Struggling to Spend Money on Myself
This has been a hard week for me. Nothing in particular has gone right or wrong, but for some reason I seem to be in deep contemplation about many aspects of my life. Lately I’ve been questioning my relationship with money and my quest to pinch pennies and save wherever and whenever I can.
My mom was a stay-at-home mom for twelve years. During that time, (actually even after she took on a part time job), I rarely if ever saw her spend money on herself. She would buy toys and clothes for my brother and I, but she would never spend money to fix up the house or buy herself anything. If she came home from an afternoon of shopping it was typically my grandmother who bought her new shoes or clothes.
I remember inviting friends to my parent’s house back when I was in college. When my friends arrived they commented on the horrid bathroom decor complete with mirrored wall paper and glass chandeliers. All chosen, (of course), by the previous owners who my parents purchased the house from in 1977.
Prior to that moment I never really thought about the state of our house. It looked like it was straight out of the 70s. We had a functional yet hideous green stove, mirrored wall paper, dark wood paneling and rust-colored shag carpeting.
My mom didn’t update the house for three reasons. First, she wasn’t earning a paycheck. Second, my dad didn’t make a ton of money. Third, she didn’t want to spend money on things for herself, she chose to spend the money on her husband and children.
As I grow and age I realize that I am falling into the same patterns as my mother. I have never been one to spend a lot of money on myself. I don’t shop often and I rarely buy things that I really want. These days new purchases are typically directed towards my son or our home.
No offense to my husband, (I know he’ll take offense if he reads this post), but he has absolutely no problem spending money. This summer he spent over $1000 on a landscaping company who weeded, mulched, edged, mowed and planted new azaleas. He dropped $4000 on a retaining wall that provides a clear line of separation between our property and the neighbors. He paid another $1500 to place decking under our beach house in North Carolina. This is in addition to a $1400 ice machine and $2000 worth of new cameras.
When he wants to buy something he does it. He doesn’t spend 30 minutes searching for coupon codes or comparing prices. He simply pulls out his wallet and types numbers into the online submission forms and two days later boxes arrive from Amazon.
I don’t expect to start spending money at the drop of a hat, but I would like to feel more at ease buying items I want or need. I waste so much time worrying about saving money. Trying to clip coupons, scouting out deals and generally denying myself from spending any money. It’s difficult to take saving so seriously when my husband is spending thousands of dollars to suit his desires.
As I reflect on my actions I am amazed by how closely they mimic my mother’s behavior. The goal always seemed to put everyone else’s desires and needs above her own.
Although I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember I believe my stay-at-home status has exacerbated my behavior. Now that I’m not earning a paycheck I find it even more difficult to spend money on myself.
To be honest I’m not certain how to get over this hurdle. I’ve been this way for so long that I can’t imagine doing things any differently.
I’d love to hear from my readers. Do any of you struggle to spend money on yourself? Do any of you have advice for me?
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