Have you ever made a mistake? One that you felt bad or guilty about? How did you deal with these emotions?
If you’ve ever felt guilty about spending money, consider money guilt and plain guilt the same emotion – BECAUSE it is!!
Before you can stop feeling guilty about anything, you need to dive deeper and think about why and where these feelings are coming from. Guilt is a mix of emotions – it can be anger, sadness, fear or others – and they are all valid.
In this blog, we’re going to go on a journey of discovering what money guilt is, how it impacts us, and productive ways to deal with money guilt. By the end of this article, my hope for you is to be equipped with actionable steps that can help you remove the guilt out of your finances.
What is money guilt?
First, let’s dive deeper into what money guilt actually is. It’s this heavy emotion we carry, and yet can’t seem to let go because we think it’s a matter of life and death.
So what is money guilt?
… a bullshit term meant to keep you in check. (Oops, was that my outside voice?)
There’s a distinct difference between you struggling to pay bills and buying a PlayStation than someone spending more on themselves because they can afford to.
Society tends to dictate our actions, especially “how” we should spend our money. “Spending above your means”, or what seems like it, is frowned upon because the theory is everyone should strive to be rich.
However, you don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to feel guilty about spending your money. This is where money guilt stems from. It’s your money and you have the freedom AND choice to do with it what you wish. Not everyone has to “achieve wealth” or success. Some people are damn happy simply living their best life – and if spending money on the latest gadget, shoes, or your daily Starbucks does that for you – then nobody (and I mean NOBODY) should be able to tell you otherwise.
Be careful what values you’re holding on to as gospel, especially if it’s simply because “society” acts this way.
IS it okay to spend on yourself?
OF COURSE IT IS!!! It’s YOUR money.
The thing with budgets I find is that they’re very similar to diets. Which means, they’re limiting and oftentimes restrictive. But what’s more alarming is the number of people I talk to who don’t budget THEMSELVES into the equation.
We budget for taxes, bills, debt, but how often do we have a “guilt free budget” that we give ourselves?
Financial “well-being” includes your personal well being as well. And what’s ironic is that when you don’t budget for yourself, you actually end up spending MORE… (or was that just me?)
Most diets have a “guilt-free meal or snack” or even encourage you to balance healthy eating with desserts that you love. It feel less restricting, you’re less likely to cheat on your diet, and you actually enjoy the journey.
The same goes for money – even if you’re tight, give yourself a guilt-free spending fund. Think of it as putting fuel in your own gas tank.
Productive ways to deal with money guilt
Mind the human. A bit of an odd phrase isn’t it?
Gurus and experts will always tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, but rarely are emotions ever brought into the conversation. But emotions ARE what makes us HUMAN!!
Listen, I’m not talking about taking your rent money to go gamble at the casino (that’s an addiction), but I do want to normalize the conversation surrounding emotions and money. When experts speak on this, they’re mostly referring to being practical NOT emotionless.
When I start feeling guilty about anything, here are 5 checkpoints I take myself through:
- Acknowledge the feeling
- Ask myself why I’m feeling this way
- Ask myself if the purchase is a need
- Ask myself what or how did this purchase serve me? (mental health counts in this too. Check out my blog for my own guilt spending story)
- Acknowledge whatever choice I made, feel it, then release
The point is, we can’t change the past or how we acted, but we CAN forgive and accept ourselves.
Sometimes when going through this process, you’ll realize that there’s nothing to forgive! When we judge ourselves, it’s often from a place of judging ourselves through the eyes of another. Perhaps someone from your past used to make fun of you or scold you for making these purchases and now you feel guilty for spending money on food.
Whatever your reason – embrace your choices as YOUR own. Feel the emotions and release.
Because the truth is, EVERYONE else is in the same boat as you. We have all felt guilty of spending money at one point or another. Some people just choose to move past it and seek freedom.
Worth the reminder.
My husband shared his wisdom with me, and I’ve shared this in another blog too, but it’s always worth another reminder.
“Shame is given, guilt is felt.”
Allow yourself a safe space to feel and reflect. It’s okay to spend on yourself and it’s even okay to overspend. There’s no such thing as perfection or right and wrong when it comes to personal finances unless it’s about what’s right for YOU.
The best financial plan won’t mean shit if you’re stressed out AF every second of living it.
Today, deploy compassion and grace for yourself.
Now – go kick some ass!