How To Navigate Money Triggers Without Self Judgment

Money Files

Money circumstances can happen at any time. Things like overdraft fees, missed payments, or unexpected credit card bills can be money triggers. At lower salary levels, these circumstances are normalized, but as you grow your income, it is scary to experience something that feels like a step backwards in your money journey.

I want you to feel empowered to handle money triggers in both your business and personal finances. In this episode, I am equipping you with tools so that you know what to do when you get a big credit card statement or have a bad month in your business. Fear is paralyzing and it keeps you from making changes and continuing with your financial plan. I will help you manage self-talk to overcome self doubt and money insecurities. 

My goal is to help you experience money differently and become confident enough in your ability to manage money that triggers don’t bother you anymore. I encourage you to look at your spending without judgment and logically analyze how you got to the place you are in with money. These tools will support your future self in achieving stability and confidence with your finances.

In this episode, answer these questions…

[00:12:32] What are my money triggers? What are the things that make you feel insecure when it comes to your finances?

[00:13:15] How do I want to handle my money triggers? What is going to be your first response?

[00:13:36] How will you manage yourself when you experience a trigger?

Tune in to this episode of Money Files to move through shame and fear caused by money triggers and create a plan that confidently manages your finances.

Are you ready to start asking for help with your finances? Apply to work with me, and let’s start working towards your financial goals.


Transcript for “How to Navigate Money Triggers Without Self Judgment”

Hi, and welcome to Money Files. I’m Keina Newell from Wealth Over Now. I work every day with professional women and solopreneurs to help them get out of financial overwhelm and shame so they can experience more flexibility and ease with their finances. Are you ready to gain confidence and learn to manage your finances intentionally? Tune in and grab financial tips that will help you master the way you think about and manage your finances.

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Money Files. Before we get started today, I want to make sure that you are signed up for my Money Class, three keys to drama free spending. It is Wednesday, February 15th at 12:30 PM Eastern Standard Time. So if you go to the show notes, you can find the link to sign up for this one hour money class. We’re going to be talking about the three keys that you need to build a financial system that will allow you to spend money drama free. So if you’re a six figure earner and you’re like, yes girl, I need to spend money this year drama free because I work too hard not to be able to spend my money. And really being able to help support and shift you out of a scarcity mindset about how you don’t want to feel like you can’t spend your money because you make really good money.

And I want you to actually be able to experience the freedom and control that you desire most. So go to the show notes, join me for one hour, February 15th at 12:30 PM Eastern Standard Time for this money class. If you aren’t opening up the show notes and you just want to type it into your browser real quick, you can go to and you’ll find all of the information to sign up there and I will see you tomorrow. 

So today on the podcast, I want to talk about money triggers. So, I can guarantee you are at a place that is different than any other place you’ve been before. You are making more money than you ever have before, but I want to talk about what happens for you in the space that you’re in right now. If you see an overdraft fee, what happens if you have an unexpected credit card balance? What happens if you have a bill that you didn’t expect to pay? Or what happens if you forget to make a payment? All of these things can happen to you, whether we’re talking about personal finances or we’re talking about business finances. And what I notice with my clients especially is that the overdraft fees, the unexpected credit card balance, a bill that they didn’t expect, forgetting to make a payment. Those are all just different circumstances that happen, but with the circumstance. 

So like I drew actually, when I was writing this podcast, I drew it on a piece of paper, I’m very visual and I drew like a T chart. And on the right side I wrote out all of the money circumstances. And then on the left side I put income. So any of those things, an overdraft fee, unexpected credit card balance, a bill you didn’t expect, forgetting to make a payment. Any of those things can happen regardless of your income. But generally what happens is that you normalize those circumstances happening when you’re making $24,000 a year or $60,000 a year or $80,000 a year, those things happening become like lived experiences and overdraft fee, credit card balance that’s unexpected. Those become like your lived experience and you’ve started to normalize that of course, in the red I only make $60,000 a year and that’s the way that you’ve always lived. 

