Budgeting your money is a good, healthy, terribly guilt-inducing habit. If you get to a point where you're saving money, spending reasonably, and have a plan, however, you don't need to feel guilty for every single purchase.
Money food picture from Shutterstock
Personal finance blog Money Ning points out how this concept applies to a food budget. Despite cooking most meals from home, eating healthy, and wasting very little food, the guilt still remains if the family eats out, or if they buy more expensive meats. The problem is, feeling guilty because of the price tag doesn't help anyone. In fact, it can encourage you to make less healthy or fulfilling choices:
After years of writing about how to save money on your groceries and giving advice to friends and family, I will let you in on a little secret. I do not worry too much about what I spend at the grocery store. Obviously I don't go crazy on what I buy, but I just get what feels comfortable for our family. Some months I might spend $US100-200 extra if there are amazing meat (usually organic meat) clearances. Other months, I might spend $US100-200 less because I am benefiting from a full freezer. When I had a strict grocery budget, I would miss out on good clearance deals, and I often felt deprived and fell to the temptation of eating out several times a month. If my freezer is full, and I have good, fresh ingredients on hand, there is no temptation to eat out. I can whip up a quick and healthy meal faster than it takes for my husband and I to decide where to eat.
Of course, this concept doesn't just apply to food budgets (though that's a good area not to deprive yourself). If you have a solid savings plan, invest for your future, pay your bills on time, and either have no debt or a plan to wipe it out, feeling guilty about a purchase won't help your finances.
As much as we all like to deny it, there are certain things that we like spending money on. Experiences, food, or just the occasional indulgence. Constantly depriving yourself is a quick way to compromise your budget. Instead, give yourself space to be a real person, instead of a calculator, to avoid the guilt.
Why I Stopped Having a Strict Grocery Budget [MoneyNing]