Afraid of spending money? Here are 5 perks of your phobia

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How to Stop Spending So Much Money



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 a 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.

Related: The best cities for saving money

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The 15 Best Cities for Saving Money (Unlisted)
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Afraid of spending money? Here are 5 perks of your phobia

15. Garland, Texas

  • Population: 235,501
  • Median income: $51,997
  • Unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • Median home listing price: $160,000
  • Median monthly rent: $1,350
  • Average gas price: $1.678
  • Average cost of groceries: $36.77
  • Sales tax: 8.25%

This suburb of Dallas is more affordable than its much larger neighbor, which is in the No. 49 spot in this ranking. Although the median income in Garland is slightly below the national median income of $53,482, housing costs are relatively low. Plus, Texas is one of seven states that doesn’t have an income tax, so residents can keep more of their paycheck and stash it in a savings account.

Photo credit: Andrei Tudoran/Shutterstock.com

14. Colorado Springs, Colo.

  • Population: 445,830
  • Median income: $54,228
  • Unemployment rate: 4%
  • Median home listing price: $269,900
  • Median monthly rent: $1,325
  • Average gas price: $1.704
  • Average cost of groceries: $29.41
  • Sales tax: 7.63%

Colorado Springs ranks as one of the best places for outdoor lovers, but it’s also a great place for savers. Just 60 miles south of Denver, Colorado Springs offers a more affordable alternative to Colorado’s capital, which is 69th on GOBankingRates' list of the best places for saving money. The median home list price and median rent in Denver are more than 35 percent higher than in Colorado Springs. That means residents of Colorado Springs have more room in their budgets to save.

Photo credit: photo.ua/Shutterstock.com

13. Oklahoma Cita, Okla.

  • Population: 620,602
  • Median income: $47,004
  • Unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Median home listing price: $195,000
  • Median monthly rent: $1,195
  • Average gas price: $1.687
  • Average cost of groceries: $33.99
  • Sales tax: 8.38%

Even though Oklahoma City is the largest city in Oklahoma — and the capital — it doesn’t have a big-city price tag. Relatively low housing, gas and grocery costs leave residents more room in their budgets to save.

Photo credit: Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock.com

12. Austin, Texas

  • Population: 912,791
  • Median income: $55,216
  • Unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Median home listing price: $359,000
  • Median monthly rent: $1,480
  • Average gas price: $1.557
  • Average cost of groceries: $30.91
  • Sales tax: 8.25%

The capital of Texas is known for its live music scene, trendsetting restaurants and South by Southwest festival. But Austin isn’t just a place for music lovers, foodies and techies — it’s a great place for savers. Gas and grocery costs are low, and housing costs are manageable in a city with a median income that tops the national median income.

Photo credit: iStock.com/David Sucsy

11. Arlington, Texas

  • Population: 383,204
  • Median income: $53,055
  • Unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • Median home listing price: $186,560
  • Median monthly rent: $1,395
  • Average gas price: $1.655
  • Average cost of groceries: $33.35
  • Sales tax: 8%

This city makes GOBankingRates' list of best places for savers for the second year in a row. Arlington is another Dallas suburb that’s more affordable than its bigger neighbor. Its relatively low housing costs and daily expenses along with a median income that’s on par with the national median income give the city’s residents a better ability to save.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Aneese

10. Tulsa, Okla.

  • Population: 399,682
  • Median income: $41,957
  • Unemployment rate: 3.9%
  • Median home listing price: $136,900
  • Median monthly rent: $975
  • Average gas price: $1.627
  • Average cost of groceries: $32.31
  • Sales tax: 8.52%

Like Oklahoma City, the state’s second-largest city is a great place for savers. Although the median income in Oklahoma City is higher, lower housing costs in Tulsa offset the difference and land it higher in this ranking.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Davel5957

9. Omaha, Neb.

  • Population: 446,599
  • Median income: $48,751
  • Unemployment rate: 3%
  • Median home listing price: $169,700
  • Median monthly rent: $1,100
  • Average gas price: $1.841
  • Average cost of groceries: $33
  • Sales tax: 7%

Notoriously frugal billionaire Warren Buffett lives in this Midwestern city that ranks as one of the most affordable places to live. It has the lowest unemployment rate on this list. Despite low housing costs, the median income is relatively low, which is why Omaha doesn’t rank higher on this list of best places for savers.

