Finally Freeing Myself from Stinginess and Scarcity At 60


It's finally okay to lighten up on myself a bit and enjoy the little pleasures of life more. I'm kicking guilt and feeling unworth to the kerb.



When Frugality Becomes Stinginess

This is kind of a weird post about an issue I have that others may not have a problem with…but lately I’ve finally twigged to the fact that there’s a fine line between
being frugal and being stingy.

I often muddle the two up and find myself happily spending time, energy, or money on others – while refusing to do the same for myself.

I tell myself that it doesn’t matter and I don’t need non-essential things, but living a life of denying myself any little treats is not the way I want to live out the rest of my days.

I think it’s time to stop being so stingy and to let myself enjoy a few small indulgences here and there – I’m finally allowing my tightly held fist to open a little – and it feels good.

living with clenched fists or open hands?


Where Did This Stinginess Arise From?

I’m not sure why I’ve always been so resistant to spending money.

My husband tells me money is only worth what you buy with it – in other words it’s just a number on the bank statement or some paper and metal if you’re not using it for anything.

I totally understand that, but I’ve come to see over time that money in the bank represents something to me – it represents security. 

I remember my younger days and our early married years when I longed to have a bank balance over $1000.

By the time we’d paid the mortgage, paid the bills, and put food on the table, there was rarely much left over – we weren’t living week to week like a lot of people, but we weren’t rolling in clover either.

It always felt precarious to me – one slip and we’d be looking at sliding into the red.

I hated living like that, and I think that’s where living with a scarcity mindset became my go-to approach to spending.

Why Didn’t My Mindset Change?

What I can see now is that those years of being frugal paid off, we gradually moved ahead and our bank balance slowly crept up.
We worked hard and saved, and things got easier.
As time moved on and our finances freed up, I could see the sense in spending money on our kids’ schooling, and on upgrading our old car, and even putting in a swimming pool eventually…..but I couldn’t see my way clear to being able to spend money on myself.
I was always thinking “maybe later” or “no I don’t really need it” . But maybe underneath it all I was believing that I just wasn’t worth it.

As our circumstances improved, I was happy to spend more on our kids, or on a holiday with my husband, or on home improvements.

I could see the value in investing in our life as a family and as a couple, but there has always been a sticking point when it came to spending money just on myself, or on things I consider to be frivolous.

Using Justifications

It’s funny how my brain works – I can sometimes justify a present to myself if I’ve spent a similar amount on someone else.

When my husband turned 50 he went on an overseas adventure with our son – to climb Mt Kilimanjaro and see Egypt.

It was a big birthday present, but something I could see he’d really value and it was worth every cent for the memories and the relationship building between him and our adult son.

When it was my turn for a 50th birthday present we remodelled my engagement ring into something bigger and better.

It seemed like a lot of money – but I justified it – not because it was for a milestone birthday and I deserved it, but because we’d spent a similar amount on my husband’s birthday….

And I do that all the time – I feel like I need to balance out what I receive by making sure it’s less than what others have been given.

There’s this need to justify something that doesn’t need to be justified – it’s weird….

Moving Away from a Scarcity Mindset

Turning 60 seems to have unlocked something inside me, or maybe retirement did, or maybe realizing that we have enough to live on until we pass on to greener pastures….whatever the trigger was, I feel like it’s finally okay to lighten up on myself a bit and enjoy the little pleasures of life more.

I’m kicking the guilty/unworthy feeling to the curb and letting myself have some fun. 

It’s come at a time when I actually don’t really need much – no new work clothes, my car’s good, my home’s good, I have all I need, but that being said…. when I see a little something here or there I’m going to let myself indulge a little.

I’ll never be a big spender, I’ll never buy luxury brands, but there’s a lot of space between ‘nothing’ and ‘everything’ – and maybe it’s time to explore that space a little.

My Challenge to Myself

So, my challenge going forward is to say Yes to myself as often as I say it to those I love.

To indulge myself a little and to impulsively spend a bit of the money I’ve been squirreling away for a rainy day.

Security is one thing, frugality is another – and plain old stinginess at my age is ridiculous – so hasta la vista to my old safe self and howdy doody to a new free-er me!

Let yourself have it - Caitlin Cady quote
Stay tuned for the silly little things I’m going to treat myself to – I’ve made a start by mentioning them in the “Fabulosity” section in my end of month posts – just to hold myself accountable to being more generous to “me” with my time, energy and money.