help me, i am having trouble *spending* money. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 12-08-2010, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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what a problem, right? i figure its because my parents spent every cent they had. they are in so much debt, have done bankruptcy twice, live paycheck to paycheck, etc. i dont ever remember a time when we actually HAD money. and at the same time, we had tons of THINGS. it was very common to max out a credit card to buy a TV, computer (now lately for my brothers) PS3, stereos, hockey equipment... so now that i have my own family, i just have the hardest time buying anything that isnt an "essential." i always go to the market, buy exactly every ingredient for the weeks dinner meals, but i just cant seem to put a snack or a little something extra for me in the cart. i LOVE those Amy's frozen dinner things, esp for middle of the night snacks,but i personally have never bought it. i feel like that 5 or 6 bucks will break the bank. i mean, how irrational is that? my dh always brings them home for me. today i really wanted a zebra wallet since i have had my current wallet for YEARS. then i saw a childrens cd for my ds that i also really wanted. they were both fairly priced, but i just.could.not. buy both. naturally i bought the cd because my ds loves those songs, but now im stuck with my dirty old wallet! this seems silly, but it really is a problem. things that arent essential (toilet paper, food, basic clothes) arent being bought. things like curtains, extra pillow cases (we only have one for each pillow!) extra bibs, "nice" decorative things, etc. i really need help. i LOVE shopping, but i never come back with anything, except something really, really small. and on clearance.

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#2 of 18 Old 12-09-2010, 08:52 AM
 
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I have this problem in some ways too. And it's not always financially smart-- sometime I'll spend a lot of time/energy and money making an item it seemed to be to expensive to buy. And sometimes I do spend on the wallet, for example, and feel terribly guilty about it afterwords-- sometimes for weeks!

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#3 of 18 Old 12-09-2010, 02:11 PM
 
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I was just saying this to a friend last night! I can talk myself out of buying pretty much anything...

 

So, just sympathy here.

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#4 of 18 Old 12-09-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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Are you budgeting your income? Monthly or per pay cycle? It's ok to give yourself some money in the budget to blow on things that aren't "essential." Give yourself permission to have nice things, within reason.

 

Not that not spending is a huge problem, but if it's affecting your quality of life or causing you to feel extremely guilty then it's probably unhealthy for you and your family. It seems like you've swung to the other side of the spectrum from your parents, but maybe something closer to the middle will be more healthy for you.

 

Name the fears that keep you from spending, name the fears that make you feel guilty when you do spend on non-essentials. Sometimes voicing our concerns is enough for us to figure out what is distracting mental chatter vs what is a real tangible concern. Let go of the fears that seem ridiculous once you voice them and examine the ones that seem more realistic. Take baby steps toward a more balanced view of money/spending.


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#5 of 18 Old 12-09-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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It took me years to get comfortable with spending money too. :) I still don't buy full-priced things much (unless they're food) and feel those fancier stuff are for richer people or something.  But we haven't been poor for many years.You can start with giving yourself an allowance, maybe buy yourself something once a month to get used to spending.  You can set that allowance small if you're worried about spending too much.  Sometimes the satisfaction from a little something not necessary can be quite worth the money. :)  Like a book, an ice cream cone, a new hair barrette, some cute socks, craft supplies...etc. 


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#6 of 18 Old 12-09-2010, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by althara View Post

Are you budgeting your income? Monthly or per pay cycle? It's ok to give yourself some money in the budget to blow on things that aren't "essential." Give yourself permission to have nice things, within reason.

 

Not that not spending is a huge problem, but if it's affecting your quality of life or causing you to feel extremely guilty then it's probably unhealthy for you and your family. It seems like you've swung to the other side of the spectrum from your parents, but maybe something closer to the middle will be more healthy for you.

 

Name the fears that keep you from spending, name the fears that make you feel guilty when you do spend on non-essentials. Sometimes voicing our concerns is enough for us to figure out what is distracting mental chatter vs what is a real tangible concern. Let go of the fears that seem ridiculous once you voice them and examine the ones that seem more realistic. Take baby steps toward a more balanced view of money/spending.