But then as your income rises, so now you’re making $160,000 a year and it can be really triggering for you if you have an overdraft fee because your mind goes back to that time when you were only making $30,000 a year and it creates a feeling within your body where you feel really unsafe. You feel a lot of shame, you feel a lot of guilt, and you start telling yourself a story about how you shouldn’t be here because you make way too much money. And so that’s what I want to talk about today is like how you can be triggered by different experiences that happen with your finances and the feelings that that can generate within your body where you start to feel really insecure or you start to feel shame, you start to feel guilt, you start to feel overwhelmed. 

And if you are in touch with your body, you might recognize that you have a pit in your stomach and that’s like how you respond. Or like your shoulders might feel really heavy and your brain starts to replay past experiences based off of this money circumstance that’s in front of you. And when I was writing this podcast for you guys, I was thinking about basically your brain starts to replay old episodes for you. Like if you think about your past experiences with money, your brain pulls out like version 1.0. Do you remember this time? And so it’s pulling out, and that time could be from your childhood, it could be from your early twenties, it could maybe even be from last week. But your brain starts to pull out this replay and it’s telling you like, it’s not safe to be here. We need to respond. We need to react. 

But today I want to help you really think about how can you identify these money triggers? How can you work through the money triggers? Because what I know is that your lived experience is impacting your financial self-concept. And so when I’m talking about financial self-concept, it’s impacting the way that you view yourself or want desire to view yourself and how you manage money. So it’s important to know your money triggers. It’s important to know how to respond to your money triggers so you can continue whatever financial journey that you’re on. Maybe you’re like, a multiple six-figure earner in your business. I want you to be able to continue that journey. Maybe you just signed a new offer as a nine-to-five employee and you’re making $180,000 a year. Like I want to keep you on the path where you’re continuing to make money, where you’re continuing to be successful, where you’re continuing to change the generational narrative for your family for this moment in time. 

And I don’t want a money trigger to put you on the sidelines and have you sitting on the curb like all in your feelings and thinking that you can’t do this because that’s just not true. Any one of those things that has happened, any one of your triggers that has happened to you, that is a moment in time and you get to decide how you finish the story. And so I want you to feel very empowered and I want you to feel like no, that may have happened but here’s how the story ends. Here’s the chapters, here’s the sentences, here’s the paragraphs that I’m going to continue writing from this point forward. So I just want to give you an example because I want to equip you with the tools to know, for you to be able to say like, oh my goodness, I know exactly what’s going on right now. 

So let me give you an example. Say that you’re making $200,000, like that is your current situation. And in the past when you were in college, you had signed up for credit cards, you got all the free t-shirts, you got the free water bottles, all the things, and you were just swiping, swiping, swiping and you were swiping all the cards. You didn’t realize that that money you actually need to pay back because nobody ever told you. They just presented it as though, look, here’s free money. So what happened was is is you were in a lot of debt. You didn’t realize that like credit score was something that you possibly wanted to use later to get an apartment or to buy a car. You didn’t know that but you were in a lot of debt and you told yourself like, I’m never going to get back into that place. You’ve paid off the debt your credit score is improved. But recently you started using credit cards again. 

You want to use credit cards because you’ve been hearing about how you can get cash back. You’ve been hearing about how you can get points and you also just want to use credit cards because you’re thinking about like, wow, I have more security when I’m going to pay for things like the fraud protection is important to me versus using cash or using a debit card. So that’s an added benefit of me being able to use credit cards. Well last month you see your credit card balance and it’s higher than you expected it to be. It’s like $8,000 and you start feeling shame and you’re really disappointed in yourself. I just like want you to imagine that situation. 

And so you have this emotional, what I’m calling like an emotional swing that takes you back to that 1.0 version of yourself and you’re in college, you realize that you have all of this debt and you don’t know how you’re going to pay it off. Like that’s what your brain is now going towards because you have this $8,000 credit card bill and you start to play this narrative in your head where you’re like, it’s happening again. You said this wouldn’t happened again. And you start to just feel this overwhelming sense of shame. You start to experience fear. And so you’re like paralyzed. You don’t know what to do. And the way that you handle this situation is you start saying, okay, listen, I’m getting ready to only take out cash. I’m only going to use my debit card. I’m going to pay this balance off in full. This is never happening again. 

