Submitted by aspiringsomebody t3_yhi8ks in personalfinance

Parents grew up very poor, and I grew up in an very frugal household. You didn’t buy something you could make in the garage or find at the thrift store.

Now that I’m older and financially well-off in my late 20s, I still really struggle with the concept of spending money on myself or something my parents would consider to be indulgent.

Logically, I know that’s ridiculous. I’m a grown man, and I should buy what I want within reason, but I can’t get over that emotional discomfort of spending money, particularly when that money is spent on myself. Even budgeting and seeing the leftover money in the spreadsheet doesn’t make click in my mind that it’s okay to spend it.

How have others overcome this? Decision framework, therapy, drunk-Amazon binge?



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wishforagiraffe t1_iudz0vo wrote

I think for what you describe, a decision framework might work best. Your decision framework is going to look different from anyone else's, but you might consider things like the value of your time (was making something in the garage really cheaper if your hourly salary is x amount, for instance), think about what's of most value to you (your free time, doing things you enjoy, feeling of accomplishment from figuring out how to fix the broken item, etc), and go from there.

And try to ignore the voice in your head of your parents, the way they interacted with money doesn't need to be how you interact with it.


findingmike t1_iue5asl wrote

This is what I needed. I'm a millionaire, but I didn't have a dishwasher. Eventually bought one because it saved me so much time.


Small-ish t1_iudyp6t wrote

Seems like adding a fun/frivolous line item in the budget is necessary. While excess funds are just that and available for any purpose naming it might help you make the leap.


sedatemalarkey t1_iudyte2 wrote

I mean, it’s not a bad thing to be frugal. Learn to invest wisely to ensure that frugality is put to good use. I think once you see it in terms of your path toward financial independence you’ll be in a better mindset to balance spending now and saving for the future


SconiGrower t1_iue0uak wrote

Money exists as a tool to move your life to a better place. If you don't want to buy garbage on Amazon, don't do it, money doesn't actually burn holes in your pocket. If you enjoy the challenge of fixing the lawn mower when it breaks, then it's fine to keep doing that.

What in your life causes you stress today? You might want to think about this for a few weeks or even months. Are you unhappy with your hobbies, social life, physical fitness, etc? Identifying the points in your life that are bringing you stress, unhappiness, and discontent is how you can put unallocated money to good use.

Of course I also acknowledge that money can't fix everything, many of life's problems require significant personal effort to resolve. If your stressor is poor communication with your spouse, you can't just pay money to make you both better communicators, but I would hope having extra money in the budget would make you realize you could afford some sessions with a licensed therapist to guide you, rather than trying to go at it alone.


le_fromage_puant t1_iue2ml7 wrote

I too grew up in a frugal family. House things only got replaced if my dad could no longer fix it, there was no such thing as a “refresh”, vacations were by car a couple times a year…you get the picture. And this mindset is strongly embedded in my DNA and money outlook.

I don’t replace things because they’re considered outdated or “old”. Still driving my 2010 Accord: yes I can afford something new, but I love this car, runs great and I don’t care. I have a standard refrigerator (that’s considered geriatric) with no icemaker, IDGAS about a smartfridge. I don’t toss my bootcut jeans for skinnies because some influencer says theyre “out” (plus I just look better in bootcut)

That said, I replace things when “new” has value TO ME. I buy myself nice jewelry, I’m drinking better wine lately. And I’m financially secure, THAT’S what’s important to me rather than spending more of my immediate disposable income


CorrectPeanut5 t1_iueb0vb wrote

Generally speaking major life events shake things up. Kids, marriage, restlessness. My friends that didn't have kids had epiphanies in their 30s that they can't take the money with them. The friends with kids wanted to spend to give the kids a better life than they had.


WoodsFinder t1_iue6djq wrote

Well, being more frugal than necessary is a lot better for your long term financial success than being less frugal than necessary and if you're happy with your life as it is I don't see a need to worry too much about it, but if the frugality is keeping you from doing things that you really want to do and can afford, then maybe you can try asking yourself whether spending a little more on something you want is going to create any financial hardship in the future and if you see that it won't, perhaps you'll feel a little better about doing it. I think you just want to be careful not to loosen up so much that you go too far - like sports stars or lottery winners that have many millions of dollars and then end up bankrupt because they adjusted their spending habits too much.

If it's really bothering you, maybe therapy could help with adjusting your thinking to a level of spending that's reasonable and still financially wise for your situation. But of course you'll have to pay for therapy so you'll have to decide if you think it's worth it.


soldiernerd t1_iuev80y wrote

If you have a 401k, are you maxing that? Are you maxing your IRA?


Linusthewise t1_iuesl1h wrote

I am a hyper saver. I save about a third of my income and cut out other things.

Because I'm saving so much, I allow myself to splurge on a couple areas of my life. That allows me to get comfortable but still being restrained.


soldiernerd t1_iuev1ik wrote

“Hyper saver”

“Save a third of income”

I mean that sounds like you’re just being prudent…doesn’t sound hyper to me


Linusthewise t1_iuevhgt wrote

My financial group says over 30% is. I'm not sure it is an industry term or amount. Saving 30k while making around 75k is pretty intense in my mind.


soldiernerd t1_iuevuk3 wrote

Well first off, 30/75 is 40% not one third which is definitely a little higher.

Second off, no criticism from me! That’s a great mark in my opinion. See if you can draft a list of ways to invest your cash in your own growth etc. you’ve got great instincts.


reclaimingmytime t1_iuevl36 wrote

I’m all for therapy. For me, it feels like untangling one big knot with lots of little tangles. Your knit might be feelings about money, and all the little tangles are things you were shamed for wanting, or lessons your parents taught you, or bad memories around money and friends, etc.

You were programmed a specific way from birth because your parents wanted to keep you safe. It came from a good place, based on their own experiences, but now your programming is old and not serving you. You just need an update to your code. You’ll still be someone who knows how to be frugal, but with less anxiety about spending money on worthwhile things.


WiseVibrant t1_iugmjjz wrote

Memento Mori. This means "remember that death is inevitable".

I grew up in a frugal household as well, and I'm still cautious about my spending but spend more liberally than I used to. Since you're still young (I'm still in my early mid 20s myself), we often don't realize the privilege of being young. I realize that I don't want to be at my death bed at the age of 70 with millions in my bank account unspent. I'll probably regret that I didn't spent more to enjoy life while young.