I’ve always labelled myself frugal, thrifty, even a money-hoarder, but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered I might actually suffer from chrometophobia. 

What on Earth is Chrometophobia?

What is chrometophobia you ask? No, it isn’t the fear of chrome (though I’m not really a fan if I’m being honest). It’s the fear of spending money. Yes, there really is a fear for everything.

And Why Do I Think I Have It?

I bet you have chrometophobia just like me.Here’s the thing, I love money. I love making money, I love managing money and most of all I love saving money. But I don’t like spending money. To the point where I’m almost bitter when I have to part with it. Some people have a hard time not spending it, but I’m the anti-shopaholic.

Case in point, I recently applied for a new credit card. This is the first credit card I’ve applied for that required me to pay an annual fee. I’ve never been a credit card churner and I’ve always been too damn cheap to pay for a credit card (the credit card companies are rich enough!).

But I realized I was using my credit card every day, and if I got the card just above mine and paid $40/year, I’d get double the points. Seemed like a no brainer, so I applied for it.

Not surprisingly, my new credit card arrived in the mail in less than a week. I was happy to finally have a credit card that would get me better rewards, but I just couldn’t let go of the fact that I had to pay for it.

I mean, the credit card companies are seriously making a killing, I’ve never been late on a payment, and all my investments are with the same institution I got the credit card from. They literally already have all my money, couldn’t they spare me the damn $40?

So I made a call. I asked them to waive the first year’s fee. They said no at first, but eventually I convinced them that it was in their best interest to waive it. There are a number of other credit cards I could get, and they should just let this one go. And they did.

Does that sound crazy to you? In retrospect, I can agree that it is. But honestly the idea of giving up $40 for something so ridiculous gave me anxiety. Chrometophobia 1, sensible frugality 0.

Need Some More Convincing?

Here’s another example. I’ve been working really hard at my job and on my side business, so this past weekend I decided it was time I treat myself. For the longest time I’ve been wanting to buy myself a new purse. Nothing overly pricey like a Louis Vuitton bag and nothing too basic like a Coach purse, but something in between. I’m talking like a Kate Spade or Rebecca Minkoff type situation.

Saks Fifth Avenue just opened up downtown, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to check it out and feel a little luxurious for an afternoon. The minute I stepped foot in there, I wanted to run away.

It wasn’t just because of the smug looks I was getting from the staff. I was seriously too afraid to touch anything in there for fear of their “you broke it, you bought it policy.” I spent maybe 2 minutes in there then walked right into The Bay as if that’s where I’d intended to go all along.

Luckily The Bay had a pretty good selection of purses at my preferred price point (I was going to let myself drop $300-$500 on a bag). I spent honestly almost an hour there, checking out every single purse, researching reviews on my phone, and I even got close to make it to the register a few times. But I just couldn’t do it.

Maybe it was because in essence it’s completely ridiculous to drop that kind of money on a purse. Or maybe it’s because every time I considered actually buying one I remembered how hard I’d worked to afford such a purchase. No matter the case, I ended up leaving with the conclusion that I might never feel comfortable spending money on something so expensive. Even if I could afford to.

So What Does This All Mean?

I think this means that I’m mindful with my money. Maybe labelling is chrometophobia is a bit of a stretch, but the thought of spending $40 on a credit card and $500 on a purse did give me some serious anxiety.

That being said, I do spend money on things and don’t feel anxious every time money leaves my bank account. I just choose to spend my money on things I value more, like food, wine, social activities and travel.

Those are the things that bring me joy in life. As much as I like my Kate Spade purse that I got for $200 at an outlet mall in 3 years ago, it doesn’t bring me any joy. It holds my wallet, glasses and keys. That’s pretty much it.

Have you ever felt anxious when you’re about to spend money? Has there ever been something you’ve wanted to buy but just couldn’t do it?

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