Fear to Spend Money

My friend from Moscow has been staying with me this week. I didn’t take any days off work to spend more time with N (simply because I have used all my paid holiday allocation for this year) but I would meet her after work, and we would usually go to a nice restaurant for dinner.

Eating out in London can be pretty cheap, but not when you eat out every single night. Things add up fairly quickly and before you know it you’ve spent a ton of money. Although I was financially prepared for N’s visit because I set aside some money to spend, it wasn’t as easy to part with my hard-earned cash as I’d thought. Who would have thought that this girl, who was once a huge spender, would find it hard to part with a £20 note to pay for dinner? Have I become cheap? *Horror*

I guess this is pretty normal for someone who has spent the past five months concentrating on paying off her debts and doing everything she can to pay off even more  of these debts. I haven’t had an entertainment budget for the first three months into my journey to debt freedom, and apart from a few networking events I attended with work, I had no entertainment of any kind apart from the one that I didn’t have to pay for. Since October, my entertainment budget has gone up to £100 each month, but… I try not to spend it. Shocking, I know! The money is there for me to spend but I am having a hard time to actually go out and spend it.

Why? Am I afraid that I will fall back into my irresponsible spending pattern? Am I afraid that my emergency fund is pretty much non-existent, and I’d rather be saving than spending? Or is it a mixture of the two? I have to add that I have not been spending on my credit card (I use it for its rewards) but with cash instead. I can see why it can be emotionally harder to spend on a credit card, but this was not even the case.

I have budgeted exactly £100 for N’s visit (which is also my entertainment budget for the month which does not include my spending money while travelling), and I have spent exactly £71.49 on dining out in four days. What can I say? This girl loves her food! I am probably a stone heavier too. Despite the fact that I’d rather see this money in my savings account, and I had my doubts about spending it, I don’t regret spending it.

So this is what I am going to do. I will let go of that fear to spend. I won’t start spending often and I won’t be spending much, but if there is something worth spending on, I will go for it! Debt repayment journey is not an easy one, and those who are on this journey deserve a little treat every now and again, too. There is no point in punishing yourself for your past mistakes and deprive yourself of a nice meal out from time to time.  I am not saying that you should go out and blow a fortune; I am talking about an occasional treat from time to time that will fit into your budget. As long as I am happy with my debt repayment progress, I will have no trouble spending £100 on occasional splurges each month. Yes, I should probably be throwing this money towards my debt, but I also recognise that I need a bit of fun money. I am actually planning a visit to a hair salon next month as I’m long overdue for a haircut! Also, it’s Christmas, and this will be my little gift to myself! 😉

Have you ever had this fear to spend? Do you think it’s important to splurge from time to time or do you think that any extra cash should go towards debt repayment/savings? What is your Christmas gift to yourself?

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30 Comments

  1. To be honest, I almost need a little bit of that fear daily. I let my guard down in Sept and Oct, and now I’m trying to play catch up again. I don’t mind spending money, but I need to be very, very, very conscious of it all the time. Maybe that’s my lot in life. I don’t know…but while I’m on a tight budget I need to think in those terms. My Christmas gift to myself is just be more present. I already have a half marathon paid for as well as a trip, so I really don’t “need” anything else. I’ll probably get a massage once a month (cheap one) to aid in 1/2 marathon training. OK fine, I’ll enjoy it too. 🙂

  2. I’ve never had and still don’t have fear to spend. Perhaps I should haha. 😉 This debt repayment journey is a long one for me so if I don’t treat myself once in a while I will surely go crazy and lose inspiration. I couldn’t agree more with your line about how there’s no need to punish ourselves for past mistakes. You just learn from it, move on and don’t repeat. That’s so awesome you have your spending under control and a healthy attitude about it Eva. 🙂
    Girl Meets Debt recently posted…Ask the Reader: What is Your Financial Achilles’ Heel?My Profile

    1. “You just learn from it, move on and don’t repeat.” This is so true! I’ve got a long journey too but I keep thinking that perhaps I started spending too early in the debt repayment process. I think £100 a month is a reasonable amount, although I keep thinking that I would stop worrying about it if I reduced it to £50 instead!
      Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies recently posted…Fear to Spend MoneyMy Profile

  3. Wow does your post resonate with me! I am paying off debt as well and find it incredibly difficult to spend money. I feel so guilty knowing that the money I spend should be going toward my debt even though I am making hefty payments towards it.

