How to Spend & Not Feel Guilty
Unless you’re a billionaire, chances are you’ve experienced that gloomy feeling after treating yourself that you could’ve spent the money on something else. Something more useful. More functional. The thing is, there will always be something more sensible to do with your money than spending it on yourself. So how do you handle the guilt and stop feeling bad for spending your hard-earned money on you?
I'm not advocating just frivolously frittering away all of our money on lattes, but we also totally need to be able to feel good about spending money on ourselves. First off, remember it isn’t always as straightforward as where is the money ‘most sensibly’ spent - often, spending money is required to improve our health, to socialise with friends and family and to explore and enrich our lives through new experiences. Whilst you don’t have to go out every night of the week, keep in mind that time is a valuable resource and it’s limited, too - so enjoy those experiences.
One key step to avoiding spending guilt that I swear by, is factoring in non-negotiables to my budget. For each person, non-negotiables will vary and admittedly, the ability to have these requires a level of privilege, but it also is a way to stay sane when trying to save and hit goals without sacrificing your everyday lifestyle. For some, the non-negotiable will be daily coffee. I have friends who will absolutely not change the brand of their skincare, despite cheaper alternatives on the market - for them, the difference it makes to how they feel about their appearance far outweighs the cost sacrifice. What's my major non-negotiable? Nails. If you aren’t in the regular nail maintenance camp, you’ll find this alien but honestly: well manicured nails make me feel like a better version of myself.
So how do I keep myself (and my nails) on point without feeling guilty that I could be spending that money elsewhere? I budget for it. When my boyfriend and I looked at our finances together, we both went through our expenses and one of mine just so happened to be nails. Luckily, these cost less per month than BT Sport so there was no room for protest...
Another way to allow for spontaneous purchases without the spending guilt? Set yourself aside a ‘fun fund’ which you can add to, and draw from, as and when you feel like it. This fund can be whatever size you like, but it means that when you really want a treat (mine are usually food related) you can spend the money without thinking twice. I use a Monzo pennies pot here, which rounds up all my spending to the nearest pound and deposits the difference into a pot, so I don’t even notice it accumulating. Even without this feature, try setting aside a small amount every week or month to allow yourself a little guilt-free spending.