Why Do I Feel Bad When I Spend Money On Myself?

I used to have so much trouble spending money “just for me.”

In college, I worked three jobs, volunteered, and tithed hundreds of dollars to my church … and I couldn’t pull the trigger on a $15 gift for myself.

Before I graduated from Vassar, I wanted to buy a coffee mug from my favorite cafe … but I couldn’t do it. Spending money on that “selfish” purchase was too anxiety-producing.

Why do I feel bad when I spend money on myself? I wondered. 

It only took me about 10 years, but I did go back to that cafe for a mug. As I handed over my credit card, I felt a shimmer of the old fear: Was this a bad idea?

But now every time I use my favorite mug, I smile. I’m so glad I made that purchase, particularly as the cafe closed last year.

Why do I feel bad when I spend money on myself?

Can you relate?

Are you the kind of person who wouldn’t think twice about getting a great gift for your best friend or your kid … yet you don’t feel like you have permission to buy something beneficial for yourself?

Why Do I Feel Bad When I Spend Money on Myself?

Deep down, you know that it isn’t about budgets and balance sheets. It’s about maintaining control. Long ago, we learned that it wasn’t safe to put ourselves first, so we don’t dare to risk it.

Perfectionists like us do NOT feel comfortable loosening the tight rein we’ve placed on ourselves. We’d prefer to be in command, thank you very much.

Even if you don’t obsess about minor purchases like mugs, I bet you have your own version of clinging to control and being stingy with yourself.

  • Maybe you don’t take a day off, even though you really want to rest.
  • Maybe you don’t let someone else do the laundry, even though they offered.
  • Maybe you don’t set boundaries, even though you say things like, “My life is too crazy” and “I want to do less.”

In all of these instances, there’s a disconnect. Part of you wants to make a change, and part of you is really scared to be kind to yourself.

I get it, I do.

There’s a lot of beauty in giving to others. But sometimes there’s even more strength and courage in giving to yourself.

Do You Dare to Be Generous … With Yourself?

Today, I’d like to challenge you to be as generous with yourself as you are with others.

In that spirit, I invite you to get lifetime access to this season’s Clarity Course Series interviews. The bundle includes all 10 interviews and free gift links, plus downloadable versions so you can watch anytime, anywhere.

The replay period has ended, but for this weekend ONLY, you can get this graduate-level course in clarity for just $37. As of Monday, the 25% discount disappears and series returns to its full price of $49. Now is the time to get lifetime access.

What do you say? Are you ready to change your old patterns and be kind to yourself?

If so, I’m raising my glass – okay, my mug – to you.

***

Liked this post? Receive your free Perfectionist Recovery Toolkit, featuring Getting Real & Letting Go: A Collection of Quotes for Recovering Perfectionists, the 5 Day Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Real Email Challenge, & more!

Enter Your Email

Solemn No Spam Vow: I promise never to share your email with anyone else.