3 Steps To Get Rid Of The Fear Of Spending Money
Do you have a fear of spending money?
My wife and I have lived in the same house for over 15 years. It’s been the only one we’ve ever lived in and we’ve made lots of great memories raising our two boys there.
A few months ago she decided that the time had come to have the talk… the “house” talk that is!!
Looking back, I think that one of the main things that hold doctors and other high-income professionals back is buying too much house (AKA the “doctor” house) early in their careers.
Trust me, I get that living in a nice home is something that most of us want (especially after renting for 8+ years while in school.) But if you only wait 3-4 years and clean up the student loan debt, you’ll be amazed at how much quicker you’ll be on your way to financial freedom.
Anyway, I knew that this conversation would be coming at some point with my wife and was pleasantly surprised that it took this long as I don’t like to spend money.
Let me clarify that. I don’t like to spend money on things that I don’t value.
When she told me that she’d been waiting years to get a “nicer” home for entertaining and have her family visit more (no comment!), I could see that it was important to her. I’ve been married long enough to realize that even though something isn’t that important to me (and it is to her), I must learn to compromise.
That’s what marriage is about.
Give and take.
So we started looking for another home and after months of searching we found the perfect spot. But it came with a cost…
The Fear Of Spending Money
Fake news is a hot topic these days and it’s sad that many of the things we read and hear about may not be true. This is something that I recently relayed to my kids, don’t believe everything you read, especially on social media.
I’ve made a point on this site to be as transparent as possible. If I can help someone relate to a certain situation that I’ve experienced in the past then I’ve succeeded.
This is one of the reasons why I share personal experiences and my thought process during the decision making I do.
With that being said, let’s get back to our story.
As I stated earlier, one of the main factors that lead us down the path to financial freedom is the home you decide on purchasing.
Two other factors are:
- living below your means
- learning to save and invest early in life
For years we’ve followed these and other factors to help us get to where we are today financially.
So I couldn’t understand why I was having such anxiety after we recently closed on our new home. Spending money on something we enjoy should be exciting and not regretful, right?
That’s what I thought too.
After doing a bit of research, I learned that I had something that many others have…. a fear of spending money (AKA under spending). This can happen in people that have had a frugal mindset and have been paying down debt aggressively for many years.
While this isn’t always a bad thing, it can contribute to a scarcity mindset and prevent you from taking full advantage of your financial resources.
Here’s an extreme example featured on the Dave Ramsey show of someone that had saved 1.7 million and was afraid to spend it:
I can relate somewhat to the caller in the video above. I told my wife recently that I’m going to have to “learn” how to spend money in retirement when we have to “tap” our retirement accounts. Being a saver my whole life is going to be a hard habit break!
3 Steps To Start Enjoying Your Money Guilt-Free
One of the main reasons why people feel guilty about spending money is that they fear it could be going towards something else instead.
In my case, I’ve always felt that I could be putting money away for retirement or a future expense like college education or kid’s vehicle.
1) Live within your means and budget
Many times, this feeling of “guilt” is usually due to lack of budgeting or planning.
To combat this, simply setting up a budget can help. Unfortunately, the average person doesn’t have one. In fact, according to a Consumer Financial Literacy Survey, the majority of people (60%) said they didn’t have a budget. I actually think it’s higher than that.
As a financial coach, I teach all of my clients to give every dollar they earn a name.
Some of it can go towards bills, others towards goals, and there’s always a portion of each paycheck that’s reserved for investing for retirement.
Also, if someone doesn’t have an emergency fund, then a portion goes towards fully funding it with 3-6 months of living expenses.
By setting up a financial plan, it’ll cause you to have a mental shift in the way you view spending money.
Instead of thinking that you should be doing something more responsible with it, you’ll come to the realization that you’re following a plan (bills are covered and savings are done) thus helping to lower your anxiety and fear.
2) Automate your investing
Another step to overcome the fear of spending is to get into the habit of saving/investing on a consistent basis. Once your budget is in place, create a specific category earmarked for saving/investing and then automate it.
Most recommend saving 10-15% per month (I aim for 20%+) which can be automatically drafted out of your check or personal/business account on a monthly basis.
After we max out our retirement accounts & 529 plans, we set aside a certain amount each month towards the real wealth building tool, real estate syndications.
If you automate your savings, it will allow your money to keep growing without you even having to think about it. If you can start this early enough, you’ll begin taking advantage of the magic of compound interest.
3) Spend a little for fun
Once you have your spending and investing plan in place, it’s time to relax, loosen up and enjoy what you REALLY like to do! As long as you’re not going into debt or neglecting your savings, spending extra money on what you enjoy shouldn’t be an issue.
Becoming a doctor took years of education and you make too much to not being able to both… save and spend a little for fun.
What’s the point of all the hard work if you can’t enjoy it?
It’s Not All About Money
The fear of spending money typically stems from someone that has been practicing the art of frugality for a long period of time. I can understand that when someone starts out in practice, their focus is typically working hard and making as much as possible to get rid of their debt. Typically they’re not thinking much about having “balance” in their lives.
But it’s important from the get-go to strike a healthy balance between work, family and how we want to live.
I remember early on in my career, a very wise person told me that “God already knows how much money you’re going to make over your career. Do you want to sacrifice spending time with your kids while they’re young or create a healthy balance so you can enjoy them now knowing He’s going to take care of you in the future.”
Bottom line, if you create and work a plan, spending money on things you enjoy should come much easier in the long run.