Why Do I Feel Bad When I Spend Money On Myself? How to Avoid

We all know that money is important. It allows us to buy the things we need and want, and it can give us a sense of security. But for many people, spending money on themselves can be a source of guilt.There are a number of reasons why people might feel bad about spending money on themselves. Some people may feel like they don’t deserve to spend money on themselves, or that they should be saving all of their money for the future. Others may feel like they are being selfish if they spend money on themselves instead of on others. Whatever the reason, feeling bad about spending money on yourself can be harmful. It can prevent you from enjoying your life and from reaching your financial goals.

Why Do I Feel Bad When I Spend Money On Myself? How to Avoid It
Feeling Bad When Spending Money

Regardless of the rationale, these feelings of guilt can be detrimental. They hinder us from savoring life’s pleasures and from making progress towards our financial aspirations.

Understanding Why Guilt Arises

The Societal Pressure

In our journey to grasp why we often wrestle with guilt over our spending habits, it’s vital to acknowledge the profound impact society exerts on how we view indulging ourselves financially. From our earliest days, we are bombarded with messages that stress the significance of being thrifty, saving for the future, and putting others’ needs first. We grow up hearing phrases like “save for a rainy day” and “money doesn’t grow on trees,” which deeply shape our thinking. While responsible money management is undeniably crucial, these societal cues inadvertently trigger feelings of guilt when we occasionally pamper ourselves.

Fear of Judgement

Humans are inherently social creatures, and we often fear the judgment of others. This fear extends to our spending habits. We worry about how our friends, family, or colleagues might perceive our purchases. Will they think we’re extravagant or irresponsible? The fear of being judged by others can significantly contribute to feelings of guilt. This particular fear has a powerful impact on our emotions and behaviors. In essence, it can weigh heavily on our conscience and shape how we act and feel.


Perfectionists often set exceptionally high standards for themselves across various aspects of life, including their finances. They firmly believe that every hard-earned dollar should serve a specific purpose, like savings or investments. Consequently, when it comes to spending on personal pleasures, they might grapple with feelings of guilt, as it doesn’t quite align with their unwavering financial principles. This inner struggle can be quite common among perfectionists.

The Illusion of Illiquid Benefits

Feeling guilty about treating ourselves often stems from underestimating the “hidden benefits” of such expenditures. These illiquid benefits encompass the emotional and intangible advantages that come with investing in experiences or self-indulgence. While these advantages might not immediately appear evident, they wield a profound influence on enhancing our overall well-being. So, let’s explore how these benefits can make a positive impact on our lives.

Prioritize self-care for better mental health

Taking care of yourself should be a top priority to maintain good mental health. Engaging in activities like spa days, pursuing your hobbies, or going on exciting trips can offer a welcome break from your daily routine. This relaxation, in turn, can help you find inner peace, leading to increased happiness and an overall better quality of life. Prioritizing self-care is crucial for your well-being.

Building Self-Worth

Allocating quality time for yourself can do wonders for your self-esteem. It conveys that you deserve self-care just like anyone else. As a result, this can gradually boost your self-confidence, leading to positive impacts in various aspects of your life.

Strengthening Relationships

Investing in enjoyable experiences often involves sharing them with our loved ones. These shared moments have the power to strengthen our relationships and create cherished memories. While it might seem like a personal expense, it can actually have wide-ranging positive effects on your social life. So, don’t hesitate to prioritize these shared joys in your budget!

Overcoming the Guilt: Practical Strategies

Now that we’ve explored the reasons behind the guilt associated with spending on oneself, let’s discuss some practical strategies to overcome this emotional hurdle.

Why Do I Feel Bad When I Spend Money On Myself? How to Avoid It
The Guilt of spending

Create a Budget for Self-Indulgence

A well-structured budget is a powerful tool for guilt-free spending. Allocate a portion of your monthly income specifically for self-indulgence. Having a designated “treat yourself” fund allows you to enjoy life’s pleasures without impacting your financial stability.

Embrace the 24-Hour Rule

Before making a non-essential purchase, employ the 24-hour rule. Give yourself a day to contemplate the purchase. This cooling-off period allows you to determine if it’s a genuine desire or an impulse. If you still want it after 24 hours, go ahead with the purchase, guilt-free.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment and aware of your thoughts and feelings. Apply this to your spending habits. Before and after making a purchase, pause and assess your emotions. Understanding why you feel guilty can help you address these feelings constructively.

Shift Your Perspective

Reframe your thoughts about spending on yourself. Instead of seeing it as wasteful, view it as an investment in your well-being. Remember the illiquid benefits we discussed earlier – these intangible rewards are just as important as saving for the future.

Seek Support and Accountability

Discuss your spending concerns with a trusted friend or family member. They can provide valuable perspectives and support your journey toward guilt-free spending. Additionally, an accountability partner can help you stick to your budget and financial goals.


Feeling guilty about treating yourself is a common struggle for many of us. But fear not! With the right mindset and practical strategies, you can conquer this challenge. It’s crucial to acknowledge the societal pressures and the fear of being judged that often trigger this guilt. Moreover, realizing that self-care and personal enjoyment are not frivolous but vital for your overall well-being can change your perspective.


Why do I feel guilty spending money on myself?

Guilt often arises from societal pressures. Remind yourself self-care is essential for mental well-being.

How can I overcome guilt when buying for myself?

Set a budget, prioritize needs, and allow occasional treats. Shift focus from guilt to self-investment.

Is it wrong to splurge occasionally on personal desires?

No, it’s healthy! Balanced spending fosters happiness and reduces guilt over time.

What are practical tips to avoid feeling bad about spending?

Plan purchases, distinguish wants from needs, and practice gratitude for financial stability.

How does mindful spending improve self-worth?

Mindful spending aligns values with purchases, fostering self-fulfillment and reducing guilt.

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