Like you go back in and you lean into the fact that this is never going to happen again. I’m going to protect myself from this ever happening. So you have like your list of actions that you’re going to take. And yes, you pay off the debt. You pay off the debt. But what happens is you aren’t nurturing the financial self-concept that you actually desire to build. You want to be someone who identifies with knowing how to manage their money well, you want to feel like you can actually use credit cards responsibly. But when you have that one circumstance, you go and attach it to the college version of yourself or that former version of yourself. And that version could be as old as even the version of you last week instead of attaching it to the version of yourself that you are today. 

And the harm in that is that can keep you from making changes that you actually want to see. And it can keep you scared and it can keep you stuck because of how you’re identifying what that means about you, what it means about how you manage money. Because what you actually want to be doing is going into this forward movement where you’re not scared of managing any amount of money, you’re not scared of making investments in yourself. You’re not scared to take on debt because you know you can pay it off. And so you want to experience money differently and you want to be able to feel at ease. You want to feel calm, you want to feel powerful, you want to feel confident. 

So you might be thinking like, Keina, what am I supposed to do in a situation like that? Because yes, there are things that have happened to me that are happening to me that cause me to freeze because that’s the known response that I am most familiar with instead of being able to like move through this moment. So there are a couple of things. One, I want you to know that there’s going to be the moment where you’re in the midst of this trigger and there’s one way of responding. But right now I don’t know what’s happening for you right now today. Maybe you’re not in a trigger moment, which is a great time to do this next exercise that I’m going to tell you about. And to ask yourself these questions, first I want you to ask yourself what are my money triggers? So maybe you want to do that t-chart that I just was showing you about. 

Like on one side you can think about your money circumstances or money triggers. What are the things that make you feel like insecure when it comes to your finances? And you can bring up past experiences. Maybe it’s the overdraft fee, maybe it’s getting that reminder that you forgot to pay a bill or having to swipe your credit card because you forgot that you had this expense coming up and you didn’t appropriately plan for it. But like write down a list of your money triggers. That’s the first thing I want you to do. Asking yourself what are my money triggers? The next thing I want you to ask yourself is like, how do I want to handle my money triggers?

So just think about that, like how do you want to handle your money triggers? What is going to be your first response? What’s the first thing you want to think when something happens? The third question I want you to answer, it’s a version of the second question, but with a little bit more detail. How will you manage your self-talk when you experience a trigger? So like in the case of the $200,000 earner with the $8,000 credit card debt, right? Like your self-talk can be, oh, this makes sense. I know that last month I had to pay a $4,000 bill for an HVAC, or I know that I can manage this situation like calmly. This one situation doesn’t mean anything about me. So just thinking about those affirmations that maybe you want to bring into that moment about how you think about money, about how you desire about money.

So you take that negative charge on yourself and your financial self-concept. So how do you want to manage yourself when you experience a trigger? And then the fourth thing that I want you to ask yourself, it’s like why am I safe here? And this is going to be a great question to ask yourself when you’re actually in the midst of that circumstance that’s happening. So asking yourself like, why am I safe? And in the case of the difference in between being a 200 k earner and a $30,000 a year earner is like, it could just be the fact that you know that you have more money than you ever have. It could be the fact that you’re safe because you’re like, okay, I actually know that I have a plan that I can pay off the debt. And then the fifth thing that I want you to ask yourself is what plan do I want to make moving forward that supports who I’m becoming?

I think that’s the most important question to ask yourself. What plan do I want to make moving forward that supports who I’m becoming? So if I were in that situation and I’m looking at this credit card debt and I’m thinking about how I’m making multiple six figures and it’s like, oh my goodness how I’m not here, right? I might sit down and write myself a plan to say, alright, the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to look at my credit cards, I’m going to look at the past two statements. I don’t need to be scared of the past two statements. So I’m like talking to myself about the fact that I don’t need to be scared to look at my statements. They’re going to help me understand what I want to do moving forward. And so I’m going to look at the statements I’m going to look for like, oh, okay, here are my normal expenses that I put on the credit card. That makes total sense. 

