Those of you who don’t know me well are probably going to read the title of this post and assume that the problem is too much shopping. That does seem to be a common problem, I know plenty of people that suffer from it, but I am not one of them. I can’t stand to shop or spend more money than I have to. And despite the economic crisis going on in the world, I am actually trying to encourage myself to let go of that attitude a little. It’s not as easy as it sounds since I am married to a “saver” and we tend to enable each other, all the while talking ourselves out of experiences that would surely benefit us.
Once again, while reading Martha Beck’s book, I realized this “problem” of mine goes way back. You see my father was always “tight” with his money and my mother loves nice things. Obviously, that didn’t make a great combination. When we did go shopping and get nice things, there was definitely a black cloud of “daddy won’t approve” hanging over us. It haunted me to the degree that even as a child I remember feeling sick with guilt when my mother bought me clothes. I loved them and gratefully accepted them, but always felt at least a little bit wrong about it. As I got older and had my own money to spend, I always found ways to get the most out of it. I’d ride around town scoping out the cheapest gas station, even if the difference was just 1 or 2 cents. I ended up quitting my job at The Gap because I just refused to buy new clothes and the ones I wore weren’t current enough for my employer. (The only time my dad ever encouraged me to quit a job was when The Gap sent me home for wearing an out of season outfit.) It was in college when I discovered the art of finding new clothes on sale for $10 or less. With inflation it’s gone up to $15 or less, but I swear I only buy clothes that cost more than that if I have a gift card or Mark talks me into it because it’s something very flattering. In fact if you click on my “about” page and notice the dress I am wearing…got it on sale for $14.99 marked down from $36.
This summer my cheapness has been brought to my attention more than usual. I’m sure part of it is that everyone’s worried about money these days and we are all feeding off of each other’s fears about it, but I am just getting very tired of overanalyzing how I should spend it. I keep reading things that encourage you to pamper yourself from time to time. But I just can’t seem to do this. It is difficult enough for me to pamper myself with time to do activities I enjoy and to be with friends, when you add money into the equation I just am overwhelmed. I think that what you are willing to give and do for yourself says a lot about what you think you’re worth is. Maybe this is why I’d really like to be able to indulge myself without the guilt…to prove to myself that I’m really worth it.