This past summer, I finally learned that it's okay to do things for myself--to treat myself to things simply because I WANT to. Those of you who know me know that I'm extremely frugal with money.
Growing up, I never had money. I remember being a little kid and waking up at 5am to pick cucumbers so I'd have money to pay for school supplies and new clothes. After a long day of working in the scorching sun, I'd earn $20 and I'd think I was rich. I'd go home and dream all night of picking cucumbers and feeling the leaves scratching my arms, the thorny cucumbers pricking my fingers. It was such hard work that it'd haunt me in my dreams.
So now, as an adult, money is very valuable to me and it makes me uncomfortable to squander it away. If anything I want to get for myself is merely a "want," I've always said, "Forget it. I don't NEED it, so I won't get it." Before I spend money, I'm always thinking, "Instead of buying this, I could be paying this bill or that bill. I could be buying the kids this or that instead. I could be saving this money for something important." That's how I've always talked myself out of spending money on what I want. The kids were an exception to my "no squandering" rule because I wanted to give them all the things I never had as a kid.
So finally this past summer, I came to realize that I'm no longer poor, but I still have the "living poor" mentality. Another thing I realized was that I've been holding back on all these things I want, and yet, other people aren't. My husband, for example, can go out and spend hundreds of dollars at one time on something for himself. My kids aren't holding back either. The $20 that made me feel like a millionaire as a kid are like cents to them.
So as a result of my revelations, one thing I'm having done soon is Lasik eye surgery. I picked the doctor with the best technology for the surgery and really great experience. Yes, he's almost $2000 more expensive than others, but I do deserve the best. And Lasik is what I've been wanting to do for nearly 10 years now, and I'm finally doing it regardless of cost!!!
It feels good just to be taking care of myself the way I've always wanted to. I'm glad I'm finally doing these things. And the best part? I don't really have any guilt about spending the money. I've worked hard and pushed myself for years to get to where I'm at today. It wasn't easy being married and having kids young. So I'm very worthy of spoiling myself once in awhile.
Next up? Traveling. It ranks as one of my top five things I want to do before I die. I have to start making a list of places I really want to experience. Any suggestions for me?
(reposted from my old myspace blog)