How to Avoid “Spending Guilt” when on a Tight Budget

How to Avoid “Spending Guilt” when on a Tight Budget

Although you might feel super efficient when living under your budget, being frugal can be a bit disheartening at times.

Like when you have two friends’ birthday drinks in the same month and your social budget just doesn’t cover both. Or if you get invited out to a play cafe for lunch, and you look at the website and discover that it’ll eat up your entire weekly budget for activities. Literally.

I’ll use the second example because that happened to me the other day.

Did I want to go? Yes.

Did I have spare money in that week’s budget? Also yes.

Did I feel guilty about agreeing to go? Hell yes.

And that’s when I realised: I’d gone too far in my quest for frugality.

Sure, I was actively trying not to spend money – and that was extremely beneficial to my bank balance. But did I want to feel guilty every time I spent money? No.

After all, the whole point of having an allocated budget for activities is that the money was there to be spent.

Change your mindset

The word ‘budget’ sounds constricting; but it shouldn’t. After all, budgeting isn’t about not spending money – it’s about having the money available and allocated to spend. So spend it. Or, save it for a rainy day and spend it then instead. But if an affordable opportunity presents, take it. And enjoy it.

Track your spending

I’ve recently introduced a £10-a-week budget for family activities, and I’m tracking my weekly expenditure (you can follow my progress on Instagram by following the #atf10challenge). It means there’s no grey area in my budget and I know exactly how much is left. I don’t hand over cash uncertain of whether it ‘can’ be spent or not. It can. And it will.

Compare now and then

Before my £10-a-week-budget, we’d spend anywhere between £15 and £40 on weekly activities. I use a weekly average of £20, and (mentally) compare my spending. It’s reassuring. If I feel guilt creeping in for splashing a tenner on a day out, I remind myself that I’m still spending 50% less than I was. On a single day, it might feel extravagant. But across the month, it’s progress.

Do you get ‘spending guilt’? How do you combat it?


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