Alright, now let me go through and I’m going to look for my unexpected expenses. Oh, I like bought that plane ticket. That makes sense. I had to get my tires fixed and I wasn’t quite prepared for that. That makes sense. Let me actually look and see where my emotions were at play, right? Like, oh, I have a couple of purchases here that I see I made in the middle of the night because I was on Instagram. Alright, those are $300 purchases. That makes sense. But like being able to go in and look at what’s happening without a sense of judgment because when you go in with that level of like curiosity and not judging yourself, you are going to come out on top, I promise. And you’re going to be able to incorporate these things into your plan, normalize the fact that things happen while you’re managing your money.

That is just a fact. It’s okay. You don’t have to make it mean anything about you and where you are because you’re on version like 6.0 of yourself. You’re not on version 1.0, no matter when you started or where you started. So first, like I said, I would look at my credit cards. Then what I would do is like maybe think about, okay, what expenses are in my plan? So I’m like, alright, these expenses are normally in my plan. Like when I told you like, okay, I went back at my statements and I looked like these were expected. And then when I start to look at the unexpected expenses, maybe it’s something that I had to pay for my car, or maybe it’s the plane ticket. Like I’m going to look and see like do I actually have those expenses in my spending plan, in my budget?

Oh, I don’t have some of those expenses in my spending plan or in my budget. Let me actually start to incorporate those so I get a clearer picture of how I desire to spend money. Because maybe you’ve just only been paying to like paying attention to the bills that you pay each month. So now you’re starting to incorporate other things that are also important to you. And I get to do this from a judgment-free place. So you’re asking yourself like what expenses are in my plan? Then you are asking yourself like, what expenses do I want to include in my plan? So you’re thinking about where you want to go moving forward. Remember I’m saying you get to write the story from this point that one moment in time doesn’t have to mean a single thing about you. And then identify like what are my next steps that I want to take?

So maybe you want to try giving yourself a weekly allowance so you have permission to spend on things that you enjoy or thinking about like, okay, if I have this weekly allowance and I’ve decided like I get to spend $500 on whatever, this will give you a sense of control of how much money should be going out each week in relation to how much you have bringing in. And you may set a goal to say like, I want to pay off my credit card every single week. I know I have this $500, it’s my “allowance.” And so I get to pay that towards my credit card. If I don’t use all of that money, it can roll over to the next week. If I spend a little bit more of it, then maybe the next week I only give myself a $400 allowance. But you start to think creatively about how you want to actually handle your approaches moving forward and things just don’t feel like they’re happening to you.

And what’s going to also happen is your financial self-concept that you want to lean into the things you want to believe about money, they’re also going to elevate with you as you start to think about a plan that’s not about judging yourself. When your plan includes you being able to be flexible, when your plan includes you being able to think about things that allow you to explore how you want to feel about money moving forward. You’re going to start to think like, okay, I have my own back regardless of any situation. So I really encourage you to sit down and do this exercise for yourself. Maybe you’re in the midst of a money trigger and you’re like, oh my goodness, I don’t know what to do. Sit down and tell yourself like why am I safe here? What plan do I want to have moving forward that supports who I’m becoming?

Just ask yourself those two questions. And if you can carry those two questions with you, it’s going to allow you to shift how you show up and you’ll become someone who’s different than you are today. And you’re going to become that version of yourself that you actually desire to be. And I do this work with my clients in sessions all the time because like I want to help them train their brain to respond differently. So we’re using mindset tools to get them there. We’re asking questions that get them to think about other solutions to familiar problems that they have, or problems that they’re scared of having. Like we sometimes play with situations that aren’t even real because I want their response to be one that feels a lot more comfortable and makes them feel in control and makes them feel calm. So when something does happen that feels like, oh my goodness, I’m so caught off guard that they just are able to manage that easily.

Another situation that I came up with that you can play with, especially if you’re a business owner, is maybe it’s not the credit card debt, maybe it’s that your situation is you made $0 this month and your brain is making it mean like you are never ever, ever going to make money again. And I can tell you like personally, girl, I have been here, as a business owner. And so the thoughts that can run through your mind are like, here it goes. Nothing is working. And so you start to spiral or you try and sell like really quick things, maybe you lower your prices. And what happens is you don’t operate as like your chief financial officer in this moment. You could only see that $0 a month. And for you, like depending on where you are in your business, maybe it’s not $0 a month, maybe it’s like a $10,000 month, but you need to make a $50,000 a month, right?