(bolding mine) 

we are just starting to budget. so maybe that will help to see things on paper.

 

it is affecting the quality of my life! i look like a mess. my clothes are OLD. just this month my dh forced me to buy some new tops, which has helped my confidence and mood, but he literally had to drag me to the mall. everything i found was on clearance, but they didnt look cheap or anything. i guess that would be a baby step. i was excited to get some new tops, but during the ride to the mall, i was honestly having a panic attack at the thought of buying something for no real reason.

my house, although not poor, is sparse and old. all of my decorations are from my teenage years, when my mom would buy me things. living room  furniture and our bed set was a wedding gift from the in laws. we dont have any dressers. we dont have enough hangers. half of our towels are from dhs bachelor days. our kitchen table was given to us.  our splurge is our TV and living room rug. most of my boys clothes were from ds1 bday, and now ds2 wears his hand me downs. dh has had the same clothes for years.

 

im still thinking about the third bolded line...
 

 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poddi View Post

It took me years to get comfortable with spending money too. :) I still don't buy full-priced things much (unless they're food) and feel those fancier stuff are for richer people or something.  But we haven't been poor for many years.You can start with giving yourself an allowance, maybe buy yourself something once a month to get used to spending.  You can set that allowance small if you're worried about spending too much.  Sometimes the satisfaction from a little something not necessary can be quite worth the money. :)  Like a book, an ice cream cone, a new hair barrette, some cute socks, craft supplies...etc. 



this! we are not poor anymore! but it has such lasting effects. maybe im afraid it will all go away...


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#7 of 18 Old 12-09-2010, 09:06 PM
 
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I am like that too, but I think I'm just starting to break out of it a little. We've been financially stable for a long time, and right now we are in a really good place with our jobs, so there's no reason I can't buy a pair of Keens for winter when they are the only shoes that my crappy feet don't hurt in. I actually felt like I needed my doctor's permission to buy new shoes! And I still scoured for sales (and found what I wanted for under $40! New! SCORE!) My mom and I used to shop for sport when I was a teenager and we were excellent at finding good bargains. She's trained me well, but I have a hard time spending money even when I can afford it. DH is worse, especially with clothes, but he's starting to come around a little too.
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#8 of 18 Old 12-15-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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I can relate to all of this.  My great-grandmother (who raised her three sisters as well as her own three children while working as a sharecropper during the Great Depression!) once told me she was impressed with how far i can stretch a dollar LOL!

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#9 of 18 Old 12-16-2010, 12:27 PM
 
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Lots of great advice already.

What was most freeing for me was having and following a budget.  Once there was a budget, I knew everything was paid for and we'd not lack, and we'd have savings.  Then I felt comfortable spending within my budget.  And everythign was budgeted for:  clothing, kids furnishings, spending, entertainment, etc.


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#10 of 18 Old 12-19-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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I have the exact same problem!

 

In our case things have only been financially 'good' for the past 6 months or so, since I've started working more. It's not like we can afford new furniture or anything, but we do have more than enough to cover all our needs, plus some wants. But I have a major problem with spending any money at all on wants- even buying chewing gum for myself sometimes. A few little purchases like that each month is not going to kill our budget!

 

I have done the exact same with the Amy's frozen dinners- I only eat them at my mom's house, and have never actually bought them for myself even though I love them. My work shoes are falling apart, with holes in back of heels, but I have yet to buy new ones, even though they are a definite 'need' since I'm on my feet so much at work.

 

The only time I feel okay buying stuff for myself is if someone gives me a gift card. This is why I always tell people that I want gift cards if they ask what I want for gifts- it's guilt free spending!

 

I agree about setting aside a specific category in the budget for fun money. I feel a lot less guilt on the issue on months when I do this, cause then I feel like it's 'legit' spending.


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#11 of 18 Old 12-23-2010, 03:07 AM
 
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I'm with you guys. My grandfather actually made fun of our thriftiness in our wedding speech... and he was a depression baby, so that's saying a lot!

 

But both of our families struggled growing up, largely due to spending choices, rather than true financial limitations. It's made us scared to splurge for ourselves.


