• Thursday, June 13, 2024
businessday logo


You need to stop self-sabotaging your finances

Brewing up a mess in Nigeria with a controversial Naira rebrand

Money issues rank among one of the most common stressors for a lot of people.

These stressors range from having adequate money to a lack of knowledge about how to obtain more of it, and how to effectively channel existing resources to meet needs.

Oftentimes, these stressors occur, as a result of poor money decisions and self-sabotaging tendencies.

Self-sabotage can be explained as a behaviour that prevents one from accomplishing their tasks or goals. When it comes to money, self-sabotaging behaviours will include habits and behaviours that prevent people from achieving their saving, budgeting, investing, and debt-reducing goals.

Many people deal with self-sabotaging thoughts and actions with their finances, and I have found myself doing the same many times in the past.

I bought things I could not conveniently afford just because my friends were buying those things. I went on holidays that were not exactly financially convenient, costing me months of having to rebuild my savings and missing opportunities that could have fetched me more money. I forgot to turn off a subscription I didn’t need again and got charged for it. I did not prioritise savings and always got back into debt.

As we all know, financial literacy is an ongoing process, and one that requires intentionality, and financial self-sabotage could show up at any point in time, in spite of your level of financial knowledge or expertise.

A 2021 respite by researchers at George Washington University showed that 50% of the people surveyed usually felt stressed when discussing their personal finances, whilst 60% experienced anxiety merely thinking about their finances -CNBC


1. Past errors and personal experiences sabotage

Your constant anxiety about money could emanate from the mistakes you have made with your money or other people’s money in the past. These mistakes tend to haunt you until you admit they were things you did out of illiteracy, and let them go. You must then put in the effort to get better at managing your money.

2. Familiarity sabotage

Most of the time, the anxiety you have about money is tied to your childhood experiences, and what you have seen your parents do with money. These things present themselves as a default place of financial familiarity. It takes effort to unlearn the wrong money examples you grew up seeing.

Read also: Save money, and money will save you

3. The sabotage of avoidance and procrastination

This is when you delay making money decisions for no serious reason, or because you are unsure of the outcomes, and you end up spending more than you should. For example, once you are sure to incur an expense that has a bit of price volatility, e.g., buying a ticket for a trip, you end up waiting till the prices have gone up before purchasing. You will end up paying so much, not because you didn’t have the money, but because you have not learned how to overcome procrastination.

4. Constant comparison sabotage

This happens when your decisions are largely based on what people say or do. Your money decisions are usually influenced by what you see on social media, and you end up making purchases that you do not need.

5. Brand or company loyalty sabotage

This is one money self-sabotage tendency that plagues a lot of people. They feel compelled to stick with a brand, even if their resources do not allow them to do so. Your salaries have not increased in a while, but your favorite product has gone up in price many times. Rather than looking for a cheaper and relatively good alternative, you keep purchasing the brand with much agitation and frustration.


1, Have conversations about money with people who can help you.

A coach or accountability partner will be able to help you excavate your money fears and point you in the right direction.

2, Get into small circles and communities that will help you become a better money manager.

3, Have calendar reminders that will help you remember when to make payments or perhaps unsubscribe so you don’t end up paying excessive charges when unnecessary.

4, Do check-ins with an accountability partner who can hold you accountable for your finances.

5, Keep learning about how to make, manage and multiply money.