3 Steps to Get Over Financial Regrets

Mar 02

Have you ever opened your credit card statement and felt like you really messed up again?  My hand’s raised ;). 

Those feelings of regret can become overwhelming.  Even paralyzing.

I know about regrets first hand.  Take my Pink Floyd box set I got when I was 16.  Bought it, loved it, couldn’t afford it — and regretted it.

You can swap “Pink Floyd box set” for “fancy dinners” or “skis” or “sports car” — all of those I regretted too.

There’s one thing that all these “financial regrets” have in common — that sinking feeling that I will never change.

But when harnessed the right way, regrets can be healthy. Seth Godin put it best when he said: “If regrets about yesterday’s decisions and actions help you do better work today, then they’ve served a useful purpose.”

I’ve put together 3 steps that will help you move past your financial regrets and take action.

How to Forgive Your Financial Mistakes

Step 1:  Forgive Yourself  

Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself.

Like my eight week sugar-free streak that was over when a Snickers bar mysteriously ended up in my throat. Okay, it wasn’t so “mysterious.”

Next thing you know I was wolfing down Doritos and Fudgsicles. My Snickers regret morphed into an excuse to eat more sugar.

The same thing happens with financial regrets. Feeling disappointed in yourself can lead you down a path of bad buying decisions.

But let me ask you: How long are you going to let those decisions hang over your head? And what purpose does your regret serve?

Acknowledge your mistakes and forgive yourself. Because you can’t return that fancy dinner out.

BTW: I forgave myself and now my sugar-free diet is back in full swing and going great.

Learn From Your Financial Mistakes

Step 2:  Find the Lesson

Here’s what you shouldn’t do:  My friend Sam was a fan of the show Big Brother. He signed up for the 24/7 live feed for $5.99 a month. Six months later, he looked at his Visa bill and couldn’t figure out where this recurring $5.99 fee was coming from. Then he remembered Big Brother and felt like a fool. The season was long over, and he’s still getting dinged for the live feed.   

Did Sam learn his lesson?  Nope. Now he’s complaining about his Sirius subscription but still hasn’t canceled it. I wonder how long it’ll take him this time…

Just like Sam, I’ve also fallen trap to the “monthly subscription” thing.  Mine was with a business software on a free 30-day trial.  I never used it.  But when the free trial was over they started charging my credit card.  It was months — and hundreds of dollars — before I finally I canceled it.  

But — unlike Sam — I learned my lesson.  I never sign up for a “free” subscription unless I’m going to use it.  And if I do subscribe, I set an alert in my schedule to remind me to cancel if I need to.  

So bring it on LinkedIn, send me your free 30-day premium offers, I’ll never bite.

Bottom line:  Every financial regret is an opportunity to learn.

Get Started to Fix Your Financial Mistakes

Step 3:  Forge Ahead

Sometimes, financial regrets bog us down and stop us from moving forward. They’re a reactive response.

The flipside is that regrets can be proactive and help you take action.  Instead of getting bummed out, make a commitment to change and start moving forward.  Do something positive.  Listen to a financial podcast or read a book on budgeting — in fact, here’s a free one that I wrote.

Deepak Chopra says that “All great changes are preceded by chaos.” Let your financial chaos help you forge ahead.

So forgive yourself for past regrets, find the financial lesson, and start moving forward.

Now you…

Have you ever been bogged down by financial regret?

And if so, what small steps have you made to take control of your money?

Tell me in the comments…

P.S.  If you have nothing to write because you never made a money blooper in your life, I’d still love to hear from you.  Here’s a Q for you:  Do you think my pics are funny or cheesy?  Let me know in the comments below.

P.P.S.  Wanna learn the easiest way to budget? CLICK HERE and download my ebook Your Magic Number for FREE (20-minute read).

About The Author

Hi, I'm Avraham (pronounced Av-Rum.) I'm a reformed spender, financial coach, and the founder of Avraham Byers Financial (I'm better with money than coming up with company names.) In a funny and non-preachy way, I teach people how to take control of their finances without giving up their smoked butterscotch lattes.


  1. Lindsay
    March 2, 2017 at 3:29 pm · Reply

    I’ve been Sam before. Getting hit with recurring fees for things I don’t even use. So frustrating. Thanks for the great post, Avraham!

