Scarcity mentality often stems from negative early-life experiences and messages surrounding money and success. As adults, people who develop scarcity mentalities often spend money as soon as they get it, fearing the opportunity to buy the things they want won’t come again. It also inspires resentment toward other people’s success.
I was a classic scarcity thinker. Growing up, I attended a private school where many of my classmates were wealthier than I was, but I always said I didn’t care about money. Experiences were more important than cash, so I spent whatever money came my way as soon as I got it. Allowance, birthday gifts, tips from my first waitressing job—all of it was gone almost instantly. When I turned 18 and got my first credit cards, I adopted a devil-may-care attitude toward debt and developed a frenetic, adversarial relationship with money instead of a healthy framework for dealing with finances. Life is short, so I should enjoy it now instead of worrying about saving, I reasoned.