Money Anxiety (AKA Buyer’s Remorse)

Money Anxiety (AKA Buyer’s Remorse)

If you’ve ever bought a house, then you are probably familiar with the idea of buyer’s remorse. It’s when that voice in the back of your head questions whether lending six figures of debt for this house is really worth it. Many of us assume that buyer’s remorse is a normal part of the home-buying process. If you are purchasing something as significant as your home, then it’s natural to feel doubts or regret. It’s not like you are signing your life away to a mortgage lender and committing to decades of debt. No big deal. Those feelings don’t matter once you sign the dotted line and walk into your brand new home. It’s impossible to go through such a life-altering experience without just a little bit of anxiety.

My problem is that I feel buyer’s remorse for almost every purchase I make.

I’m so careful with how I spend money that I drive myself into a frenzy. What if I buy something only to regret it the next day? Like the $30 pair of shorts I bought on a whim. They don’t fit quite how I wanted, and I only bought them because they were on sale. Now I’m stuck with them forever and I’m so bad at managing my money and… Wait, do I even need these shorts? I bought them so I had clothes for golfing. But I didn’t play golf all summer. Maybe I should sell my golf clubs while I’m at it because they are just collecting dust in my closet. Golf costs too much money anyway.

Even when I make a long-term decision that I know will pay off, I still worry whether it was the right choice. After I paid off my student loans once and for all, I felt so free and relieved – until I looked at my checking account balance.

Suddenly that cushion I’d kept “just in case” was gone. Now I have to make sure enough money is there to cover my expenses. I have to track everything that goes in and out of my account so it is never overdrawn. Which means I need to check Mint three times a day to see if that credit card payment posted or if I have any fraudulent charges. I have savings to cover these scenarios, so there’s no actual reason to worry. But I still track every expense down to the penny and agonize over a pair of shorts that I’m going to return anyway.

Do you see my dilemma?

Part of my interest in personal finance is to learn how not to fall down the rabbit hole of money anxiety. How to develop healthy spending habits without worrying about where my money is going. I’ve mastered the basics, but I want to build confidence in my spending choices. I want to spend money and not feel guilty afterward.

We all want to feel like we are making the right choices. It’s hard to acknowledge our progress when we’re down in the weeds. Sometimes we need to stand up and take a look around us. We all make mistakes, but we can always learn from them. The path we’ve taken may not have been the perfect choice, but the path ahead can be better. There’s no remorse in that.

Do you ever regret your spending decisions? Have you made any changes in your spending habits to counteract buyer’s remorse? With Black Friday on the horizon, are you worried that your eyes will be bigger than your wallet?

~ Ms. RW

2 thoughts on “Money Anxiety (AKA Buyer’s Remorse)

  1. I feel this all the time! I keep receipts for a long time as a “just in case” and keep tags on clothes for as long as possible. Like you said, I need to be able to “let it go” and just focus on the big picture a little more since I do know I am managing my money. I have a big purchase coming up and need a new computer for school- will definitely be gritting my teeth a little over that one!

    1. I do the same thing with receipts! I’m a compulsive returner, which probably means I’m buying a lot of stuff that I shouldn’t 😉 It really comes down to trusting your own decisions and deciding if the purchase is really worth it. A laptop certainly falls within that criteria!

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