Can Gratitude Make You Rich?

The connection between gratitude and financial success, and how to practice gratitude.

Key Takeaways

It’s the season for gratitude, and everyone’s thinking about the things in life that they’re thankful for. Family, friends, good health…those are all important things to reflect upon. But what about your finances?

While it’s true that there are more important things in life than money, developing a mindset of gratitude around your financial health can be a game-changer.

What is the connection between gratitude and financial success?

Gratitude is actually scientifically proven to promote better financial wellbeing. Here are some key findings from an in-depth study on the connection between gratitude and money: 

75 participants were divided into three groups. One group spent five minutes writing about an experience that made them feel grateful. The second wrote about something that made them happy, and the third wrote about the events of a typical day in their lives.

In the next part of the study, they were given choices on whether to get less cash immediately or more cash in the future. The group that practiced gratitude exhibited more financial patience, meaning they were less likely to take less money in the short term rather than more money long-term.

This is important because so much of financial success is about making long-term decisions rather than acting on short-term desires. Here are some examples:

  • Making a purchase with a credit card instead of saving up and buying the item later
  • Impulsive spending on items you want but don’t need
  • Missing opportunities to invest money in favor of keeping cash on hand now
  • Taking out high-interest loans instead of taking time to build credit and reduce interest costs
  • Working part time while getting a college degree (to secure a higher-paying job later in life) rather than taking a full-time job with lower salary potential

These things may seem like a no-brainer, but the truth is that our brains are hard-wired for immediate payoff. While this opportunistic mindset can help us seize temporary opportunities, it can also mean we forgo bigger rewards that require more patience.

How does gratitude change our money habits?

There are a few theories about why a thankful mindset leads to better financial health:

You can make wiser decisions when you’re happy with what you already have

If you feel comfortable and confident in your current financial state, you’re less likely to make decisions based on your immediate situation.

Being grateful for what you have means you’ll avoid some of life’s more costly impulses, like overspending to “keep up with the Joneses,” and treating yourself to purchases that don’t bring long-term benefits (like expensive gadgets, clothing, or accessories).

Instead, you’ll be able to invest your money, or save up for something meaningful (like a vacation with your family).

You’ll focus more on your priorities

Ask a typical person what their priorities are and you’ll hear responses like “time with family,” “enjoying my hobbies” or “supporting causes I believe in.” But does the typical person’s spending habits align with these priorities? Not always. 

By making gratitude a regular part of your day, you’ll frequently affirm and re-center your priorities. As a result, you can make decisions around the things that are REALLY important to you, rather than the things that bring temporary feelings of happiness or satisfaction. 

You’ll ditch the “scarcity mindset”

A scarcity mindset, also called a scarcity mentality, can be defined as “an obsession with what you DON’T have.” It’s often marked by pervasive, nagging thoughts and feelings of not having enough money or resources.

For many, the scarcity mindset has very understandable roots: growing up in poverty, frequent loss of income or housing, and other forms of financial trauma can lead someone to question their security even when things are relatively stable.

While sometimes it takes professional help to work through financial trauma, cultivating gratitude is one “DIY” method of growing into a more abundant mindset.

How to practice gratitude

Gratitude is like a muscle—it will grow stronger if you exercise it regularly. Here are three great ways to practice gratitude:

  1. Start your day with gratitude

When you wake up in the morning, think of a few things you’re grateful for. Doing this will help you set the tone for the day ahead. You’ll find yourself looking forward to things you might normally take for granted, and you’ll be able to weather bumps in the road with your sights set on the positive things in life.

  1. Use a gratitude journal

There are many benefits to journaling, but journaling regularly about your gratitudes is particularly potent. Grab a notebook and pen and jot down what you’re thankful for. This can be especially helpful in difficult situations, where focusing on the positive can help you decrease your anxiety and focus on solutions.

  1. Say thank you

Spread the love with a heartfelt expression of gratitude, and the feelings will come right back around. Take a moment to say thank you for anything, big or small, present or past. The person on the receiving end is sure to have a better day. But secretly, this method is a little selfish—when you make others feel great, you’ll feel great yourself.

The best part is, none of these suggestions take much time! Consistency is key. A little each day will have you shifting into a more grateful mindset, and a more financially abundant future.

Making financial decisions from a place of gratitude

One theme is clear in the relationship between gratitude and financial success: gratitude helps you make better decisions about your future. A better financial future involves decisions like avoiding overspending, saving money, and thinking long-term. 

Gratitude, in this context, could even affect your credit score. 

While there are some ways to speed up the process of building credit, some key credit factors can’t be rushed. Credit age (calculated using the opening date of your oldest credit account) and payment history (based on the number of on-time payments you’ve made on loans and lines of credit) require some time and patience to cultivate.

Plus, it’s much easier to overspend on your credit card than it is to carefully build a credit score that qualifies you for a mortgage in years to come.

That’s what makes StellarFi the perfect companion to your gratitude-mindset-makeover.

StellarFi helps you build credit without a credit card or loan

StellarFi is a unique way to build credit just by paying your existing bills, like rent, utilities or streaming services:

  • Step 1: Create your account and view your credit report and credit score, for free.
  • Step 2: Activate your credit builder by choosing an affordable membership plan and connecting your bank account
  • Step 3: Link your bills by replacing your current bill payment method with your StellarFi Virtual Bill Payment Card numbers. 
  • Step 4: Any monthly bill paid using your StellarFi card will contribute to your credit as we report on-time payments to all three major credit bureaus
  • Step 5: Each payment is withdrawn from your bank account, so your bills are automated and paid on time

Get your free credit report and credit score today!


StellarFi (StellarFinance, Inc.) and its affiliates do not provide financial, tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own financial, tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. StellarFi receives a referral fee from the partners mentioned in this article.