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Why Do I Always Feel So Guilty When I Spend Money?

spending guiltWhether it’s something I need or simply something I want, it all feels the same.  I always, always feel guilty when I spend money.

One of my biggest problems throughout my adult life has been shopping. It isn’t necessarily about spending money I don’t have because I don’t do that anymore. I don’t know what it is but it’s driving me crazy!

I can always justify any purchase, small or large. I always have a great reason for buying stuff (that doesn’t consist of “it was too good to pass up!”).

Previously, all my spending landed us in a world of hurt and bankruptcy. I learned my lesson on that one pretty quickly and put a squeeze on all of my shopping. I reduced my Target and grocery trips to once a week. It helped a lot with controlling how much I spend, but I still cant shake the guilt I feel every single time I swipe that debit card!

Buyers remorse is killing me!

My mother was in town this weekend. We haven’t seen her since Christmas so it was nice for everyone here to have time to spend with her. One of the things mom and I do when she visits is catch up on shopping. Well, by the end of the day I felt sick over how much I’d spent even though it wasn’t some horribly expensive day, and I didn’t understand why. I still don’t understand it either.

I didn’t go on some crazy shopping spree and buy a bunch of clothes and shoes and have a good time. It was stuff we needed like jeans for the boys, a halloween costume for my daughter, some paper towels and misc stuff for the house, an adapter for my husbands surround sound, just little stuff.

The hard part is the little stuff adds up so quickly, before I knew it I’d spent $250! Ouch.

Last week we picked up a new TV, as well as a mini fridge for our bonus room. That was a pretty penny and again, although we needed them (and had the money) I still felt so darn guilty!

Honestly I would love to hoard and hog every penny I have and never spend it, but it doesn’t appear to be possible around here. There is always something that pops up that robs the money tree!

I wish I could get over this terrible dread and guilt. After grocery shopping today I sat down and felt sick over the amount spent this weekend. We obviously need food, clothing, and household necessities, but that doesn’t help with the guilt. It’s getting so bad that filling up my van with gas even makes me feel guilty. What is wrong with me?

Woman with credit card photo available from Shutterstock

Why Do I Always Feel So Guilty When I Spend Money?


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APA Reference
, B. (2012). Why Do I Always Feel So Guilty When I Spend Money?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Oct 2012
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