Shaking the Money Worry and Reversing the Scarcity Cycle

Sarah Petruno

Some days, I wake up worried about money.

I think it happens to most of us.

I worry about paying my rent, paying my bills on time, and paying for groceries – still.

On this blog and on my YouTube channel, I’ve talked at length about the time that we spent homeless.

But truth be told, up until this point, money has been an issue in my family and in my life.

I grew up in middle-class New Jersey, one of four to a stay at home mom on an engineer’s salary, about $50,000 a year.

The story of “wants” vs. “needs” was a frequent one in my family.

My mom made a lot of our clothes growing up, something that as we got older, became the object of teasing and bullying.

During my childhood years, my father would go on to enroll in law school at night, that he would attend in one of the most dangerous cities in the country (Camden, NJ) and then, he’d work during the day. He did so because he dreamed of earning more to support his growing family.

My parents had dreams of a bigger home, one day hoping to have a swimming pool and a bigger yard in which they could grow more food. 

Up until this point, that dream has yet to come true.

My father graduated law school with honors and was quick to find a job, but during law school, his own stress of bills and school debt was one of the factors that caused him to start drinking. It started as just a dark beer a night, then after many work trips to Japan, his beers turned into just a sake a night. And then several sakes a night.

As sake became too expensive, cheap vodka became the alternative.

My father went to law school to earn more money to better support his family.

What happened instead was thousands of dollars of school debt and a drinking problem. A drinking problem he would die from about 10 years after his law school graduation.

In a weird, twisted way, my father’s money woes transferred to his children. His drinking, debt, and eventual death left me unprepared for how to get myself through college.

In the only way I knew how, I worked 2 jobs and took out student loan after student loan to pay tuition and fees. And credit cards to cover what student loans did not. And medical bills to cover what insurance did not.

After college, I found myself in the same situation that many post-college graduates these days are in. With a job that did not earn enough to cover living expenses AND those student loans.

In the SAME situation my father was in when he was trying to support his own family.

Nearly 10 years after his death, I’m still working on washing away the effects of this cycle.

In my family, scarcity is a pattern. In many families, scarcity is a pattern.

It’s a cycle. And it likely didn’t start with your parents, or mine, or even their parents.

Scarcity and perceived scarcity has been a human problem for as humans have existed.

Just like any cycle or pattern, it’s something that it’s up to US to break and begin to create a new cycle. For our own children and for our future generations.

It’s something that we have heal.

This is particularly true if you grew up in a family like mine, where money was tight and your parents were doing the absolute best they could to work hard and support their family.

Breaking a worn in and ingrained pattern is like slowing down a speeding train and trying to push it in the opposite direction.

It’s often a slow process, but definitely a conscious one where you feel the push back and the resistance.

It can be done.

And this is how I’m doing it ~

My starting point is a collective group of years before and during the period of time that I was homeless. During those years, I was on food stamps, struggling to make ends meet, and often only had $1.13 in my bank account for several days before payday. I sold jewelry (often sentimental, which I now regret selling) and valuables on craigslist, eBay, and in pawn shops to cover expenses. I had second jobs and took odd jobs for an extra $20-$100 here and there.

Upon walking away from my life as a Ph.D. student, researcher, and academic, I entered a period of homelessness that transitioned into living an ex-meth house with no furniture in the middle of the woods.

This was my catalyzing period. We all have one.

Also known as rock bottom.

From there, I hustled.

Some call this manifestation. In a way, it is. I believe in setting your intentions and manifestations to put the ideas out there, but then I also know that to make things come true, you often have to do the physical work to create income streams on which those dreams can float to you.

I’ve created a business that allows me to work on my own schedule (which I try not to be “all the time”), and have created many pathways in which to earn money.

My blog now earns money from advertisements, and I exchange money for the services, products, and resources that I create and offer at affordable price points.

My pricing has been intentional. I offer a lot for free (the blog, my YouTube channel, for example), and then for more advanced offerings and services, I consult my spirit guides on a price point in which to offer those. At the time being, my guides have chosen offerings that are affordable and accessible by most.

With my affordable offerings, I am able to feed my family nutritious food, provide a drug-free and safe living environment in a family-friendly neighborhood, and I’m starting to pay back the thousands of dollars in debt which I owe.

And I’m working towards realizing those childhood dreams of a swimming pool and a yard to grow things in.  (Baby pool – CHECK, and abundantly producing raised garden beds – CHECK).

My basic needs are covered.

I have everything I need in this moment.

But, some days I still wake up worried.

I have fear of not being able to pay for things. Worries and fears that are hard to shake.

In those moments, I try to cut myself some slack. I know that many of those worries and fears are remnants of the past, and how things USED to be.

When I’m at my most worried, something amazing and small usually happens that brings me back to the things that really matter.

My son breaks out in his adorable belly laugh, my daughter picks me a flower and tells me she did so because, “You’re so sweet and I just love you SO much!,” and I’m preparing a meal with food that heals me.

And I’m reminded of the mantra that I used to say when I was in the depths of darkness,

“I have food. I have water. I have shelter. I have everything I need in this moment.”

I’m going to be just fine. And so are you.



**Jewelry in the picture was a gift from – find it here (affiliate link)** 

Photo credit: Amanda Linette Meder

Psst ~ The inspiration for this blog came from a recent Instagram post. Follow me there.

Today, my debit card was hacked. I don't totally understand it, with my chip card in my wallet and gas being purchased with it in Florida, but it happened. As I was calling my bank, I realized there was a time (ok, many times) in my life not too long ago where an errant $38.03 would have ruined me. Over drafted my account, caused declines of purchases, and would mean the difference between having food and not. That didn't happen today. Today, it was fine. Today, I was fine. ??? This is a mantra I used to repeat to myself when things were seemingly not fine. If we were alive, fed, and okay in the moment, I'd say – "Today, we have food, we have water, we have shelter. Everything is okay." ??? "I have food, I have water, I have shelter. I am okay in this moment." (Photo cred: @thespiritwoman) #dailygratitude #tinymantra #iamokay #iamsafe #iamfed #dailyshamanism #theshamanlyf #healersofinstagram #spiritguided #divinelyinspired #spiritualentrepreneur #errydayimhustlin #fromthegroundup

A photo posted by ?? snapchat ->> sarahpetruno (@sarahpetruno) on