14 August 2015

On having nice things

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

I did not grow up with money. We were comfortable, but after my parents split, that changed.

I worked a lot to have money to provide for myself throughout high school and college. And when I started working professionally, and did so for a long time, I got used to finally treating myself to nicer things. Or just treating myself in general and not feeling guilty about it.

That’s the thing about being told regularly that you don’t deserve nice stuff, you feel guilty buying it.

But eventually I got a little more lenient about that. I still lived on a budget and put money in savings, but I also had a pretty healthy social life. Out during the week, out on weekends, going to try new places, and never feeling guilty about buying drinks, dinner, clothes, shoes, etc.

Then, I got laid off, and suddenly all of that security disappeared.

One of the hardest parts about being unemployed is that you don’t know how long it can last. So, you have to budget (or I did), but I had to be really conservative because I didn’t know when I would find work again. Or, work that I wanted to be doing.

Going out all but stopped, I lived on an even tighter budget, and shopped my closet as much as possible, finding, hey some of those clothes I treated myself to….still had tags on them. So, that was fine too. Really, that worked out.

But the mentality of needing to ration, cut back and just survive, stays with you. You look at things in the store and ask yourself, do I really need that? Do I really want that? Wow that seems expensive, I could just hold out or go find something similar for cheaper.

And when you’re with friends who haven’t had to do something like this, it’s even MORE awkward. I don’t mind watching people spend money, but when your friend pays $50 for a cotton tank top, you’re like, dude really?

When I finally got paid from my new job, I paid all of my bills but found that I still felt like I couldn’t spend money on fun stuff. I paid off all other little debt stuff I owed, which was a huge piece of mind, but I still found myself unable to even just go out to dinner one night, or when I did with friends, I would find myself adding up the bill and my part immediately, just like when I was unemployed.

The mentality of feeling okay with having some dispensable income again and not feeling like you need to hoard every dollar because who knows when you’ll get paid again, is a harder transition than I expected. Just like when I had to slow my life down to a baby crawl months ago.

I can adjust to having no money, since I grew up like that, but the fear that it could all go away again, takes longer to fade.

So, I’m working on trying to be more social and get out a bit more. I don’t doubt this will take more time, but for now, owning that I’m aware of this separation and the desire to slowly get back out there, will get better.

No real point to this, just something I thought I’d share :)



  1. NZ Muse says:

    I can relate to a lot of this.

    And with my partner being out of work for much of the past couple of years, I’ve been the breadwinner. I’m not a high earner so I’ve been keeping us afloat but unable to afford anything beyond the basics. So I’ve felt kinda bad buying things like new underwear and a few new things I really needed for work. It’s like hey, this is MY money…and yet…

  2. I can relate. I used to say no to just about everything, because I didn’t want to spend the money…just in case. Sometimes it would get ridiculous. My reasons have been everything from a past controlling relationship to actually going through financially hard times and it is hard to celebrate the more prosperous times without feeling guilty, but after a bit of therapy (I’m not even kidding) I have started to be kinder to myself and treat myself more. I’m always a frugal, sensible person who can sniff out bargains and reason well with myself about whether something’s actually worth spending on and I just need to trust myself!! x