It was my mother’s dying wish that I spend money on myself. Not my kids, not my husband, not the childcare or the car repairs or even the family vacation. Me.
She made her point with increasing urgency as her illness progressed. She was tired of seeing me dressed in clothes I’d bought on sale or second-hand. She felt my (uncoloured, unruly) hair was career-limiting. My mom knew that like her, I didn’t mind splashing out on others, but agonized over treating myself to something special. If she had to die before she was ready, she wanted something good to come out of it — and so she made me promise I’d go shopping.
Now, using money my mom left me when she passed away last fall, I’m going to fulfil her wish. For the next year, I’m going to spend $1,000 a month on myself. I’ll see what happens — for good or for ill – when I behave not like the frugal working parent I’ve been for so long, but like a carefree big spender who believes she deserves to have whatever she wants. Call it my own anti-austerity plan.
Perhaps it’s shallow. Still, I have a feeling this experiment could result in a lot more than an upgraded wardrobe. (You can see the good, the bad and the ugly from my existing wardrobe here.) I’m eager to speak with other women about their hang-ups around spending and find out what’s on their fantasy shopping lists. I want to consult experts to find out if money really can buy happiness. Could changing my spending habits change the way others see me and improve my professional life? Could it cause resentment among my family and friends? Will it change the way I claim my place in the world?
As I honour my mother’s wish — and write about it — I hope to start a conversation on how women feel about money, spending and self-worth. Please join the conversation! I'd love to know what you think.