Such a small amount, but I was giddy about the unexpected little windfall for days.
The check for fifty dollars, printed on carefully patterned, possibly watermarked, paper arrived in a standard issue Number Ten window envelope, the kind used when a government department has a big mailing list.
The check, easily torn away from the bottom of an 8 ½” x 11” piece of paper, was accompanied by a short form letter from the state controller’s office. Basically, it explained that I had made a small over-payment on last year’s state income tax bill.
Oh, it was a reFUNd check. I thought about the word. The unexpected windfall was a reminder for me to have FUN.
This special delivery felt different than when I receive a rebate check for buying a favorite brand of spirits at the liquor store, although waiting three months for my “show me the money” moment feels like a surprise as well. In many cases, I had forgotten that a check was coming to me.
Receiving an Income tax “return” is also different.
No surprises are involved. Whether as a check or as a direct deposit, people who overpaid their federal income taxes for the year know how much they should expect. In many cases, people have already spent their return money or gotten loans based on expectations.
No. This felt different.
The amount was not so small it could be easily mixed in with change that collected on top of my dresser, nor so large it would quickly get earmarked for an overdue household project like new windows or a kitchen refresh.
The amount was perfect for treating myself to something nice without an accompanying dose of guilt.
A nice dinner out? A piece of clothing or jewelry? A hardcover book?
It seems to be easy to spend money on a gift. Some type of calculations might take place. I might ask myself some questions like How close is this person? or What kind of gifts have I received from them? before making a purchase. But it’s often easier to justify spending money on someone else.
It’s a no-brainer to spend money, even to dip into savings, for car repairs, or for a new furnace. Maybe it feels okay to take out a loan to pay for education. If something feels necessary to a bigger thing, there’s always a way to find the money.
I remember a workshop I took many years ago about the different energies of money: earning, saving, spending, investing, and giving it away. It’s important to have a good relationship with all of them.
It feels important to enjoy some of what you spend money on, but I will often get caught up on the practical aspects of spending and not give much attention to the pleasure money can help me access.
It seems to be important to ENJOY your resources.
Self-love and self-care is often associated with treating yourself to things you enjoy. Yet, I know that spending money on yourself is not a direct reflection of how much you value yourself.
Buying a fully loaded Lexus or booking yourself on a small group safari may actually be aimed at convincing yourself you’re worth extra comfort or great adventures while not actually believing it.
Fifty dollars is an amount that doesn’t demand deep psychological attention. I considered that spending the fifty dollars simply on something FUN did not invite self-judgements. It was not an amount that robbed funds allocated for something I needed.
It was merely about treating myself to something I wanted, something I could enjoy. At a time and place of my choosing.
My mind returned to thoughts about the “spending” aspect of my relationship with money.
Enjoyment definitely needs to be married to any act of spending, of allocating resources. Whether the money is hard-earned or gifted, whether the amount is large or small or something in between — it seems that any spending gesture should be accompanied by joy.
Receive, Spend, Enjoy. Repeat.
Not forgetting the FUN in ReFUNd is no small thing.