As Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford said in Parks and Rec, “Treat yo’ self!”
Treating yourself means spending time and money on the things that bring you joy. Whether you love jewelry, travel, books or sports, treating yourself can be a very positive, and smart, way to spend your money.
On the flip side, it can also get out of hand if you’re not careful. So while it’s important to set aside some money for fun and enjoyment, it’s also important to make sure you’re doing so responsibly. Here are some tips for treating yourself without blowing your finances:
Plan to Treat Yourself
Possibly the most important rule for treating yourself is to plan for it. Planning means including a set amount into your budget each month for fun purchases, or creating savings funds for those extras that you really want.
This achieves a couple different things. First, you can eliminate the guilt that sometimes accompanies impulse buys. When you’ve built a “treat yourself” fund into your budget, you know exactly how much you can spend without blowing your financial plans.
Second, planning requires you to put a bit more thought into what you’re treating yourself with. If you’ve had a rough week and decide to do some impulse shopping over the weekend, you might buy things that you won’t care about in a month or two. But if you know you have a set amount to spend, you can plan for and save for the things you truly want.
Avoid Being Influenced By Others
Other people can be surprisingly influential on your spending habits, even if you tend to be a careful spender. If everyone around you is buying bigger houses, installing pools in their backyards or going on lavish vacations, it can start to feel like you should do the same.
According to Mint, more than a third of Americans admitted to overspending to keep up with the fun things their friends post on social media. Additionally, 64 percent of Americans wonder how their friends afford the trips and expenses they share online.
The more you compare yourself to your friends and family online, the more it can start to feel like you’re behind or missing out.
Once again, planning (and staying off social media) can help you overcome your FOMO. If you plan and budget for enjoyable “treat yourself” opportunities, then you’ll have something to look forward to without the guilt of overspending.
Focus on Experiences
Stuff might be fun, but when it comes to treating yourself, experiences take the cake. Experiences enrich your life and allow you to make cherished memories that you’ll have for a lifetime.
Traveling broadens your horizons, improves your mental health and boosts creativity, to name a few benefits. Even the act of planning a trip can lift your spirits and give you something to look forward to.
Plus, experiences don’t have to be expensive to be valuable. A picnic with your family at the park, a midweek ice cream outing, or a cooking class for date night can have some of the same benefits as traveling somewhere new. It shakes up your routine and focuses on quality time with loved ones.
Spend on Wellness
In addition to experiences, wellness can be another excellent way to treat yourself. This is going to look very different for everyone, but the key is that it benefits you in some way.
Think about the things that you truly enjoy and make you feel good. That could look like investing in a fitness class, buying higher quality ingredients to cook meals instead of takeout, or even purchasing bath bombs with the intention of taking a relaxing, luxurious bath every week. What matters is the intention behind it, and spending on things that make you feel good, not guilty.
Enlist an Accountability Partner
If you know that you struggle to manage impulse spending, an accountability partner might help you stay on track. This could be a friend, spouse or financial planner who helps you weigh spending decisions.
Additionally, know your triggers. If you overspend in Target, try sticking to a list, buying a gift card each month that has the set amount you can spend, or avoiding Target altogether.
You can also set up an account that is only for spending money. That way, you can spend without guilt and know that you are still in line with your budget.
However you do it, the important thing is to know yourself, your money behaviors and your limits around spending.
About Your Richest Life
At Your Richest Life, Katie Brewer, CFP®, believes you too should have access to financial resources and fee-only financial planning. For more information on the services offered, contact Katie today.