a big difference in your life.

  1. Create a financial plan.
  2. Spend Strategically
  3. Analyze your progress and modify as needed.

11. Neglecting Your Health Insurance Options

Neglecting Your Health Insurance Options
Neglecting Your Health Insurance Options

Another example of a poverty mindset to avoid is neglecting your health insurance options. If you’re uninsured and have a health issue, the medical bills can quickly pile up and become overwhelming. Many people overlook the importance of having health insurance and don’t realize how important it is until they need it.

Fortunately, there are several different ways you can get health insurance, such as through your employer, through government programs like Medicaid or Medicare, or by purchasing a policy on the open market. Understanding these options and taking advantage of them can help you save money on medical care in the long run and improve your overall financial security.

12. Refusing to Improve Your Circumstances

This could mean anything from choosing not to pursue educational opportunities to declining job offers that would bring in more income.

When it comes to improving your circumstances, taking action is key.

Improving your circumstances isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary if you want to get ahead and break out of poverty. Never be afraid to take a risk and make a change. Sometimes small steps can lead to big changes down the road.

13. Limited, scarcity-focused thinking

Limited, scarcity-focused thinking
Limited, scarcity-focused thinking

We all experience moments of self-doubt, but with poverty mindset examples like this one, it’s best to stay focused on abundance rather than scarcity. Limited, scarcity-focused thinking tells us that resources are scarce and there isn’t enough to go around. This type of thinking can lead to fear of failure, perfectionism, and the idea that “if I don’t get it right the first time, I won’t ever get it right.”

Scarcity-mentality also breeds comparison with others and a need to “keep up with the Joneses.” In other words, it perpetuates the idea that a person has to have certain possessions or do certain things in order to be “successful.” But the truth is that success looks different for everyone, and focusing on what others have can prevent a person from recognizing their own potential and gifts.

READ MORE – 31 Scarcity Mindset Examples: What Everybody Ought To Know

14. Avoiding Challenges and Failing to Plan Ahead

When faced with a difficult challenge, many people retreat and choose to ignore it rather than take on the issue. This can lead to missed opportunities and holding yourself back from reaching your goals, and it’s something you must actively avoid if you want to stay ahead.

You can start by planning for the future. Ask yourself what steps you need to take in order to reach your goals and create a timeline that incorporates deadlines and milestones. Knowing what you need to do today in order to get where you want to be tomorrow helps keep you motivated when the going gets tough.

Another helpful strategy is staying positive. It’s easy to let negativity creep into your head, but aiming for positivity can be a great way to keep yourself from getting stuck in an unproductive cycle. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem, and remind yourself how far you’ve come despite the challenges you are facing.

15. Self-Deprecation and Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem and self-deprecation are sadly all too common among people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Self-deprecation can make us lose sight of our own capabilities and talents, and it will hold us back from reaching our potential.

So what can we do to overcome this?

First, you should recognize any negative thoughts or feelings you have about yourself and challenge them with evidence that proves they aren’t true. You’re capable of achieving great things; focus on the positives instead of letting your negative perceptions of yourself rule your life.

embrace affirmations by verbally repeating empowering statements to help you gain self-confidence and love for yourself. Celebrate your successes, big or small. Because if you want to climb out of poverty and pursue a higher quality of life, believing in yourself is one of the most important things you can do.

we're all humans
we’re all humans

16. Refusing to Invest in Yourself

While there’s a lot to be said for saving and not spending recklessly, refusing to invest in yourself can lead to stagnation.

Here are some ways you can invest in yourself:

  • Read books or listen to podcasts that expand your knowledge base.
  • Take courses or attend seminars.
  • Invest in new tools that make your job easier.

Investing in yourself doesn’t necessarily mean spending large amounts of money; it’s about dedicating time and effort to learning, growing, and developing. This will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to succeed and reach your goals.

17. Procrastination and laziness

Procrastination and laziness
Procrastination and laziness

Procrastination is one of the most common poverty mindset examples to avoid. It frequently goes hand in hand with laziness, which can result in lost opportunities and a lack of advancement.

When you procrastinate and are lazy, it’s easy to miss deadlines, overlook opportunities, and put things off until it’s too late. And if you fall into this habit, it’s hard to get out of it.

Some tips for avoiding procrastination and laziness include:

  1. Break up big tasks into smaller, manageable chunks.
  2. Get rid of distractions like email and social media.
  3. Set small goals with specific deadlines.

Breaking the cycle of procrastination and laziness is key to developing a more positive mindset and avoiding poverty-based thinking that can hold you back in life.

18. Taking on unnecessary debt

It’s easy to get into debt when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. But taking on too much debt is a quick way to make your financial situation worse. Going into debt for things you don’t really need can lead to more financial hardship.

Some of the signs of a poverty mindset are taking on unnecessary debt and living above your means. By doing this, you’re essentially signing up for long-term payments that could cost you even more money in the end. Not only do you have to cover the loan or credit card balance, but there may also be additional interest and late fees that add up quickly.

Rather than accruing too much debt, look for ways to provide stability in your life without having to borrow money.

To make yourself more stable – Entrepreneurial Mindset Examples: 27 Traits of Entrepreneurs

19. Believing that money is evil or unimportant

Believing that money is evil or unimportant
Believing that money is evil or unimportant.

You might not think that your attitude about money and finances could have an impact on your life, but it’s actually very important to have a positive relationship with money. Believing that money is evil or unimportant is one example of a poverty mindset.

