This week was rough. Nothing, in particular, has gone right or wrong. Yet, for some reason, I can’t stop thinking about my financial choices. I can’t stop wondering why I never buy anything for myself.
Why do I pinch pennies and save wherever and whenever I can? Why can’t I spend money on myself?
I used to be proud of my frugality, but something doesn’t feel right about it anymore. It shouldn’t be so hard to part with money. I shouldn’t feel so guilty for buying things I want or enjoy.
Why Can’t I Spend Money on Myself?
I think my upbringing has a lot to do with it. My mom was a stay-at-home mom for twelve years. I rarely saw her spend money on herself during that time (actually, even after she took on a part-time job). She spent plenty of money on my brother and me but struggled to buy anything she needed or wanted.
When I was in college, I once invited a group of friends back to my parent’s house. A good friend of mine walked into our bathroom and gasped. “What’s this?” she asked, pointing to the mirrored wallpaper. “That’s hideous.”
I never thought about the decor in that bathroom until that very moment. My parents didn’t renovate the house while we were growing up.
The previous owners had chosen that hideous wallpaper in 1977. Twenty-two years later, it continued to stick to my parent’s bathroom walls.
Our house was full of 1970s decor. There was a dark green stove, mirrored wallpaper, wood paneling, and rust-colored shag carpeting.
My mom said she didn’t update the house because she wasn’t earning a paycheck, and my dad didn’t make a ton of money, but it was more than that. She didn’t like to spend money on things for herself. Instead, she chose to spend the money on her husband and children.
I Can’t Spend Money on Myself
As I grow and age, I realize that I am falling into the same patterns as my mother. I never spend money on myself. If I see something I like unexpectedly; I never treat myself either. I don’t shop often, and I rarely buy things that I want. These days I only buy new items for my husband or children.
My husband doesn’t struggle to spend money the way I do. This summer, he spent over $1000 on landscaping services. A crew of men weeded, edged, mowed, and planted new azaleas for us. When they finished, my husband happily handed them a check.
Later that same month, he paid $1500 to place decking under our house. He also spent $1400 on an ice machine and $2000 on a new set of camera lenses.
When he wants to buy something, he does. He doesn’t spend thirty minutes searching for coupon codes or comparing prices. He pulls out his wallet and types numbers into the online submission forms. Two days later, the 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. Clipping coupons and scouting out deals is ridiculously time-consuming.
I deny myself the joy of spending money on myself.
I Never Spend Money on Myself
As I reflect on my actions, I am amazed by how closely they mimic my mom’s behavior. My mom always put everyone else’s desires and needs above her own.
I’ve followed in her footsteps, and I’ve been acting this way for as long as I can remember. Becoming a stay-at-home mom has only furthered this unhealthy behavior. Now that I’m not earning a paycheck, I find it even more difficult to spend money on myself.
While my friends and family members focus on the joy of spending, I focus on the comfort of saving money. It helps me overcome stress and financial anxiety. I suppose that peace of mind is worth more to me than whatever it is I’d like to buy.
But I’d still like to pull out my credit card without second-guessing every decision. I’m tired of feeling guilty for wanting something I don’t need.
I Don’t Like Spending Money on Myself
I don’t like spending money on myself. Actually, I hate spending money on myself, but I’m not sure how to get over this hurdle. I’ve been this way for so long that I can’t imagine doing things any differently.
Why is it so hard to spend money on myself? How can I learn to enjoy spending money without feeling bad or guilty about it?
I’d love to hear from my readers. Do any of you struggle to spend money on yourself? Do you find yourself thinking, “I never buy anything for myself?” Do you have advice for me?
Update: It took years for me to spend money on myself without feeling guilty, but eventually I did. Check out my update to this post: How to Spend Money on Yourself Without Feeling Guilty.