Here's a fun fact about me: I can't remember a time when spending money didn't make me feel bad or anxious.
Even as a kid, I was one of the most frugal people you could ever meet. Admittedly, most of it came from seeing my parents struggle—I promised myself I'd be ultra-responsible when I grew up so I wouldn't have to worry about having enough money in the future. I thought about savings accounts and credit cards before I'd even started high school. And for as long as I've had my own money to spend, I've guilted myself over just about every purchase.
It took me a long time to realize that, while yes, having a budget and saving money are important, feeling anxious every single time you spend money isn't healthy. And even knowing that, I still feel pangs of guilt and stress when I order takeout instead of cooking or buy a new pair of shoes. But I'm working on it, and I also know I'm not alone.
If you, too, feel constant spender's guilt or anxiety in the back of your mind every time you make a purchase, there's something important you should remember: The thing you're wrecking yourself over? That's what money is for.
You use money in exchange for goods and services. I know I don't have to tell you that—you know how money works—but sometimes it helps to take a step back and look at it in terms of it's definition, without all the emotional weight attached to it. Most of the money you earn goes to your necessities—food, water, shelter, saving for the future, etc.—and that's important, but it's also OK to spend money that you have left over if you want to, how you want. And that may mean anything from treating yourself to a special dinner or buying a new sweater, to planning your dream vacation or donating to charity. However you want to use your money, you should be able to do so without making yourself feel bad.
It's normal to worry about money and the future, but it's also normal to use the money you have to enjoy your life, too. It's good to be thoughtful about how you spend your money—and honestly, that's a useful attitude to have and one you should hold onto—but there's no need to make yourself feel bad about every purchase you make. You don't have to completely throw caution to the wind with your wallet, but try to let yourself have fun and enjoy the experiences and the things you want—sometimes it's just about self-care.
At the end of the day, money pays the rent and buys you groceries, but it also helps you enjoy your day-to-day experiences and make great memories that you'll look back on forever. Try not to deny yourself that, because you deserve it.