The fear of spending money is known as chrometophobia, according to MedicineNet. Although it’s a rare phobia that affects only a small number of people, it can be an overwhelming one.
While debt and financial issues can be scary for everybody, people who suffer from chrometophobia experience a lot of anxiety when they have to spend money. Sometimes the fear is so irrational that they freeze and are unable to even pay for basic essential needs.
How to recognise the fear of spending money
Chrometophobia symptoms can be varied, so it might be hard at first to recognise there’s a problem. As with other phobias, however, the fear can be so intense that at some point closed friends and family members are likely to notice something’s amiss.
Some of the most common signs that chrometophobia might be a problem include:
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- Avoiding conversations or even thinking about money. Since people with chrometophobia often feel powerless when it comes to managing their finances, they want to focus on it as little as possible.
- A refusal to pay bills or buy basic necessities, including cleaning supplies, personal care products or even food.
- Avoiding activities that have a cost, such as travel, going to the movies or joining a gym. While people who are saving money might also avoid this, people with a fear of spending money are not doing this with a savings goal in mind.
- An obsession with counting money and checking bank accounts. People with chrometophobia might check their bank account or their wallet several times a day. They might also experience extreme stress if they notice money missing (for example, after an automatic bill paying withdrawal or buying something).
- People with a fear of spending money sometimes suffer from anxiety or depression. They also sometimes experience physical symptoms such as shortness of breath.
How to move past the fear of spending money
Money is often a taboo subject. According to financial advisory organisation deVere Group, 56% of people surveyed find talking about personal finances very difficult.
But talking about it more can actually make the symptoms of chrometophobia better. Confiding in close friends or family about your money woes can help you get a different perspective on your finances and how to deal with them. In addition to discussing your finances, there are other ways to deal with chrometophobia:
- Track all of your expenses. If you have a budget, you’ll know exactly where your money is going so you don’t have to worry about not having enough.
- Set up an emergency fund. Having savings set aside can ease worries about running out of money if something happens.
- Start giving yourself an ‘allowance’, a set amount of money you can spend on yourself every week or every month. This will teach you to relax a little around money without feeling like you’re losing control of it.
- Spend some time learning about finances. Read about investing, savings, and retirement accounts. The best way to deal with a fear of spending money is to understand it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Mental health charity Mind offers tips on finding a therapist.
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