How to Change Your Money Mindset with Paco de Leon – EP 374

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What song has stuck in your head ever since you heard it for the first time? What if we told you how you think about finance is just like that song? In this episode, Jen and Jill break down ways to change your money mindset so you can stick with your financial goals, together with Paco de Leon’s fantastic financial advice. This episode isn’t just a chat; it’s an encouragement to create a fresh tune that aligns with your goals and guides you towards financial well-being.

Focus on things within your control. You will have control over different things in different seasons.

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Paco de Leon is an author, illustrator of Finance for the People and host of the podcast, Weird Finance. She is the founder of The Hell Yeah Group, a financial firm dedicated to inspiring creatives to engage with their personal and business finances, and Hell Yeah, Bookkeeping, a bookkeeping agency for creative businesses. Her career experiences in banking, business consulting, financial planning, and wealth management have informed her financial philosophies. She is a TED speaker and her work has been published or featured in The New York Times, Bloomberg, Vice, TIME, on other publications, and on NPR.

The Song Stuck In Your Head

Paco thinks the song that’s stuck in your head is synonymous with our money mindsets. We sometimes pick up songs we did not actively seek out to listen to—it just happens! For instance, ordinary people believe we cannot go or afford a vacation, or we have to be hardworking as it is the only way to make money in the world. These are the “songs” we allow to stick with us, generally from your upbringing, the media, or society at large. While your beliefs and mindset are not the only things impacting your financial reality, it’s a big aspect of our personhood that you have control over.

Circle of Control

The Circle of Control is a concept originally presented by Stephen Covey, which he referenced in his book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It’s an exercise or a way for you to look at all the things happening in the world. Paco breaks it down into three categories: things you can control, things you can influence, and things you greatly care about but cannot change. For instance, Paco cares about interest rates, the stock market, and the global recession, but there really is nothing she can do to impact those things. Even though we live in uncertain times or there’s so much outside our control, try shifting your focus to where you can take action to help you feel a lot less worried about your finances.

Jen and Jill recommend drawing it out, just like in this illustration on Paco’s blog. It requires you to take a moment, check up on yourself, and put it on paper—recognizing and honoring the world’s uncertainty—to reorient ourselves to other things.

Knowing Where You Leverage

Paco identifies as a “lazy person,” which her friends hate because, externally, she has a lot of output (podcasts, illustrations, books, etc.). All of that is in service of being lazy; the other side of the coin is that she’s energy efficient or frugal with her time, energy, and resources. Understanding what you can do that will move the needle the most should be the first thing you can do to get a grip. A lot of entrepreneurs talk about the “Pareto Principle” (80% of your outcomes are going to be a result of 20% of your efforts). So if you think about what you can do or leverage your energy to have the most impact, it’s going to be the most sustainable way to manage our finances rather than spinning the wheels with everything the media is putting upon us.

Money in Side Hustles

Paco is the biggest champion when it comes to creative professionals, freelancers, or people flirting with self-employment. But before Paco, Frugal Friends, and other known finance podcasters even had a platform, the message within the industry was entirely different. It’s mostly making people believe the world of money is only for a certain number of people. To us, it is for you! There are so many people who can help you understand different facets of the world of finance. You can learn everything you need to learn about managing your income, saving money for taxes, first steps in personal finance, and setting up bank accounts—all of that is out there for you. It’s all about understanding what direction you want to go in and figuring out how you’re going to take those steps.

What's the weirdest money advice you’ve ever been told?

  • Paco: Get a secure job and everything will be okay.
  • Jill: An advice that from a rich group of people that is essentially a tax fraud (evading taxes).
  • Jen: Compound interest. It’s weird but Jill loves it.

Bill of The Week

Thank you Paco for sharing your bill about a 6’7” elderly man!

Thanks so Much for Listening!

Thanks so much for listening. Many of you know we have a newsletter called “The Friendletter” that goes out 3x a week where we send out freebies, saving tips, and life hacks to help you save money. We want to give a shout out to this friend for replying to us this sweet email:


I don’t even know if you guys see these responses but if you do I want you both to know HOW wonderful this email is. All your emails are wonderful but THIS. You shared the most important message, and succinctly told us how to do it. I have read whole books on boundaries that didn’t get to the point like this email. Thank you so very much. You do so much good not just for our bank accounts but for our mental and emotional health. Blessings to you both!

Thanks for listening if you want freebies, saving tips, and values-based spending hacks sent to your inbox every week head to frugalfriendspodcast.com/friendletter to get the goodies! And if you already get the friendletter start sharing it with your friends to get more free goodies!

And don’t forget to share your favorite quote from the episode by using the hashtag #FrugalFriendsNote. 😉

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