On my way out of the bank this morning, I picked up several deposit slips. As I walked back to my car, I suddenly remembered that a friend once jokingly pointed out that a sign of prosperity is using up your deposit slips before using up your check blanks.

Quaint, huh? In this day of online banking and virtual commerce, we don’t need to ever have direct contact with currency. Advertisers and credit card companies have done a brilliant job of making money an abstract concept.

Unfortunately, too many of us have failed to realize what a disservice we’re doing to ourselves by keeping away from direct contact. Consider, however, that advisors who help people get out of debt are quick to recommend destroying credit cards and only spending cash.

During the days when I began to deal with my own poverty consciousness, I read some advice from Sondra Ray that dramatically demonstrated the power of personal contact.Ray suggested that a way to remove negative thoughts about money was to procure a $100 bill and carry it with you. The other part of this exercise is that you’re only allowed to spend it if you can immediately replace it.

Doing so seemed both bold and scary to me at the time, but I also understood the rationale behind it. As Ray points out, when you are about to spend your last small bill and go to remove it from your wallet, you’ll see the $100 next to it and your thought is more apt to be, “I have plenty,” rather than, “I don’t have any money.”

I’ve never been without a $100 bill since. I’ve also never had the stress and despair that haunted me in earlier times in relationship to money.

Although I frequently tell audiences that self-employment is where we come to make peace with money, I also know that this is a foreign concept for those of us who inherited all sorts of unhealthy beliefs about the stuff.

It seems to me that we’re about as clueless about money as the Victorians were about sex. I also suggest that having a healthy attitude about money is a do-it-yourself project.

A fine starting point for that comes from Charles Handy in his book The Hungry Spirit.

He writes, “In most of life we can recognize ‘enough.’ We know when we have had enough to eat, when the heating or air conditioning is enough, when we have enough sleep or done enough preparation.

“More than enough is then unnecessary and can even be counterproductive. Those who do not know what is enough, cannot move on. they do not explore new worlds, they do not learn.

“They are trapped in a rut of their own success, always wanting more of the same, always dissatisfied, never knowing the feeling of abundance.”

Handy goes on to talk about how vital it is for self-employed people, which he and his wife both are, to determine what enough means. He points out that this does not mean scrimping and just getting by.

It also doesn’t mean accepting anyone else’s definition of enough. (Millionaire status? Six-figure income? Says who?)

It starts with a clear vision of what you want your life to be like, what matters most to you. It’s understanding what Alan Cohen meant when he said, “Money should be the servant of your visions, not the master.”

What does Money Ease really mean to you?  Once you sincerely figure that out, the Money Dragons will vanish.

It may not be easy, but it’s so worth it.

Shortly after I met Chris Utterback, I was having a difficult day loaded with disappointments. I decided to see if my new friend could cheer me up so I gave her a call.

When she answered the phone, I said, “This is Barbara. Make me laugh.”

To my amazement, she calmly replied, “Let me get my cartoon folder.”

When she returned to the phone, I said, “You keep a folder of cartoons?” She admitted that she had done so for quite some time and had a fine collection.

I loved that idea and promptly started one of my own which I labeled Make Me Laugh. Whenever my spirits drooped, I knew exactly where to go to get a boost.

Several months later, Chris called  to share a Ziggy cartoon that had her giggling. The punch line was, “My definition of prosperity is a checking account with commas.” I loved it, too, and that became a new target.

A checking account with commas. At the time, it seemed a far off goal, a big stretch, but in less than a year, my checking account regularly sported a comma.

So today I’m suggesting that prosperity may be easier to achieve when we lighten up a bit. Fussing and fretting about a sluggish cash flow has never, ever fixed the problem for me.

On the other hand, going for the comma has produced stellar results.

As has the reminder from Moneylove author Jerry Gilles who taught me that anything worth having is worth having fun getting.

Much of Sunday was spent playing with my grandchildren. Their parents had a long overdue weekend away and I wanted to help out the lovely young babysitting couple who were beginning to look a bit bedraggled.

Four-year-old Zachy and I spent the better part of an hour playing with Legos. When he lost interest in building a Space Age helicopter, I began picking up the hundreds of tiny pieces that were hiding in the shag rug.

Zachy left the room, When he returned a few minutes later, he declared, “I own you.”