This mindset can be difficult to break, especially if you were raised to believe it. However, it’s important to recognize the power of money and how it can improve your life and help you make mistakes to reach your goals. Money can be used for good and create positive change in the world.

At its core, having a positive relationship with money allows you to make smart decisions about spending, saving, and investing. It also allows you to recognize opportunities for earning more income or building passive streams of income.

20. Not caring about financial education

Even if you have an inkling about how to manage money and get ahead, it can be easy to forget the importance of financial education.

But it’s key to remember that this type of education is just as important as traditional education, as it can open up a whole world of possibilities. It’s almost impossible to move forward in life without a basic understanding of how money works.

From budgeting your money to investing and tax planning, there are so many aspects of finance that you need to know in order to make wise decisions that will benefit you in the long run.

Plus, having financial literacy is also essential for managing debt wisely and staying on top of your finances, both of which can help you avoid ending up in a bad situation.

21. Difficulty Accepting Success

Difficulty Accepting Success
Difficulty Accepting Success

This arises from a subconscious feeling of unworthiness. Someone who can’t cope with their successes might feel like they “don’t deserve” the success or feel like it was “too easy” to achieve. They might even feel guilty for achieving something that others haven’t or think it’s inappropriate for them to enjoy their achievements. This kind of poverty mindset prevents people from moving forward and building on the successes already achieved.

As with other instances of a poverty mindset, you can overcome this frame of mind, too. A good place to start is by learning how to be comfortable with accomplishments and embracing the joy associated with them. Take time to recognize your accomplishments as you celebrate victories both big and small. In addition to encouraging positivity and self-confidence, celebrating achievements also helps people stay positive and avoid a poverty mindset.

22. An Entitlement Mentality

This is when you feel like you deserve certain luxuries and privileges without having to put in any effort or work. It’s a core belief that you should be able to get what you want without having to earn it.

You could think of it as a belief that things are somehow owed to you, like money, recognition, or respect. This thinking can lead to anger and frustration when the desired result isn’t met and a sense of entitlement when it is.

But here’s the thing: we all have to work hard for what we want in life. That’s just the way it is. And if that work involves being kind, compassionate, and generous to others, then even better.

23. “There’s Not Enough” Mentality

There’s Not Enough Mentality
There’s Not Enough Mentality

Have you ever heard yourself say something like, “There’s not enough”? If you have, you have adopted a poverty mindset, and it is time to break that habit.

When we feel like there’s not enough, it can lead to feelings of scarcity around money. Whether it’s in your head or in reality, these thoughts can be toxic and will prevent you from achieving financial stability and beyond. The idea of “not having enough” will stop any progress right in its tracks, so it’s important to identify the signs and adjust your thoughts accordingly.

Here are a few examples of how this thought pattern may manifest:

  • saying that there isn’t enough time in the day
  • Believing that “someone else is going to get ahead of me.”
  • Thinking there isn’t enough money to pay for something

Breaking these types of thoughts is essential for developing an abundance mentality, which is the belief that all of your needs can be met and that there is something for everyone out there. And remember, these mental blocks can take time to break down, but with practice, they will become easier each day.

REFREAME YOUR MINDSET to – 30 Abundance Mindset Examples: Practice Abundance Now

24. Being too risk-averse

This means being afraid to take any risks, even ones that could improve your life. This can be a tricky trap to get out of because it’s easy to get stuck in the mindset of always taking the safest route.

But avoiding risks can rob you of the opportunity to really grow, both personally and financially. Put simply, taking risks can open up new possibilities and opportunities for you.

The key here is knowing when to take a risk and when not to. This means doing your research before you make a big decision, weighing the pros and cons, and assessing how likely you are to get a return on your investment if something doesn’t work out.

When you do choose to take a risk, try not to be too extreme about it. Start small until you’re more comfortable taking bigger ones. Don’t forget that even minor setbacks can pave the way for greater success later on.

25. Blaming external circumstances

Blaming external circumstances
Blaming external circumstances

If you adopt a poverty mindset, you’ll probably blame external factors for your current financial situation. Instead of putting you in a position to consider what you can do to bring about positive change, this mental attitude places you in a victim role.

For example, thinking something like “I’m always going to be poor because I was born into this socioeconomic class” is an example of blaming external circumstances and resigning yourself to a lifetime of financial hardship.

This mindset may also cause you to harbor feelings of envy for the wealthy, thinking that their success and wealth are solely the result of luck or fortunate circumstances. Believing in such thought patterns reinforces the negative notion that wealth and prosperity are unattainable for those who feel they were born “unlucky.”

26. Thinking You Can’t Network

Networking is all about meeting people, exchanging knowledge, and helping each other out. It doesn’t always have to involve asking for something; instead, focus on how you can give to others and build meaningful relationships. Believe in yourself and invest your time in getting to know people who share your vision and values.

Reach out to mentors in the business, industry, or field that you are interested in, join professional organizations, and attend events. These are all great ways to make connections and build long-term relationships.


In conclusion, it’s important to be mindful of the poverty mindset. Avoid thinking in terms of “I can’t afford it” and try to reframe your negative thoughts. No matter your past or present financial situation, have faith in your ability to succeed. Understanding the poverty mindset can help you be more aware of the beliefs you have about money and finances. With practice, you can learn to change those beliefs into something more empowering and positive. When you do, you can start to create more abundance and financial freedom in your life.


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