What It’s Like to Feel Guilty About Every Purchase You Make

How a bad financial situation ruined my relationship with money.

For the past decade, my parents have struggled financially. There are days filled will stress, hopelessness, and days when one of my parents cries.

Our bad financial situation fucked up my relationship with money. For a while, I hated it. I didn’t want to make it, and I believed it was evil and the root of all of our problems.

I know that’s not true anymore. It’s the lack of money that screws you over.

If we had more of it, we could get our own home, my parents, their own room, and we’d buy a car rather than using my grandparents’, which abnormally sways.

I’ve fixed a lot of my issues with money, but not everything. I still get shocked when I see people spend money without care. Not in a reckless, dumb way, but in an I-don’t-regret-what-I-buy kind of way.

Sometimes, I’d go out with friends, and they’d buy random things they liked — a mug, a cute shirt, or stuffed animal.

I never bought anything, and it wasn’t because I didn’t have money.

I feel guilty about every basically every purchase I make.

I wish I could say I didn’t spend without care because I’m responsible, but the truth is, I’m afraid of spending my money.

I feel if I spend it, it’ll run out. Or I’ll think I should’ve saved it to buy something smarter or saved it for my parents, just in case they need it for an extra hard day.

I debate every purchase I make. I can’t just buy something I like. I have to think about it for a long time first. I’ll ask my sisters if I should buy it or if it’s a smart choice.

They don’t judge me because they’re the same way. We all struggle.

Even if I want to buy a chocolate bar for a dollar at the grocery store, I have to repeat to myself, “It’s just a dollar. It’s just a dollar.”

I feel guilty about basically every purchase I make. A thirty-dollar Wonder Woman crewneck. A fifteen-dollar self-help book. A three-dollar Hazelnut coffee.

I fight myself before every purchase.

Everything is questioned. I think about what I bought hours after, and I always regret them. I feel so fucking guilty.

Again — I wish I could say I feel guilty because I know I should be smart and save it, but I just feel guilty because I shouldn’t spend money in general.

Spending money is a bad thing.

I used to check my bank account after every purchase obsessively. I knew exactly how much I’d have left, but I wanted to see if the money was still there.

I think a part of myself wanted me to feel guilty about spending. I wanted to punish myself by looking at the number, which was smaller than it’d been before I bought something.

I fight myself before every purchase.

Right now, I want to buy a Freewrite. It’s a distraction-free typewriter with an e-screen. It has access to WiFi, but only enough to upload your work to the cloud.

I want it, not only because it would eliminate distractions that come with a laptop, but mostly because I spend so much time on my laptop that my eyes are dry at the end of the day.

It’s about six-hundred dollars total, and I think it’s a worthy investment.

Of course, my limiting beliefs don’t think so.

A part of me is telling me not to be an idiot and not spend so much money on something I don’t need. I have a perfectly good working laptop right here.

But I’ll continue using it because you can’t edit on a Freewrite. I also run a Facebook group and a publication. I didn’t spend money on this just to let it go to waste.

Still, do I really need it? I can use eyedrops.

See?

That’s me naturally trying to fight myself.

(I was going to erase this part, but it’s a real process of what the discussion looks like in my head. It might seem fine for a big purchase, but I have that same conversation even if I want to spend just ten bucks on a goddamn puzzle.)

All of this was subconsciously learned because of the struggle my family has gone through.

I’m twenty-one. I don’t want to have this fucking struggle and shitty relationship with money.

The only time I don’t feel guilty is when I spend money on experiences because they’re memories I hold, but when it comes to materials… that’s when everything goes to hell.

But I don’t want to be in this hell anymore.

I just want to spend money without care. I don’t want to be irresponsible and recklessly spend, but I want to spend money without feeling guilty every goddamn time.

It’s just money!

And yet — it’s money.

Money we don’t ever seem to have enough of. Money I should save. Money I shouldn’t spend.

I love it. I hate it. I hate that I have to feel anything toward it.

Why can’t it just be there?

Why do I need to have an entire battle around it?

I don’t want to fight it anymore.

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