    Thanks for such a great and timely post!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Talia! I am glad I am now alone, I really am! Your comment made me feel so much better. I think the key is to find the right balance. I’m now thinking of cutting down my entertainment budget to £50 per month as I think I won’t feel so guilty 😉
      Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies recently posted…Fear to Spend MoneyMy Profile

  4. I definitely have the fear of spending! I can get really anxious when making what I think is an unnecessary purchase – like a meal out – and it can really upset my whole day. I know I need to get better about this. There has to be a balance between spending frivolously and where I’m at now! But it’s nice to know I’m not the only one struggling with this – thanks for sharing your experience! Hopefully we can let go of our fear of spending together 😀
    Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial recently posted…Twenty Things Twenty-Somethings Should Know About MoneyMy Profile

    1. You’re definitely not the only one struggling, Kali! I’ve been debating over it over a week now. I don’t feel guilty I’ve spent some money on dining out, what’s done is done and I have to say it was worth it! Going forward, I’ll probably cut down on entertainment a bit. £100 each month suddenly seems like a lot! 😛
      Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies recently posted…Fear to Spend MoneyMy Profile

  5. I think spending £71 on 4 nights out dining is pretty good going! I have a fear of spending money though – I feel very uncomfortable having to pay for things like getting my hair done once every three months but I do part with the cash begrudgingly in the end. I budget for it but I don’t like spending it!
    Hayley @ A Disease Called Debt recently posted…Budgeting and Debt BarriersMy Profile

  6. Letting go of that fear was not easy for me, as well, but it helped once I started trusting in myself, if that makes sense. I’m glad you’re enjoying time with your friend, and not regretting it – I think expenses like these (as well as travel and a snazzy haircut!) are worthwhile experiences.
    anna recently posted…Confessing My Wedding CostsMy Profile

    1. To be fair, I don’t think it’s that I don’t trust myself and fear that I won’t be able to stop spending. I feel guilt when I spend. I know there is this huge debt to take care of and here I am at a restaurant having a good time. This just doesn’t sit well with me for some reason. I guess once or twice each month is okay, but 4 times in 4 days… I feel guilty 😉
      Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies recently posted…Fear to Spend MoneyMy Profile

  7. I don’t have a fear of spending but I am mindful of my spending. Kinda. I can be am impulse shopper when I see sales, but I am trying to step back and reconsider before buying things. I find that there are some things I have no problem dropping money on; other things, more so and I’m trying to not spend on the things that make me hesitate.
    Emily @ Urban Departures recently posted…The Weekend Edition No. 5My Profile

    1. I think this is great you give yourself time to reconsider buying something. I’m fairly impulsive in general and sometimes when I’ve got my mind set on something, it’s not easy to let go. I have to learn how to be more practical while you have already mastered it! 😉
      Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies recently posted…Fear to Spend MoneyMy Profile

  8. That’s a tricky one, Eva. I can see how a certain amount of fear probably yields positive results as it keeps our spending in check. But there’s got to be a way to responsibly spend, still achieve our goals, and to unburden ourselves from that fear. If you figure out how, you let me know. 😉
    Done by Forty recently posted…They Want to Help You…My Profile

  9. Here is the way I see it…paying off debt is just one facet on your life, in the grand scheme of things, important, but it shouldn’t stop one from enjoying their lives. I splurge once in a while and as long as its within the budget am quite happy with it. The only mistake would be to take debt repayment so seriously that we miss out all the fun on the way only to reach no-debt status and realize, we didn’t have fun on the journey!
    Simon @ Modest Money recently posted…Out of the Box Way to Pay Off DebtMy Profile

  10. I know what you mean! Ever since I’ve been more mindful of my spending, it’s harder for me to part with a few bucks. Which I think is a good thing – it forces me to really evaluate whether a purchase is worth it or not. This includes dinners/nights out – they’re okay in moderation, and I’m okay spending on it as long as I still have control.
    Lisa E. recently posted…Links Lisa Likes – 11/11/13My Profile

  11. When I was paying down debt, I didn’t have a fear of spending so much as I had guilt over spending. Whenever I bought myself something, it felt wrong – like I’d broken some kind of rule. I still feel that way sometimes, but always remind myself there has to be a balance to it all: live, get out of debt, save and enjoy.
    Cait recently posted…TGIF: Seriously Rethinking the Flu ShotMy Profile

  12. I think you are over the biggest hurdle from the tone of the post: you don’t see eating out as part of your “food budget” from what i can tell.

    Eating out with friends is OK, as long as you see it for what it is – time for connection & conversation with those near & dear to you.

    It’s when someone sticks their frequent eating out into their food budget & are then like “but i don’t see how i can trim my food budget any more” is when someone is in trouble!

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