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How to “Treat Yo Self” Without Ruining Your Budget

There’s definitely been a shift in the last 5-10 years in the idea of self-care. From the concept of “YOLO” to “treat yo self,” to “FOMO,” more and more people are better at splurging on things for themselves. We travel more, spend more going out, attend more events, etc. It’s about living life to it’s fullest and not looking back and having regrets. It’s about never saying no.

Listen, this is all great. I’m not going to say this shift is bad. I think we SHOULD invest time and energy into ourselves and our well-being. We should be doing things that make us happy. We should be trying new things. But…there’s a point where “treat yo self,” becomes an excuse for throwing all financial caution to the wind. A point where we let our fear of missing out turn into credit card debt or unpaid bills or an empty savings account.

There becomes a point where 'treat yo self' becomes an excuse for throwing all financial caution to the wind. Click To Tweet

The truth is, it’s all about balance. You shouldn’t toil away week after week and never find ways to treat yourself or live life to it’s fullest, but you also shouldn’t completely neglect your financial future in the name of living life.

This is a lesson I learned myself. I’ve written plenty of times in the past about my financial mistakes and learning the hard way about how to have a proper budget. Before you have any financial plan, it can seem utterly hopeless. You never feel like you’re going to pay off that bill or save up for that item. But, trust me, it can be done. And, one of the best steps is learning how to treat yourself without ruining your budget completely.

Save Up For Special Items

Remember when you were a kid and you’d save your allowance for months for that one toy you really wanted? Yea, this is kinda like that.

Many of us fall into the habit of purchase now and pay off later (thanks to credit card dependency.) We buy a new phone because we’re “getting a tax return in a few months” or justify an expensive item we wanted by charging it and paying it off over 6 months. The problem here is we’re treating ourselves with money we don’t even have and putting the responsibility on our future self. This doesn’t account for unexpected costs (your car needs repairs, a medical bill, etc.) We’re just assuming our future self will have the money to pay it off. Almost never does this happen the way we plan which is why buying on impulse is often a bad idea.

Instead, try saving up for something you want instead of indulging in instant gratification. Sure, you might have to wait a few months to get what you want, but it’ll feel even that much better.

Here are some tips for saving money for an item:

  • Put away a set amount from each paycheck
  • Skip a few events or dinners out and put the money you would have spent aside for the item you want
  • Sell some items you don’t need anymore on OfferUp or Letgo
  • Take some clothes to consignment
  • Challenge yourself to cut 10% of your grocery costs each week and put that money aside
  • Use a piggy bank! Sounds simple enough but anytime you have any single dollars throw them in there. While you’re not going to get $1,000 in a month or two, the dollars can start to add up quick!

Limit Thy Treats

The cold hard truth is the MORE and MORE we treat ourselves the LESS and LESS special it feels. Treating yourself is supposed to be that, a treat! If we start treating ourselves for every little thing it will stop feeling special.

The cold hard truth is the MORE and MORE we treat ourselves the LESS and LESS special it feels. Click To Tweet

Even though the so-called treats are often small things (a fancy cocktail here, a pair of shoes 50% of there) it starts to add up. And, quick. Not to mention, if you treat yourself too much it will stop feeling special. So, it’s important to restrain yourself and limit how often and how many times.

Learn to Appreciate the Little Things

Another way to treat yourself without breaking the bank is creating varying levels of “treats.” Rewarding yourself with a new pair of shoes is a bigger treat while rewarding yourself by having an at home mani is a smaller treat. If you can learn to appreciate little things, you can reward yourself more often without putting any strain on your budget.

Some of my favorite free or super cheap ways to treat myself:

  • Skipping a house chore and taking the dogs for a walk instead
  • Sleeping in 20 minutes (or going to bed 20 minutes early)
  • At-home hair mask
  • Having a small goody like a cake pop from Starbucks or getting an afternoon coffee (typically these are things that cost $4 or less.)
  • Taking a 15-minute catnap

Whatever you’re treating yourself with should directly relate to whatever you’re treating yourself for. Going on a shopping spree because you had one bad day at work might not be totally justified, but, treating yourself to a dessert or fancy coffee drink does.

The real key to treating yourself without entirely ruining your budget is to make sure you’re not overdoing it. A treat should be special, not something you do every other day. The second trick is finding small ways to treat yourself in between your bigger rewards. When it all comes down to it, the real magic of treating yourself is a little bit of a mind game with yourself. Giving yourself breaks and rewards for hard days or a job well done, but without overdoing it and justifying everything by saying you’re “treating yourself.”

What are your favorite ways to treat yourself? (big or small)

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