Photo credit: iStock.com/DenisTangneyJr

8. Fort Wayne, Ind.

  • Population: 258,522
  • Median income: $43,994
  • Unemployment rate: 4.4%
  • Median home listing price: $97,900
  • Median monthly rent: $650
  • Average gas price: $1.827
  • Average cost of groceries: $31.64
  • Sales tax: 7%

Fort Wayne returns to the No. 8 spot in GOBankingRates' ranking, the same spot it earned in 2015. It has the cheapest median rent and cheapest median home list price among the best cities for savers. However, a relatively low median income leaves residents with less to save and prevents this city in northeastern Indiana from ranking higher.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Davel5957

7. San Antonio, Texas

  • Population: 1,436,697
  • Median income: $46,317
  • Unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Median home listing price: $229,000
  • Median monthly rent: $1,136
  • Average gas price: $1.527
  • Average cost of groceries: $31.02
  • Sales tax: 8.25%

Although bigger than Austin and Dallas, San Antonio boasts a lower cost of living, which means residents can afford to stash more in savings. You can even soak up the culture of this city for free by strolling along the top tourist destination in Texas — the San Antonio River Walk.

Read: 35 Secrets to Saving Money in 2016

Photo credit: iStock.com/H 1photo

6. Virginia Beach, Va.

  • Population: 450,980
  • Median income: $67,001
  • Unemployment rate: 4.5%
  • Median home listing price: $264,900
  • Median monthly rent: $1,600
  • Average gas price: $1.552
  • Average cost of groceries: $32.24
  • Sales tax: 6%

Virginia Beach has the lowest sales tax among the top 15 best cities for savers. Housing, grocery and gas costs also are relatively low in this city on the Atlantic Coast. Plus, a median income that’s well above the national median income helps make it easier to save in Virginia Beach than in many other cities.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Imagesbybarbara

5. Chandler, Ariz.

  • Population: 254,276
  • Median income: $72,072
  • Unemployment rate: 4.7%
  • Median home listing price: $310,990
  • Median monthly rent: $1,495
  • Average gas price: $1.497
  • Average cost of groceries: $34.67
  • Sales tax: 7.8%

Housing costs in this suburb of Phoenix are actually higher than its much larger neighbor. But the median income is more than $25,000 higher in Chandler than in Phoenix, which ranks 31st on GOBankingRates' list. Higher wages help offset slightly higher housing costs, giving residents more ability to save in this city that has a strong high-tech employment base.

Photo credit: iStock.com/ubu-ibmee

4. Kansas City, Mo.

  • Population: 470,800
  • Median income: $45,376
  • Unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • Median home listing price: $134,900
  • Median monthly rent: $825
  • Average gas price: $1.689
  • Average cost of groceries: $31.98
  • Sales tax: 8.35%

Kansas City is known for its barbecue and jazz, but it also offers affordable living. Fort Wayne, Ind., is the only place among the top 15 best cities for savers that boasts lower median rent and home list prices than Kansas City. But Kansas City’s median income is higher, giving its residents a better ability to stash more in savings.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Davel5957

3. Lubbock, Texas

  • Population: 243,839
  • Median income: $44,139
  • Unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Median home listing price: $179,500
  • Median monthly rent: $1,050
  • Average gas price: $1.603
  • Average cost of groceries: $28.34
  • Sales tax: 8.25%

Home to Texas Tech University, Lubbock is called the Hub of the Plains. Although the median income level is lower than the national median income, the unemployment rate is low, as are housing costs. An affordable cost of living makes it easier to save in Lubbock.

Photo credit: iStock.com/DenisTangneyJr

2. Plano, Texas

  • Population: 278,480
  • Median income: $82,944
  • Unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • Median home listing price: $320,000
  • Median monthly rent: $1,895
  • Average gas price: $1.678
  • Average cost of groceries: $32.28
  • Sales tax: 8.25%

Plano is a better city for savers than some of the better-known Texas cities on this list. Although Plano has the second-highest median home list price and highest median rent among the top 15 best cities for savers, it also has the highest median income, which means its residents have more to set aside in savings. With several major corporations headquartered in Plano, it’s been named America’s No. 1 city to find a job and the third hardest working city in America by Money Magazine.

Photo credit: iStock.com/olddays

1. Gilbert, Ariz.

  • Population: 239,277
  • Median income: $81,485
  • Unemployment rate: 4.7% (phoenix metro area)
  • Median home listing price: $300,000
  • Median monthly rent: $1,400
  • Average gas price: $1.497
  • Average cost of groceries: $34.67
  • Sales tax: 7.8%

Once known as the Hay Capital of the World, Gilbert is now a booming suburb of Phoenix with one of the highest median incomes in the state of Arizona. In fact, nearly 34 percent of the city’s population is characterized as “boomburbs” with a median household income of $105,000, according Gilbert economic development data.

Although housing costs are higher in Gilbert than in many of the other best cities for savers, they’re not the highest. And the high income there helps propel Gilbert to the top of this list.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Bob Balestri

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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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