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#12 of 18 Old 12-27-2010, 11:42 AM
 
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You know what, I am exactly the same, & just started 'loosening up' a bit over the past ~6 months or so with very occasionally spending $10 a month or so on non-essentials. It was nice but I am overall very glad I mostly stuck to my miserly ways because my DH just unexpectedly got laid off & because we live so frugally & saved so much, we will not have to make any adjustments to our lifestyle or anything (well, unless this goes on long-term and we have to sell the house or something!) I see no need to spend anything extra, if we have extra beyond what we need in savings then we give more to charity or something. BUT I do think if you have job security & have a good savings fund then you could budget yourself a certain amount for extras. Start small, maybe $5 a week (or a month, if that works with your budget), so you can occasionally get your frozen dinner or some other little treat. As you get more comfortable spending, you can increase a bit to $10 or $15 if you want or just be content with your $5 'allowance'...


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#13 of 18 Old 01-01-2011, 10:21 PM
 
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Gosh, I can relate to this thread.   I actually think I am getting  TOO cheap!  If that is possible!

 

I get severe sticker shock whenever I enter a normal store, I am so used to thrift store shopping and getting free hand me downs from generous friends!  I'm like, I can't believe people pay this much for stuff!  And I really dislike buying new when used will do.  

 

I have been in the market for hiking boots (sorely needed) for.... six months!  I would actually buy these new, but I refuse to pay the prices asked at the stores where I live.  If I buy some from the states, customs fees may nail me.  So meanwhile I go without boots.

 

I got a little cash from family, and decided to splurge on one cd (I am old school and don't have iPod and whatnot).  Well I couldn't even bring myself to pay the price they were online.   I can't find them used locally, and I don't want to illegally download.  So I guess I will go for a couple more years without buying any.

 

I'm proud to be frugal, but I am starting to think I have a disorder! : )   I think I am dangerously teetering on the edge of annoying.

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#14 of 18 Old 01-02-2011, 07:43 AM
 
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OP, in terms of your fears that are keeping you from being able to make reasonable purchases, it sounds like you're afraid of turning into your parents, of not having enough, and maybe of not being able to control yourself if you do start spending money on anything that isn't completely essential. From what you said, it seems like it feels to you almost like it's an all-or-nothing thing: either you don't spend and you go without things that you could reasonably afford, or you spend uncontrollably and end up maxing out credit cards, declaring bankruptcy, etc. In your mind you obviously know that there are a lot of degrees between those extremes, and a lot of the strategies that PPs have pointed out are good for figuring out how to live between the extremes. I think the recommendation to use a budget to decide how much you can spend is an excellent one. Give yourself a set amount every month to spend, and then make sure that you actually do spend it. (Maybe your DH could help with accountability on that.) I think once you do that a few times and see that you can spend only what you had planned to spend, and nothing bad happens when you do, the feelings of anxiety will lessen and it will start to feel easier.


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#15 of 18 Old 01-02-2011, 03:52 PM
 
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Me too mama! My dh will hand me cash and say "please get some clothes"! He helps me the most. Having things budgeted does help me as well. Like you, my parents are unnecessarily in a financial disaster because of over-spending (it was like that growing up too just with the economy and such it has all come to a head now). I get afraid if I loosed up a little and buy some $10 thing then we'll end up there. I have even felt guitly about dental work! Not very rational but I am working on it too :)


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#16 of 18 Old 01-03-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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guilty of the same thing, i just feel aweful spending money on stuff, but dh can and not think anything of it, I always have buyers remorse, even for items i paid 2$ for or things that are needed. I wish i could stop being this way. We do have some debt, so that may be why i am like that, like i feel guilty i have started buying soon to be #2 things, because they are needed yet, but will be needed. It is horrible. I don't know how to be at peace with this issue myself.


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#17 of 18 Old 01-17-2011, 02:33 PM
 
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I had the same problem. Finally I decided that it was actually hurting me professionally to not have any decent clothes.


 

 

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#18 of 18 Old 01-18-2011, 12:42 AM
 
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Whew...thank goodness I am not the only one!!  This thread made me feel sooo much better!  :) 


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