How To Gain Positive Feelings When Spending Your Hard-Earned Money

There are two types of people on Earth: those who save and those who spend.


Compulsive spenders are not fond of delaying personal gratification. And they clearly don’t have a problem with spending money as long as it makes them feel happy.


Financially savvy individuals, on the other hand, experience unpleasant feelings when they spend their hard-earned cash. The feeling of discomfort is due to the activation of neural activity in their anterior insula and amygdala – the mood and reward centers of the brain. Frugal individuals who experience this will constantly look at price tags, aim for bargains, and calculate their total spending.


No matter how frugal you are, loosen up every once in awhile to experience the full pleasures of life! You deserve it.

Consider these steps to turn your finances around:  

1. Be aware of your irrationality


If you want to change your perspective on spending, the first step to take is awareness. You must determine what makes you associate spending with negativity by acknowledging your money fears.

Happy Shopping Lady

Image Credit: spyderlynk

For instance, you feel uncomfortable to shop during global recession because of the thought that you can possibly lose your job at any moment. The reality is, world economies fail and you cannot do anything to change that. With that kind of logic, you will never get to shop for a lifetime and that’s not healthy!


2. Organize your finances


To satisfy your need for frugality and money management, organize your finances to get a clear idea of how much you spend and how much money you can allocate for the extras each month. The “extras” fund is mainly used for entertainment purposes such as clothing and gadgets. After a long day’s work, you know you deserve these!

organizing bills

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It is easier to spend money if your personal finances are in order.


3. Allocate a budget to “Fun”

If you are a budget-oriented individual like me, it is best to allocate a specific amount of money to what you consider as “fun” purchases and experiences. Use this money to spend on the things you want as long as these are within your monthly budget.


For example, I allocated AUD 40 to the fun fund and I saw my dream bag worth AUD 35. Not only was it under my allocated budget but it was also something that I had been desiring. I shall not feel guilty for buying it because I made an effort beforehand to spend AUD 40 on myself every month.


4. Anticipate desirable purchases


Alfred Hitchcock once said: “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”

For Alfred, fear is not in the act of being shot but in the idea of seeing a gun pointed at you. Okay! This example may be a tad extreme but you get the point – the anticipation of the shot heightened the emotions. Same goes for shopping.  

Anticipating the rewards of your money through your purchases can increase the feelings of pleasure. If you are saving up for your Bali trip, I suggest you make a countdown for it. Looking forward about something and seeing it happen can help you savor the rewards of your purchase stronger than by merely remembering the experience.


5. Give back to charity


Say you have AUD 50-100 extra from your budget and you do not want to spend it solely on yourself. That is a bit selfish, huh? Well, consider donating some to a worthy cause. Not only will you feel happier spending your money on others but you will also help an organization or an individual in need.

giving to charity

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How do you avoid feeling guilty about spending money? The answer is simple: by managing your money wisely and changing your perspective.

Anna Agoncillo

Anna is a Registered Psychometrician and a graduate of Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom. Earning a bachelor's degree with honors in Psychological Studies, lead her to a career of writing and teaching. She is also the author of the new book entitled Psychology of Love, Money, & Life.


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