I laughed and said, “What do you mean?” Zachy, who is frequently the most earnest kid I’ve ever met, explained that since I was doing all the work, he needed to pay me.

“Oh,” I said, “you mean you owe me, not own me.”

I asked what he planned to pay me. He had already figured that out.

He left the room and returned with the ziplock bag that serves as his piggy bank. “I’m giving you some of my Chuck E. Cheese tickets,” he proudly announced.

“Hmmm, I’m not really a big fan,” I said. He wondered why. “Well, I don’t like their pizza,” I explained (but avoided adding that I wasn’t crazy about the noisy atmosphere either).

That did not deter him. “You don’t have to get pizza,” he said. “You can use these tickets for the games.” His eyes lit up at the thought of all the fun he was offering me.

I thanked him and took the tickets which I returned to the ziplock bag later.

As so often happens, Zachy got me thinking. I had already decided to spend this month writing about money on this blog, but after this little encounter I realized that so many people are owned by money.

The good news is (as I’ve been pointing out for years) that self-employment is where we come to develop a healthy relationship with money. For most of us, that’s a lifelong project that involves challenging years of negative money messages.

While I’m not about to challenge Suze Orman to a debate, I am going to spend this month sharing ways that you can create abundance, prosperity and ease in the financial area of your life.

And I promise that you’ll never hear me use the popular expression, “in this tough economy.” Prosperity thinking is much bigger than that fear-filled slogan.

As Coco Chanel reminds us, “There are people who have money and people who are rich.” I’m thinking we can be both.


Here’s a money smart idea. Join Terri Belford and me for the upcoming Obstacle- Busters Mastermind on September 14-16 in enchanting Albuquerque. Register before July 15 and you’ll save $100 on your enrollment.


Shortly before it was time for me to come home from Austin on Sunday, my daughter Jennie and her 5-year-old daughter Zoe began going through Zoe’s things picking out items for next weekend’s garage sale. There were outgrown clothes, last year’s Halloween costume plus toys and books that weren’t being passed down to Zoe’s baby brother. By the time they finished, they had a formidable pile.


Zoe was inspired by hearing that her mother had once organized a garage sale when she was a kid who wanted to finance a trip to Disneyland. Zoe, too, has a specific project in mind and also plans to give part of her earnings to a cause she deems worthy.


What Zoe’s learning is something successful entrepreneurs have discovered for themselves and do all the time. The process goes something like this: 1) decide what you want to do or have, 2) determine what it will cost, 3) create a project to fund it. It’s a simple idea that’s quite foreign to the more conventional way salaried employees operate.  Shrinking your dreams to fit your budget may seem logical, but it’s a recipe for dullness. 


For most of us, becoming joyfully jobless requires that we examine our relationship to money and make a concerted effort to develop healthy attitudes and behaviors. Unlearning the scarcity thoughts of our elders, being willing to accept money for having fun with our work and a myriad of other unhelpful thoughts can keep us from moving ahead with our businesses and creating a life of abundance. Every dreambuilder gets ample opportunites to discard old approaches to money.


On my flight home from Austin, I saw another big example of what I’m talking about. I’m rereading Bill Strickland’s astonishing story, Make the Impossible Possible, and came across the story of how he financed his flying lessons in order to fulfill his dreams of becoming a flight engineer. He’d already gotten his private pilot’s license, but earning his commercial license was going to cost $50,000, an enormous sum for someone running an inner city arts’ program. 


Strickland writes that one night after leaving the flight school, he noticed a Beech Sundowner in a hangar with an “Airplane for Sale” sign on it. He writes, “As I looked it over an outrageous possibility occurred to me. When I got home, I called about the Sundowner. The asking price was $50,000. It struck me that my flight school might need another plane for training, so I called and asked the owner if he’d be interested in leasing a plane from me. The next day, I took his willingness to the bank—literally, I told the loan officer I wanted to buy an airplane, then lease it back to the flight school for a monthly fee that would cover my loan payments…Then I used the plane, when it wasn’t being rented out, to accumulate the flight time I needed. The flight school maintained the plane, and the money from the lease paid back my loan. My only expense was the cost of fuel.”


This month we’re exploring a new theme: Making Peace With Money. It’s a challenge that comes to all of us, but not everyone meets it with grace and poise. I’ll be sharing thoughts about this emotionally charged subject all month long. Hope you’ll visit often.