the magical art of spending money on yourself

It is hard for me to spend money on myself.

Sure, I’ll shell out $15 for happy hour out with my friends, and I’ll buy a $10 clearance dress at the Banana Republic outlet, but ask me to spend serious money on something that could really improve my life…and I freeze.

I’ll give you an example: one of my new year resolutions is to meditate for 30 days straight. I’d heard about this new meditation app, Headspace, and I wanted to see if meditation would help ease some stress and anxiety for me. Well, it did. Word to the wise: Headspace is THE SHIT!

I tried it, I loved it, I knew it would vastly improve my life.

But a year subscription is $70…

And that just seemed like too much.

I spent days (and days and days) agonizing over it. $70 divided by 365 is 19 cents a day. But, if I only meditate once a week, it’s $1.34 per day. And once a month, almost $6 for a 10-minute meditation recording!

My whole life, the fact that I pause before spending has set me apart from most people. It’s made it easy for me to save. It means I often prefer NOT buying the thing I want then going through with the purchase.

But sometimes it gets tiring to worry so much about a purchase. And why? I’ll spend $70 on a birthday gift, on a visit to the dentist, on my wifi bill, to fix my car…but not on reducing anxiety? Not on 10 minutes of peace every day?

I’ve spent years thinking this was a positive trait. Thinking I was frugal, careful, unselfish, minimalist.

But that’s not true.

I can't spend money on myself because I don't believe in myself.

Ah, that sucks to write, but it’s the truth, and I’m not going to feed you, my readers, bullshit about saving money if I know in my heart it’s not true.

Whenever I have the opportunity to take a class, learn something new, sign up for a challenge, or invest in a service that would make my life better, I start to question if I’m worth it. What if I suck at it? What if I don’t show up? Shouldn’t I just do this myself? Do I really “deserve” this?

The answer should be hell yes! But sometimes the voice in my head tells me no. 

Do I believe in lavish dinners you can’t afford? No. Buying gifts because you feel obligated? Definitely not. Purchasing things you want on credit cards or borrowed money? Never.

But I'm becoming a believer in the magical art of spending money on yourself. 

What is the magical art of spending money on yourself?

It’s this simple:

Put aside a little money to spend generously on services that will dramatically improve your life. Spend on yourself like you’re going to be the next Oprah. Invest in yourself as if you were the hottest stock on the market.

I’m not going to tell you how much, or if you can afford it. That’s your decision. But even $25 a month could buy you a subscription to Treehouse, some low-cost therapy, a ticket to see the opera, a meditation app, a weight watchers subscription, a gym membership, a class at the local community college.

I’ve been ruthlessly cutting out less-than-extraordinary expenses and taking on extra side work to build up a little Emma fund. I don’t take the money out of my savings.

It’s not a fund for drinks, gifts, clothes, makeup, or date night. It’s a fund to cover professional photos for my blog. A massage after a long work trip. A meditation app to reduce my anxiety.

Every dollar you put in savings is a prayer for the future. So is every dollar you invest in yourself.