  2. Wesley Vance
    March 2, 2017 at 3:50 pm · Reply

    With more and more services moving towards the subscription model, I’m signed up for a dozen or so recurring services each month. Add another dozen free trials and you quickly have a lot of places automatically pulling my money. It can get overwhelming. I have made it a monthly routine to go through and check my recurring subscriptions just to make sure nothing slides by. Another awesome post!

    • Avraham Byers
      March 2, 2017 at 4:21 pm · Reply

      Making a routine to check your recurring subscriptions is a great idea. Thanks Wesley.

  3. Avi
    March 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm · Reply

    I don’t have any credit card debts. All paid .I don’t use credit cards and if I use them are all debit.

  4. Julie D.
    March 2, 2017 at 8:07 pm · Reply

    Thanks for the great article. 🙂
    I find it’s true that when we get to a place of “oh well” we can slip into the place of “what does it matter, anyway?” A “who cares anymore?” attitude. Forgiving oneself is key to moving past this, recognizing your vulnerabilities and following-through with a renewed plan and commitment.
    Love your new website and pics!
    Keep up the great work.

    • Avraham Byers
      March 2, 2017 at 9:20 pm · Reply

      Julie, you’re bang-on! Forgiving yourself is key to moving past the “who cares anymore” attitude. Thanks for your comment and loving my site and pics ;).

  5. Dorit
    March 3, 2017 at 1:57 am · Reply

    Hi Avraham!! I too agree that forgiving yourself is key, because no one will ever forgive you, you have to do the internal work yourself which means taking full responsibility for your past and future actions. But that’s not why I’m commenting. I’m commenting about the sugar-free thing!! When did this happen?? So awesome!!

    • Avraham Byers
      March 3, 2017 at 2:25 am · Reply

      Hey, Dorit! Great to have you over here on my blog — thanks! Ya, I thought you’d like the sugar-free thing. Yael (my wife) has been sugar-free for over two years — no processed sugar. We use dates as a substitute. I joined her about 6 months ago and love it. A bit tough in the beginning, then easy, then tough again, then easy again ;). I never thought I would be saying this, but I’m totally sold on the no-sugar thing, and it’s the way I like to eat now.

  6. Anne
    March 3, 2017 at 6:16 pm · Reply

    I have so been Sam!! Reminds me I have to go and cancel that….. 🙂

    • Avraham Byers
      March 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm · Reply

      I think that most of us have been Sam. FYI: Trim and TrueBill are two cool apps that can automatically cancel any of those bills you forgot to cancel. 😉

  7. Gordon
    March 5, 2017 at 2:24 pm · Reply

    I struggle with finding a way to forgive myself. I often find ways to justify my purchases on the CC. Home repairs, birthday gifts, if I do this one thing it will help me in the long run, etc. There is a complicated thing going on in my head that is for sure. I try to be mindful but that is difficult for me. Is there no hope for me?

    • Avraham Byers
      March 5, 2017 at 4:09 pm · Reply

      Gordon! Of course, there’s hope for you! It’s never too late and don’t give up on yourself. Martin Luther King Jr. put it best when he said: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

  8. Orli
    March 6, 2017 at 12:23 am · Reply

    Hi Avraham, your cheesy jokes make me laugh. Totally fell for that trap, not anymore but tried to cancel something and I didn’t cancel properly so got charged. Got a refund, but good advice

    • Avraham Byers
      March 6, 2017 at 1:49 am · Reply

      I’m glad you like my cheesy jokes — that’s a huge compliment ;). You’re right, sometimes it’s not so easy to cancel things. I think some companies make you jump through lots of hoops just so you give up canceling.

  9. Fiona
    September 21, 2017 at 12:29 am · Reply

    Hi Avraham

    I got caught in the LinkedIn professional thing and didn’t notice I was being charged $75 (Aus) a month for almost a year.

    I still feel sick when I think about it. I did learn the lesson to be more careful in future though. Although having said that I am being charged a bogus $15 a month by my phone company and I know I can cancel it and get a refund for the literally years it has been going on but the thought of ringing a call centre and explaining it to the operator does my head in.

    Re the pictures and jokes, I like them. You make being in control of money so much more accessible than anything I have ever read before and I have read a ton of stuff.

    • Avraham Byers
      September 25, 2017 at 4:08 am · Reply

      Hey, Fiona! Oh yes, the bogus cell phone charges — we’ve all been a victim of those. Lol! BTW, thanks for liking the pics and corny jokes. 😉

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