Often taken for granted, the coexistence of benefits and costs of discounting and devaluing has never been tested. Yet, not only are there inconsistent findings about the relations between these processes and global self-esteem, but little is known about their relations to motivation and performance. Here we simultaneously examined how academic discounting and devaluing relate to global self-esteem, achievement goals, and grades. Conducted among a diverse sample of stigmatized secondary-school students, the present study showed that discounting was positively related to global self-esteem (even more for students with lower academic self-esteem) and unrelated to achievement goals and grades. Devaluing was unrelated to global self-esteem, negatively related to all achievement goals, and associated with lower grades through mastery-approach goals. These findings suggest that discounting is a true self-protective strategy, buffering self-evaluation without decreasing achievement motivation. On the contrary, devaluing appears as a maladaptive strategy, with no benefit at all for self-evaluation and major costs for achievement motivation and grades.