As A Woman, Why Can’t I Enjoy Spending My Own, Hard-Earned Money?

I often find it difficult to spend on myself, and it is not about the money. It is all about deciding what I would rather spend my money on and that is what it should be all about.

I often find it difficult to spend on myself, and it is not about the money. It is all about deciding what I would rather spend my money on and that is what it should be all about.

Have you ever bought things for all your family and then denied yourself something you wanted? I have done that, more than often.

I have stood many times watching others shop without a care in the world while I just pick up something, looked at the tag, and put it right back on the counter. I have been trying to shop ‘expensive’ for years and I just can’t.

If you have never ever denied yourself, then that is indeed a big thumbs up for you. Of course there are many ways to enjoy life without having to spend money such as spending time with the family at home, taking walks, meeting friends and so on but why do some of us keep deny ourselves pleasures of life that need money to be spent.

My money, but…

Chinese businessman Jack Ma rightly says.. “Spending money is much more difficult than making money….”

I agree and so I often ask myself “Why can’t I just spend without thinking too much?” Besides, I did earn the money. The answer for me, is that habit of saving for the future that keeps popping up like a jack in the box every time.

Saving is a habit and most of us have been taught to believe will protect us from life’s uncertainties in future. Even more so, it also just points towards a total lack of planning. Okay, sometimes! Yet you know that you really can’t be prepared for everything that life will throw at you.

Once you have planned for something, saved for it, put aside an emergency fund, perhaps then you would be able let the worry go and move on. American writer, Samuel Johnson has said “A man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments.”

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Why don’t we spend on our simple pleasures?

Look around you and accept that the times have changed. Everyone is living for the now, the present. Even our children’s priorities and outlook to money has changed. Saving is just one part of their lives and not the be-all and end-all of things.

Besides, what are we earning the money for, if not to spend it? Of course we have the responsibilities of family and living expenses, but that should not make us so scared that we forget to enjoy simple pleasures.

Simple guilty pleasures like that handbag in the window, that pair of shoes, perhaps the latest mobile model, that jacket (never mind if it never snows in your country). The pure joy of browsing around and picking up little things that you may use once, or just look at it and wonder “why in heaven’s name did I even pick this one up?!”

Even so and no matter if it lies on the shelf or in a cupboard for years, you should never stop to enjoy spending some of your money on the things you love and on things that will make you happy. Definitely, do not just spend for the sake of spending and never ‘to save for the abstract future’, without a specified goal.

It’s about choosing what to spend on

Do I struggle with money issues or feel the need to save for a meal the next day. No, but it is just that I tell myself that I can do without spending on that something most times.

It is a more calculated spending that I indulge in. Perhaps on art and craft material instead of clothes or shoes, or telling myself that I need not travel by the crowded local or take an upcountry train because I can afford a taxi or plane ride instead. My husband still prefers to use the metro or the bus despite my telling him that he could take a cab. That is his choice, not a necessity, and that is not a bad thing either. On a lighter note, more for me to spend.

It is all about deciding what I would rather spend my money on and that is what it should be all about.

There are many reasons why one may not want to spend. It could be that list of payments to make at the end of each month or are living each day as it comes. Whatever the reason, everyone needs to keep track of their income and ensure that you are not spending more than you earn.

The biggest guilt is of course the fear that you could have spent towards something better or more important instead. So I guess the trick is to budget and put things into perspective because some expenses will always be necessary.

The younger generation seems to have fewer constraints

Keep this quote by actor Will Rogers in mind too, that goes “Too many people spend money they buy things they don’t want… to impress people that they don’t like”. It is just about finding that line between needless reckless spending, and treating yourself within reason. I will still repeat here that spending hard-earned money without feeling guilty is still difficult for most.

Today the financial constraints seem to be much less for the youth. Yet saving for the future is a thought that they will not agree to, but there is a reason. Consider the fact that most of these youngsters are away from their homes living in different cities and have the luxury of spending their hard earned money on themselves far more than earlier times. Most of them do not even feel the need to invest in buying a house, since they are more keen to explore new job opportunities the world has to offer. Most will not even retire from one place of work.

Do you think the fear of the future worries them and they beat themselves up over it? Never, because they have mastered the art of using money the right way and enjoying it too. For them the work pressures are much more than that of generations before them, and so it is no wonder the weekend means living it up. Who can blame them and yet when they do decide to settle, I have seen that they are better equipped to handle themselves than most people would have been able to in the past.

Retail therapy can be good

It is okay to buy yourself small treats once in a while, just so long as it is manageable at the end of the month.

Did you know that shopping actually can be good for you. It causes your brain to release more Serotonin, a happy chemical that is believed to help regulate mood and social behaviour? It makes you feel good.

So if you are having not a great day, maybe you can indulge in a little mood booster with a little bit of random shopping once in a while. For me it is indeed my stress buster.

There are innumerable platforms for on-line grocery shopping with home deliveries but uuuuhhh, I love pushing that shopping cart and browsing the shelves in the super market. Without any doubt I will end up picking things that I could definitely do without, but then what is the harm in that? That’s the one place where I am actually able to spend my money without a thought and guilt. Come on, you and I both know that we all have that one shop or one store where we shop without the guilt.

There is nothing wrong in indulging. Who has seen tomorrow? And no one knows what life has in store for us. Saving money is important, but we know that we don’t get to take it to the grave with us so it is better to save and spend and enjoy your money. It is yours after all.

Let me leave you with a thought by Benjamin Franklin that says “Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.”

Image source: pixabay

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Effective administrator, coordinator & communicator,retired with 38 yrs of experience as Manager,Corp.Commn,ICICI Bank.Invited back as consultant after retirement to archive history of the bank. Hold event management diploma from NIEM, read more...

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