Afraid of Spending Money? Here Are 5 Perks of Your Phobia

By Emily Guy Birken on 10 May 2016 1 comment

Several years ago at a blogger conference, I was telling a fellow freelance writer how difficult it was for me to get work done while I traveled since I didn't have a laptop. It was 2012, and I had been a professional writer for two years at the time.

My colleague's mouth fell open. "You do know that you could take a tax deduction, right?" she reminded me.

I knew. I just couldn't justify the expense of a laptop when I had a perfectly good desktop computer to work from at home. Maybe my writing career wouldn't work out, after all, and then I'd have spent the money for nothing.

Looking back, I now realize that my irrational refusal to buy a laptop was probably a symptom of chrometophobia — the fear of money, or the fear of spending money. I have been a chrometophobe my entire life, even as a small child. I can remember refusing to spend snack money on a field trip in elementary school, just in case I needed the money later.

But unnecessary travel stress and rumbly tummy aside, being afraid to spend money isn't all bad. Here are five unexpected perks of feeling the irrational fear of spending money.

1. You're Covered in an Emergency

My fear of spending money really comes down to a fear of wasting money. I did not buy a laptop for myself until well after my first book was published because I was worried that purchasing a second computer would be a waste of money if my writing career didn't pan out. I didn't want to waste the cost of laptop if I didn't ultimately need it.

That level of irrational fear does give me a robust emergency fund, however. Since I am afraid to spend money unnecessarily, the unspent money ends up in my savings account, where I can count on it in case of a real emergency. I would even argue that I get much more visceral satisfaction out of seeing the numbers in my accounts go up than I ever would get out of buying a material possession.

2. You Find Creative Solutions to Problems

Spending money is often the simplest and easiest method of problem solving — but those problems still need to be solved if you are afraid to spend that money. For instance, while I was in graduate school, the latch on my favorite purse broke, making it impossible to close. I could have bought another purse or spent money to have it fixed. Instead, I decided to MacGyver it, and come up with my own solution.

With some hot glue and a color-coordinated hair rubber band, I managed to fashion a loop that held the latch closed and looked great, without spending a dime. It even made me love the purse more than I did before it broke.

3. Spring Cleaning Is MUCH Easier

While much of America is just now embracing the minimalist, Marie Kondo lifestyle, chrometophobes have long understood how beneficial it can be to own only what you need. If you are afraid to spend money, then your house will already be a lovely minimalist retreat, with no repeated trips to Goodwill necessary in order to get there.

Relatively empty homes are also much easier to keep clean and organized, meaning chrometophobes who also suffer from germaphobia have a leg up on keeping their homes nice and tidy.

4. Receiving Bills Is Not Stressful

The fear of spending money is not exactly fun. I can distinctly remember the ice cream my elementary school best friend bought on the field trip when I refused to spend my snack money, since it probably tasted much better than the air in my mouth.

However, when you feel stress about spending money, you don't feel financial stress at the time most people do — when receiving a bill. There is actually something rather satisfying about receiving your credit card bill with a $0 balance, because you've either spent no money or you keep it paid off.

5. You Avoid Getting Burned by Fads

For about as long as they have been available, I have yearned for a FitBit. This is because I have the (mistaken) impression that this is the gadget that will finally help me achieve my goals for fitness, sleep, and organization — along with the ability to summon unicorns. Despite all of the hopes that I have pinned on the FitBit, I have not yet purchased one because that would send my chrometophobia into overdrive.

However, not buying a FitBit (or any other must-have purchase) has proven to be a great thing. By not purchasing the latest thing as soon as it comes out, I am able to avoid the bugs that early adopters must put up with. Also, waiting allows the market plenty of time to come up with cheaper alternatives, and it means I have a wealth of reviews and information to learn from when I do finally decide to make a purchase.

Learning to Love Your Chrometophobia

It can be easy to only focus on ways that your fear of spending money can be a drag. But handled correctly, chrometophobia can actually enhance your bottom line without negatively affecting your life.

Just learn from my biggest mistake: Don't pass up the opportunity to buy ice cream. Ever.

Do you have a fear of spending money? Share your money management tips with us!

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Guest's picture
Jessica Moorhouse

Great piece, and I hear ya on the laptop thing. I went through university without one and it even took me a while to get a cell phone with data. But that's probably not surprising re: my chrometophobia post you linked to! :)