How to Forgive Yourself for Bad Money Behavior

No one is perfect with money. I REPEAT: No one is perfect with money! I’m a money coach, and I struggle with money sometimes. Not to mention, my past relationship with money was a terrible one. I was constantly spending. I was deep in debt. I had no direction. But guess what? I changed. My money situation is better now than it has ever been. My bad money behavior is in the past. Sure, it creeps up every now and then – it always will. But I know how to forgive myself and move on.

If you have the time, I want you to listen to Episode 1 of the City Girl Savings Podcast: Big City Spender to City Girl Saver. You’ll learn about my story from over spender to money coach. Hopefully it inspires you to forgive yourself for bad money behavior and gives you hope for what’s possible with your money. Now, let’s get into how to forgive yourself for bad money behavior.

How to Forgive Yourself for Bad Money Behavior

#1 Get to the root of the behavior

Let’s start by identifying what has caused your bad money behavior up to this point. When you can get to the true root of the problem, you can find true solutions. When I do this type of work with my clients, I have them go all the way back to early childhood days. What do they remember about money? Were they constantly told they couldn’t have things? Were their parents stressed about money?

Usually, our bad money behavior stems from childhood. We were deprived as kids, so when we start making our own money, we can’t tell ourselves no. Or, maybe you always got what you wanted, and nothing has changed as you started making your own money.

Take some time to think about your past experiences with money and see what you can uncover. I do this exercise in depth in the Money Management Mastery Program. Doors are officially open, so come join!

#2 Who else do you need to forgive

I’ve worked with clients who got themselves into bad money situations because of an ex. They took out debt that never got paid. They funded their partner with nothing received in return. As you work on forgiving yourself for bad money behavior, think about who else you need to forgive for the things you’ve been through.

What’s done is done. Holding onto hate, guilt or regret won’t do any good. Forgive whoever needs to be forgiven and vow to never be in that position again.

Maybe you need to forgive your parents, your siblings or your friends. Let go of whatever you’re still holding on to and you’ll feel 1000 times lighter.

#3 Remind yourself that you’re a work in progress

I’m saying this again: NO ONE is perfect with money. In fact, we’re all a work in progress! Sure, some people may be further along than you or me, but that doesn’t mean their work is done! As you move through your forgiveness journey, constantly remind yourself that you’re a work in progress. Things won’t always go smoothly, and things certainly won’t always be perfect, but make the choice to power through, no matter what comes your way.

Also, it’s okay to be a work in progress. If you have feelings of “I should be further along” or “I wish I didn’t have X, Y, or Z”, tell yourself that you’re working on forgiving yourself for those things and that you’re a work in progress. Believe me, the only one you actually have to convince is yourself!

#4 Understand that budget slip-ups are inevitable

This goes hand in hand with being a work in progress. Things will ALWAYS come up! It’s life and we really can’t escape it. However, you can ease the blow of budget slip-ups by doing a few things. First, knowing that they happen to us all. Second, working on a building a savings or having some sort of plan to adjust when needed.

If things come up and my clients don’t want to use savings, I always have them look at their budget to see what spending areas can be cut back to accommodate for the unexpected charge or expense. If all else fails and they need savings, that’s what it’s there for!

#5 Never be too ashamed to ask for help

If you need help with your finances (or any area of life), a major part of forgiveness is letting go of your pride (or fear, or embarrassment) and seeking help. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who said they were scared to reach out for help, but things got so bad they had no choice. Don’t be that person. Don’t wait for things to go sideways before seeking help.

When things aren’t getting better, especially with your money, find someone who can help get you back on track. As a money coach, I help my clients create and stick to budget plans so they can manage their money and undo past money mistakes. There are plenty of resources out there that can help you too.

#6 Acknowledge and recognize your wins

One thing I struggle with is recognizing my wins. I’m so focused on the goal or what I’m trying to accomplish that I fail to pause and appreciate how far I’ve come. I’m working on it and it’s a conscious effort. Take my advice and do the same for yourself. Any time you have the opportunity to acknowledge your progress or recognize your wins, take it. It’s such an important part of goal-setting!

Make a list of all your wins, recognitions, accomplishments and compliments and refer back to it whenever you need a confidence boost or reminder of how far you’ve come!

#7 Vow to never give up

Finally, make this promise to yourself right now…promise that you’ll never give up. The journey to financial success can be a long one, but if you vow to never give up, you’ll eventually reach the finish line. I know it’s easier said than done. I also know that there will be trying times. But I know that you can overcome any obstacle that comes your way. You are capable. More importantly, you are worth it.

Related: 7 Signs You Need a Finance Coach

Like I said – no one is perfect. There will always be good and bad days, for all of us. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continuously work on improving our finances. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn to forgive ourselves for bad money behavior. It’s okay to make mistakes. What’s not okay is letting those mistakes define who we are and what we can do with money.

Have you struggled to give yourself grace when your bad money behavior creeps in? What do you do to keep your eyes on the prize? I’d love to hear what works (or doesn’t work) for you, so drop a comment below to share!

The CGS Team
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