Improve Your Finances with “Money Grows on Trees”

In this post, I’m sharing exercises I found in Money Grows on Trees by Clarissa de la Paz and Sharon Que, which I talked about in detail in the post “Life Lessons from Money Grows on Trees.”


If you’ve read our post, 7 Habits for Good Mental Health, this activity is a bit like the thought record, but for money. The idea is to identify your cues/triggers (like stress), the resulting routine (going shopping, expensive spa treatments and lavish food) and its reward (feeling good from treating yourself). Identify how your negative routines can be changed or how you can look at your reward differently. For example:

(Cue -> Routine -> Reward)

Old habit: Stress -> shopping, spa, lavish food -> feel good because you treated yourself

New habit: Stress -> yummy food, investing the rest -> feel good about your growing financial freedom and stability

Old habit 2: Insecure about my appearance -> shop for new clothes, mani pedi, expensive yoga classes -> feel a little better

New habit 2: Insecure about my appearance -> make a clear plan to look and feel better: eat healthier, jog in UP regularly with a friend, buy an inexpensive mat for yoga practice at home, dance to fun Youtube videos, remind myself about the parts of my appearance I do like -> feel good for working hard and developing the discipline needed to look and feel better longer (not just easy fixes)

“Repeat, repeat, repeat, because the mind needs to be convinced that a change is necessary. Unlearning is actually more difficult than learning, so be patient. There must be some sort of emotional investment, something that provokes a reaction.” (de la Paz, p. 48)


  1. Decide what age you want to retire
  2. Design your dream lifestyle
  3. Compute and plan

Below is de la Paz’s sample worksheet. (No scanner at the moment, sorry!)


I saved the fun one for last! Here’s the vision board I made on Pinterest for my ideal life. A vision board is something you should see everyday so maybe you can make a physical vision board or turn it into your desktop wallpaper. My current physical vision board is made up of postcards that remind me of my goals.


Making a vision board is so fun! Now comes the hard part, making plans and a budget to turn my vision into reality. Eager to see your vision boards!

Have a good week ahead! 🙂

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