Money Mindset

How to Not Feel Guilty About Spending Money

February 21, 2023
This is how to not feel guilty for spending money so you can ditch the spending guilt and start to enjoy a healthy, positive relationship with money.
Britt and Laurie-Anne two women laughing and looking at their computers on a couch in a well-styled living room
Britt & Laurie Anne
Two female investors in their 30s with a collective net wealth of over $6 million+
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Hot take: you shouldn’t feel guilty about spending money.

I know. That’s not what most financial experts will tell you. They’re usually focused on trying to get you to spend as little as possible.

As women, we constantly receive latent messages that we’re irresponsible and frivolous with money while also being hit with over 6,000 ads a day trying to get us to spend our money.

Financial experts always seem to jump to a frothy Starbucks drink as a prime example of reckless spending. Most of the financial education aimed toward women focuses on shopping less – not on things like, I don’t know, investing or retirement.

As a result, we don’t know how to not feel guilty about spending money.

We feel guilty for spending too much money, not saving enough, spending money on the “wrong” things…

I’m going to tell you right now: you’re not bad with money. You’re not an irresponsible person. You just haven’t been taught how to manage your money effectively.

Today, I’m going to tell you how to make a plan for your money so you can ditch the spending guilt and start to enjoy a healthy, positive relationship with money.

  1. Know your financial goal

If you don’t know what you are trying to achieve financially - then you have no idea if the decisions you are making about your money are good ones or bad ones — if they are taking you closer to your goal or further.  

Gary Keller has the best definition of a goal that I’ve ever heard. He says that the purpose of a goal is to help you determine the appropriate action to take in the present moment. It is to help us know what to do now.

Once you determine your financial goal it becomes WAY easier to make financial decisions.

2. Set a monthly target for your goal

In order for your goal to help alleviate guilt associated with spending money, it needs to be specific. It isn’t enough to just set the goal of getting out of debt - you need to know on a monthly basis how much you want to be contributing to paying off your debt.

You get to decide how aggressively you want to pursue your goal and how fast you want to achieve it.

Want to go fast? Set a higher monthly target.

Want to go slower and have more room for spending on luxuries? Set a lower monthly target. It will take you longer to achieve the goal, but as long as you stick to the target you will achieve it!

Decide on a debt payoff amount, either an amount you’ll save each month, or an amount you’re contributing to your investments.

You need a monthly target to know if you are on or off track in any given month. This helps you make daily spending decisions.

If you are on track to hit your monthly target, then you can spend your money freely.

If you’re off track, then you know you need to tighten your spending for a minute. Even better, move the money you need to hit your monthly target out of your account first. That way, you know you can spend the rest without feeling guilty because you have already taken care of your financial goal.

3. Create a weekly money ritual

We talk about this a lot, but a weekly money ritual is crucial to maintaining your financial wellness.

A weekly money ritual is an hour that you set aside every week to manage your money. You keep track of how much money is going in and out of your bank account every week.

It also keeps you grounded in the reality of your financial situation.

If finances make you feel stressed, you probably avoid looking at your bank account statement. But a lot of our guilty emotions come in when we don’t actually know what our financial situation looks like.

You need to stay close to your numbers. This makes spending your money feel less scary.

4. Identify the triggers of your guilty feelings

If you’ve got a clear goal and you’re on track with it but you still feel guilty every time you spend money, it’s time to do some healing on your relationship to money.

It starts with awareness. Begin to notice the feelings of guilt and what causes them. Most people don’t feel guilty every time they spend money - only on certain types of purchases. Maybe it is on things that you want but don’t need, or maybe it is on things that seem more expensive than they are really worth. Maybe it is only once it is over a certain dollar amount.

Identify what triggers your guilty feelings.

5. Address the root cause

Now that you know what kind of spending makes you feel guilty - reflect on why you feel guilty when you spend in that way. It can be helpful to ask yourself these questions:

  • When is the first time you remember having that feeling?
  • Where did you learn that it wasn’t okay to spend money like that?
  • Whose voice do you hear when you have guilty thoughts?
  • Is feeling guilty helping me or hurting me?

6. Replace those guilty feelings

Now if you are spending in a way that conflicts with you hitting your financial goals and you feel guilty - that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Those guilty feelings are acting as a warning system that your behavior is incongruent and out of alignment and you should pay attention.

But if you’re spending in way that still allows you to hit your financial goals and you STILL feel guilty - then this is just a learned reaction and it is time to replace it because there really isn’t any upside to feeling guilty.

Write a new mantra for yourself that you can say in those moments where you notice the guilt creep in. Something like “I’m taking care of my future self by hitting my monthly target, and with this purchase I’m taking care of my present self too” or “it is okay for me to enjoy my money and take care of my future”


Money is a tool. It was designed to make our lives easier. And life is meant to be enjoyed.  Releasing yourself from guilt is crucial to building a positive relationship with money, which is essential to building wealth.

I hope that this empowers you to spend without feeling guilty.

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