Thanks for this piece!!! I grew up as a child of war orphans who were used to be ultra frugal as a matter of survival — but luckily we as a family managed to find a healthy way to spend a tad more without giving up on frugality. So I’d like to offer two suggestions that helped me a lot to become more relaxed about money.
First of all, as my frugality was based in a fear of running out of money, I found immense benefits in making financial plans. I am tracking how much I’m spending by category and compare against a budget I’ve set myself — staying within the budget signals that you’rein control and hence calms your nerves. The budget — backed up by data showing that it’s realistic — also tells you how much money you need to sustain x months or years without income, or for retirement. Separating “luxury” categories vs must have categories (e.g. restaurant meals vs groceries) also allows you to safely “allow” yourself to occasionally spoil yourself a bit while stretching your savings even longer in a worst case scenario (in which you could stop indulgence). You even could go a step further and define a plan for further “saving opportunities” — e.g. switching from car to e-bike. Basically you make spending money feel a lot safer because you know exactly how much you would need in case of an emergency and how well your piggy bank compares to that!
Second, I wonder if you feel better about money you spend on your partner than about money you spend on yourself. Doesn’t he suffer at all if you save excessively? How does he feel about sewage in the shower? If you imagine more vividly how excessive saving will impact him, maybe you can feel a stronger urge to spend money to provide him a comfortable and safe life!😃
On the upside, most people seem to be in a treadmill of consuming more and more stuff that doesn’t make them happy. So don’t castigate yourself too much — I think it’s also worth celebrating if you avoided an expense and find that you end up being at least as happy as you would have been with that purchase!