And so you just start to think about all the things that aren’t working and you forget the fact that you planned for this. When you became a business owner like you knew that you were going to experience shifts. There are no two months in your business that are the same in terms of cash flow. You probably forget like, oh yeah, I set money aside for this moment because I’m the CFO of my business and this is okay, like this month is a fluke. This month is not similar to all of my other months, right? Like when you’re in this catastrophic state, all you can see is all the bad things that are happening and you can’t actually make a plan moving forward. So if you’re the business owner, you can ask yourself like, why am I safe here? And it’s the things I talked about, like I’ve planned for this, I knew as a business owner this was going to happen, you know, like I have access to loans, I have access to credit.

So you’re actually building that scenario for why you’re safe. And the safety piece is important because the safety piece is going to allow you to make that plan moving forward about what you want to do. Imagine like, if you’re not in a safe place, especially when it comes to money in your business, it is going to trigger how you respond. Like maybe you’re going to go in stock marketing, right? Or you’re going to lay in your bed and sulk, which like, great, lay in your bed and sulk, but we can’t stay there the whole month. And it doesn’t allow you to think of creative solutions for your actual problem that’s in front of you. And maybe you don’t actually need a creative solution as much as it’s like just to acknowledge that it’s happening and you get to still show up and work in your business because if you’re working, it’s working.

And when you’re in this place, where you’re thinking about like, oh my goodness, I had a $0 a month or whatever your number is that would be triggering as a business owner, I want you to be able to think about like, what is my plan that I want to take moving forward? And maybe if you’re newer in business, maybe part of your plan is like, I’m going to get a side hustle to be my sugar daddy. I’ve done that. I have a podcast episode as well about like having a full-time job while you’re building a business. When I first went into business for myself, I just thought if I pressed click on my website, people were going to come to me. That is not what happened. And I worked probably I want to say like eight months into building my business, I went and got a full-time job.

That full-time job was my side hustle is how I called it. And I had my business at the same time. And what I did was I used that side hustle, if you will, to make sure that I had a steady paycheck, I made sure that I had healthcare, I had retirement, but it took the mental load off of needing to make a certain amount of money. But if I hadn’t gone into like the situation with shame, I wouldn’t have been able to think creatively to be like, oh yeah, I can just go get a side hustle that’s flexible that financially makes me feel secure while I go out and build my business. Or if you are in your business for multiple years, you’re maybe not going to think about the fact of like, I know how to make money. You’re not going to think about that as an actual fact.

You’re not going to think about the fact like, oh, this month is just a fluke. And so if you’re able to access those thoughts, then your plan is going to be able to be a plan that is without hustle. It’s going to allow you to have creative problem solving. It’s going to allow you to think about like, okay, I can adjust my financial plan in my business. I have the funds right now for this moment. And you can coach yourself on things that actually make sense. Or you can even look at the data in your business that’s like, oh my goodness, this happens every January. Why am I making this a problem? And so just being able to allow that money trigger to not impact what you think about your status as a business owner or your ability to make money as a business owner.

So I gave you two examples of how this might show up, really, because I want you guys this year to just know like, oh yeah, there are things that happen in my business. There are things that happen in my personal finances that cause me to feel an emotion, and that emotion causes me to think differently about money or my ability to manage money, my ability to create money. So that’s the podcast episode for today. Take some time, answer those questions for yourself, do that practice offstage of being able to identify your money triggers so you can really be prepared and start creating plans that make sense for you. 

And if you want to take this work deeper, I would invite you to apply to work with me in my five month coaching partnership. If you go to, you can book a 60 minute consult with me and we will talk about your finances and your unique situation and create a plan that is just for you and help you create new financial results in the next five months. So thank you again for tuning into this week’s episode, and I look forward to connecting with you. 

Thank you so much for listening to Money Files. If you’re ready to take the next step to reach your financial goals, head to and let’s get started.

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue the conversation: Join the Wealth Over Now private Facebook community

This community is here to encourage and support you in having open and honest conversations about money so you can stop spinning your wheels and finally gain clarity and confidence with your finances.  

Join the newsletter