If you’re a financially responsible person who’s trying to save and invest as much of your income as possible, it’s easy to overcorrect and become too frugal. This may cause you to feel guilt over spending money instead of saving it, even if you’re buying something you need.
For most of my life, I’ve struggled with anxiety over spending money, but have managed to overcome it in the past year. Here are some of my best tips for how to address this problem so you can treat yourself without feeling guilty.
Have a Plan for Your Money
Part of my anxiety about spending money was due to the fact that I didn’t have a proper plan for my income. I didn’t have a budget spreadsheet or specific savings goals. I just had a vague idea that I wanted to save as much of my income as possible.
Not having a concrete monthly savings target made it hard to know when I could loosen my belt a little and treat myself to nonessentials. I worried that if I splurged, I wouldn’t have enough cash left over to meet my long-term financial goals like retiring and investing in rental properties.
Figuring out how much money I needed to save each month to stay on track lessened my financial anxiety. Once I hit that monthly goal, it was easier to give myself permission to spend some of the money I’d worked so hard to earn. Treating myself here and there enriches my life and helps me avoid burnout, so now I consider it money well spent.
It’s Ok To Treat Yourself
Many personal finance experts recommend that you think over your purchases for a week or more before you make them. Another common piece of advice is to consider how many hours you had to work to pay for the items you want so you can determine if they’re really worth it.
But if you’re struggling with spending anxiety that makes you want to hoard all your cash, you have to remember that those savings rules aren’t designed for you.
Many people have debt and struggle to curb their discretionary spending. Those rules are meant to help them become more frugal so they can get their financial life in order.
If you’re already a big saver who wants to hold onto every penny, you need the opposite advice. So I’m here to tell you: go to the mall and treat yourself!
You don’t want to look back at your life and regret missing out on meaningful experiences because you were anxious about spending money. As long as you’re hitting your savings targets and being responsible, it’s more than ok to book a weekend trip or order some takeout every now and then.
Talk to Professionals
Sometimes it’s hard to recognize when you’re in a good place financially. Because there’s always a new goal to be reaching for, it can feel like you’ll never make it there unless you’re very conservative with your money.
Speaking to a financial advisor can give you some reassurance that you’re on the right path and help you address any challenges you may be facing. Getting expert advice helped me learn how to handle my money as a freelancer with somewhat inconsistent income.
If you’ve spoken to a financial advisor and your spending anxiety is still holding you back, it may be time to book an appointment with a therapist. They can help you figure out why you feel so worried about spending money and teach you how to challenge your anxious thoughts.
Working with my therapist to figure out why I was so fixated on money was the last piece of the puzzle that helped me overcome my spending anxiety for good.