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?