Do your friends tease you for wanting to stay at the budget Vegas hotel for an annual girls’ trip when everyone else wants to splurge on a 4-star resort? Or maybe you’re constantly comparing prices when shopping even though you know you prefer Haagen-Dazs and Oatly. If you’ve noticed that looking for a bargain has turned into a discomfort with spending or you’re feeling relieved when saving only to be dissatisfied with the item or experience, it might be time to reevaluate your approach to spending.
Knowing where to cut costs is a valuable tool in budgeting, saving, and reaching your financial goals. However, stinginess with money can have negative consequences such as strained relationships, missed opportunities, and an unfulfilling life. While our financial health is important, we also need to weigh the benefits of being generous with ourselves and valuing the people and experiences in our lives.
There are several factors that come into play when it comes to our spending habits and the discomfort we might feel when spending money. In this article, I’ll discuss the top reasons for your stingy habits and what steps you can take to overcome your stinginess so you can be well on your way to living a more fulfilling life.
Top Reasons for Stingy Habits
Reason #1 – Cultural or upbringing
Money and spending habits can vary drastically by culture and household. While some of us grew up with parents who saved most of their paychecks or refused to buy new things even if they were falling apart. Others lived in households where people would enjoy splurging and treating themselves and even encouraged us to feel good about purchases.
We can’t change the formative messaging that we received around spending as children, but we can evaluate the message and see if it holds value in our lives today. Perhaps your financial situation is very different from that of your parents when you were a child or you have a partner while you grew up in a single-income household. Those are significant differences that could really impact your finances and therefore should change the way you view spending.
Reason #2 – Scarcity Mindset
If you have a scarcity mindset when it comes to your finances you are likely living in a constant dread that you will never have enough. Unfortunately, having that mindset can prevent you from being able to recognize opportunities around you and can result in the inability to think logically.
According to WebMed, having a scarcity mindset can lower your IQ by as many as 14 points! I don’t know about you, but that’s reason enough for me to choose an abundance mentality.
To overcome a scarcity mindset, you should focus on facts. For example, if you think you may not have enough in your emergency savings account, maybe you should determine what kind of emergency you need to be prepared for. Having an actual number in mind instead of a blank figure will help you save more effectively and give you peace of mind.
Do your friends tease you for wanting to stay at the budget Vegas hotel for an annual girls trip when everyone else wants to splurge on a 4-star resort? Or maybe you’re constantly comparing prices when shopping even though you know you prefer Haagen-Dazs and Oatly. If you’ve noticed that looking for a bargain has turned into a discomfort with spending or you’re feeling relieved when saving only to be dissatisfied with the item or experience, it might be time to reevaluate your approach to spending.
Reason #3 – Feelings of shame or not being deserving
One of the reasons you might be stingy is that you don’t feel that you deserve to spend money on yourself. This could go back to your upbringing and what was modeled in your childhood when it comes to spending. If you saw your caregivers struggle to treat themselves or make it clear that they would prefer to save money instead of spending it on themselves, you might develop the same relationship with spending.
While it’s important to exercise restraint in spending, you should take the time to evaluate any feelings of shame associated with it. Think of it this way, do you have the money to spend (as in, you don’t need to get in debt to pay for it)? Is the item or experience something that you will value and appreciate for a long time?
If the answers are yes, and the purchase won’t be setting you back from reaching your money goals, then go for it! Enjoy it!
Reason #4 – Fear or financial insecurity
Do you find yourself trying to save most of your paycheck because you’re worried about the job market or increasing costs due to inflation? Maybe you’ve noticed a lot of layoffs recently on LinkedIn and you’re thinking you need to be prepared for the worst. That’s completely understandable! In fact, it’s smart to be conservative with your spending when there is so much uncertainty. But, there’s a big difference between conservative and stingy.
In this situation, it’s important to be prepared within reason so – do you have a few months of rent + living expenses saved? If you don’t, you probably want to beef up that savings account before splurging on a spa treatment. But, if you’ve stashed away a good amount you can probably stop beating yourself up for wanting to go see a movie on Friday night.
How to Reframe Your Mindset Toward Generosity
Now that we’ve discussed the top reasons for your stingy habits, let’s focus on what you can do to overcome your stingy tendencies.
Here are some tips to overcome your stinginess:
Tip #1 – Identify the reason for your stinginess
The first step to overcoming your stinginess is to understand where it comes from. Try to establish when these feelings started and became more difficult to suppress. Was it something you noticed a parent doing? Did a partner question your spending habits? Get as detailed as possible so that you can question the reasoning behind it and forge a path forward.
Tip #2 – Establish a budget for spending
Once you’ve identified the reason for your stinginess, I recommend establishing a budget for spending. Creating a budget can be like a safeguard for you when learning to spend generously. After you’ve determined the amounts that you can comfortably budget for each category you will feel empowered to spend your money without fear.
Now you’re free to go out for happy hour or buy that new swimsuit for a long weekend! The goal is to alleviate your mind from weighing the pros and cons of every purchase and taking the fun out of spending your money.
Tip #3 – Surround yourself with generous people
Do you have friends or relatives that are known for their generosity? Watch them and notice how happy they are giving to others. Maybe they learned it from a family member or it comes naturally to them, regardless being generous is a skill that you too can develop. Try to learn from the generous people in your life and watch your relationships blossom in unexpected ways.
Tip #4 – Practice generosity
Now that you’ve surrounded yourself with generous people, you can practice the art with yourself and others. Look for opportunities to flex your new muscle by donating to a charity you’ve always had an interest in or plan something extra special for your mom this Mother’s Day. If you start to live your life with an abundance mindset you will start to see positive changes in many areas. Start with little things that make you and others happy and before you know you’ll be known as the generous one!
Overcoming stinginess with money can be challenging and difficult work. It will require a combination of self-reflection, practical strategies, and a commitment to generosity. It’s important that you are compassionate and patient with yourself through the process. As long as you’re committed to improving each day and taking the necessary steps, you will be well on your way to living your life generously.
Now, what to do with the money you are saving? Read: “Should I Save or Invest?”.