Why do I feel guilty when I spend money on myself?

by Erika Torres

When it comes to our finances, I have no problem paying bills, shelling out $80 for our dog’s organic food, buying gifts, or paying for Eric’s expensive CrossFit membership to prepare him for the academy.

But when it comes to myself? Why do I balk at spending anything on myself?

I allow myself the same $20 allowance that Eric gets. But because carrying around $20 seems to burn a hole in his pocket, he is frequently out of money by the end of the week (even though our $20 allowance is supposed to last us two weeks). So I would take out money from other categories to give him an extra $10 to tidy him over til our next allowance.

This past summer, we shelled out about $600 for Eric to join CrossFit for three months to prep physically for the academy. I have categories in our yearly budget labeled “Eric Food” ($1,300+) and “Eric School” ($2,700+) and “Eric Travel” ($2,100+). Do I have an Erika label? Just Beauty related at $800 (and some of that does include Eric).

A week ago, I signed up for an unlimited month of barre classes at Meraki Barre in Costa Mesa. My blog friend, Jolene at Determined to Be, got me hooked when she convinced me (seriously, I was doing everything to get out of going) to attend a class with her, and even scored me a free intro class. I had no excuse.

The first five minutes, I was really thinking “Seriously, Jolene? This is all you’ve got?” and then the instructor says “Ok, the warm up is done.” Warm up? Twenty minutes in, I wanted to die. It was awesome! I have never had such an intense workout before. The Barre method combines small movements utilizing small weights, the ballet barre, a small flexi ball, and your own weight to work every part of your body–arms, legs, butt, abs, thighs.

I wanted to sign up for classes, but knew that I just couldn’t afford the $99 unlimited intro price tag. How was I going to squeeze that out of the budget? For days, I whined to Eric about how badly I wanted to take the classes. And each time, he said “Sign up!” But I couldn’t. I knew I would feel so guilty, knowing that I’d have to find $99 from somewhere else in the budget.

When I heard about a Facebook deal for one month for $75 ($25 off!), I was still hesitant but knew I just needed to do it. I signed up and have seriously loved going to class. I leave pumped and excited, without being covered in sweat despite the intense muscle workout.

$75 is a big chunk of change in our budget. I don’t know how I’m going to pay for next month yet, but I’m so glad I took the plunge and bought something that brings me so much happiness.

I still feel a small amount of guilt. And I wish the guilty feeling would go away.

Do you ever have trouble spending money on yourself? How do you get rid of the guilt?


Meraki Barre November 3, 2011 - 11:18 pm

Erika~ You are a total joy + light of energy every time you come in to the studio. You are doing such a great job in class!! We are so happy that we are a part of your budget, but more importantly your happiness! Thanks for fitting us in to your routine! You rock, keep it up + don’t feel guilty!! Maybe bring the hubs in for the Surf TRX class? Or barre… 😉
Your girls at Meraki Barre

Teacher Girl November 3, 2011 - 7:17 pm

Don’t feel guilty! Doing something for you is so important to your overall well being and the health of your relationship. You cannot always be the giver. Plus, it sounds like this will really be for both of you since if you are healthier/happier/more fit, it can only benefit Eric too 🙂

Jess November 3, 2011 - 2:37 pm

Jolene’s sister here 🙂 Just had to butt in to say YAY for making time for you. Never feel selfish for doing that. Your “me” time is just as important as the time you invest in your relationship and everything else in your life. I’m SO glad you are loving barre ,it is seriously life changing, as Jo probably told you about a million times 🙂

Ella November 3, 2011 - 11:37 am

I love this post! I have a hard time allowing myself to spend money and have to justify it to death when I want to spend some money. But when it comes to something fitness related I tell myself that I am investing my future self’s health. Would you feel as guilty, if you were sticking this $75 in your IRA? It’s almost the same thing – you need your health when you are retired so that you can use your retirement funds for fun instead of medication and doctor visits.

Claire November 3, 2011 - 11:31 am

I WISH I had that problem! I feel guilty about spending money on other people and stuff, like even when I go to the grocery because I feel like I could save more money some how. When it comes to myself though, I don’t even think about spending money- I just do it. I’ll trade some of my no guilt for your guilt! lol

kim November 3, 2011 - 10:18 am

Huh I have the opposite – if my husband wastes money I get annoyed, but if I do something like lose my carkey which costs $200 to replace, I don’t get annoyed at myself. And so I’ve learned to not voice annoyance, as he points out this obvious difference.

SPEND money on fitness! And non-junk food! Health is worth it.

If Eric only got $10 each week might it last longer?

Hawaii Planner November 3, 2011 - 9:02 am

Yes, I feel this way! I love spoiling others, but have a much harder time with myself. I think it’s because I think of all of the other ways I can use the money. Lame.

But, I do think fitness is one of those areas that’s generally worth investing in!

Mary November 3, 2011 - 8:55 am

I have this problem too – when I’m trying to squeeze the budget I tell myself “No! You don’t need that!” all the time and then see something for Drew and get it for him “just because.” It’s terrible!

Michelle November 3, 2011 - 6:46 am

I’m the same way. For some reason I don’t mind that we spend a ton of money on the BF, but for some reason I can’t do it on myself. He always tells me to buy stuff, but I just can’t.

jobo November 3, 2011 - 6:42 am

I LOVE this post!! I love that you were totally trying to get out of going to class and then loved it 😉 I figured if I could find a way to get a freebie, you just might cave! I am so glad you did and I am so glad you LOVE IT! As for feeling guilty, I know what you mean..it is hard when you feel like what you are spending is a splurge, even when Eric is supportive of it, as of course he would be, and honestly, if you are going to splurge on anything, splurge on your health, right? That’s how I justify it too.

Niki November 3, 2011 - 4:21 am

I am the same exact way. I don’t know how to not feel guilty but most time I can reason with myself. Plus if I do splurge on myself a bit I do feel better and I hate me less about spending some money.

I am glad you signed up. I think health is a worthy splurge and it should be guilt free.


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