Self-Sabotage and Money

How do you recognize and overcome self-sabotage with money? What is self-sabotage with money?

The lottery winners who suddenly have a million dollars one day and then nothing in just a year or two are the best example. The winners received more money than their consciousness was ready for, and instead of expanding their thinking to fit the money, they squander it.

(The opposite happens with folks like Donald Trump. He goes bankrupt, but he knows he’ll have the same amount of money or more again. His consciousness has expanded and doesn’t contract just because of a little thing like bankruptcy).

Other examples come from people who’ve inherited money or who suddenly find themselves in a job that pays considerably more than they’re used to.  This can happen when you get your first job out of university or graduate school:  You’ve been working at internships that pay little, and suddenly you have a real salary and benefits.

Self-sabotage with money happens in other ways, too.

So how do you keep from sabotaging yourself?

1. If you receive a big increase in pay or other jump in the amount of money coming in, be aware that you might be out of sync with your new-found wealth. Awareness is a great first step in avoiding trouble.

2. Seek professional advice from lawyers, accountants, and financial planners. Yes, I know: You can do it yourself. But will you?

If you’ve received a lot of money all at once from a lottery or inheritance, consider putting some of it in trust. Yes, you’re protecting your money from yourself, but you might be very grateful you did in five or ten years when the rest is gone.

3. Don’t ignore day-to-day sabotage. Even if you’re just coasting along with about the same salary you’ve had for years, you can still be sabotaging yourself.

Do you feel like you don’t have extra money for special things, like vacations? Pay close attention to your day-to-day choices and your entertainment expenses. When I was in college and soon thereafter, I’d forgo concerts and dining out to save up to travel, and I managed to see a great deal of Europe while in London for a study abroad program. Each individual decision was small, but cumulatively, those choices paid for planes, trains, and automobiles (or at least tickets on them).

If you spend $5 a day on coffee during the workweek, that’s $100 a month. In 3 – 6 months you could easily have enough for a plane ticket. If clothes are more your thing, that’s a pair of new shoes a month (or one new pair a year if you’ll only wear Jimmy Choo’s).

4. Jimmy Choo’s brings me to: Be careful about emotional spending. Some people eat when they’re upset or need a boost (any chocolate will do for me under those circumstances) while others turn to shopping.

If you look at your shopping habits and realize that you shop for emotional comfort, stay away from stores when you’re feeling down or vulnerable. Don’t tempt yourself. Find some other way to feel better: call a friend and have coffee ($5 is better than $50 or $500!). Go to the gym. Go for a long walk. Read a book. Go see a movie (again: less expensive). Do something to break the habit.

Emotional spending can also take the form of buying stuff to look good to other people. Do you really need to refurnish your living room because your neighbors did? Do you really need a new car because your co-worker just bought one?

5. Monitor your thoughts and feelings about money. We touched on this when we talked about identifying your money blocks, but it bears repeating here. Pay attention to what you think about money, and if you’re feeling any negative emotions — anxiety, worry, jealousy, anger, frustration — about it then work on changing those thoughts into something more positive.

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Your thoughts can sabotage you in a number ways, leading you to sabotage yourself unconsciously. Deflect your thoughts to something more positive and you’ll prevent problems before they occur.

How do you sabotage yourself and what one thing will you do this week to stop it?


Self-Sabotage and Money — 6 Comments

  1. very true just the way you’ve put it .some times i wish i had
    alot of money without taking time to think of how to use it
    keep on with your good work


  2. I particularly like points 3 and 4. People always complain about not being able to do this or that but they never think to sacrifice silly, frivolous expenditures to obtain that goal. I have a vacation account because I want to stay in nice hotels when I travel. My thought is, why go anywhere if I cannot afford to sleep in a bed as nice as my own and a room that at least looks as nice as one in my own home.

    When I had a job, I once calculated how much I was spending on lunch and snacks. I quickly started bringing my lunch because I already had the food at home, it was healthier and I would be saving almost $160 per month. It had nothing to do with the ability to pay; it just seemed, well…stupid. 🙂 I taught this to my children as well. It’s amazing how much we waste and how easy it is to save when you begin to cut those expenses we deemed as ‘small’.

  3. Exactly! If people get joy out of lunch out and consciously make the choice, that’s one thing. But I think a lot of folks have a series of small daily expenses that they don’t examine, and it all adds up.

  4. Being ususally tight on money, and currently with a low paying job, (but hey thankful for that in this ecconomy)for the last 18 months I have taken a PB&J sandwich to work every single day. This was an occassional source of comment (not ususally in an encouraging way) from my co-workers, generally the overweight ones who were going to KFC or Arby’s every day. Yesterday, one of then came to me and said, “Ya know Im goiing to start doing what you do, even $5 a day (and I know he spends more than that) is $100 a month. Thats’ just dumb, Im trying to do evertyhing I can to buy a house, and gotta watch the little expenses too.” Huzzah!!!

  5. Good job on setting an example and not being swayed! Aside from saving money, I’ll take a PB&J any day over fast food for health reasons. If lunch out brings you great joy, that’s one thing. But I can’t imagine fast food brings anyone joy…it’s more of an unthinking habit….