How To Reward Yourself Without Derailing Your Financial Goals
The truth is that you work so hard for your money so it's only fair that you get to reward yourself every now and then right? Well yes! You definitely deserve to treat yourself and have fun and what girl doesn't love to look good, take nice trips and enjoy life?!
However, when it come's to rewards and spending money, you want to make sure you are doing it the right way by spending smartly and not derailing your financial goals. So how do you reward yourself and still stay on top of those goals you set? You need to plan accordingly and that's what this post is all about.
1. Designate some fun money in your budget
All work and no play is never any fun, especially if you are working so hard to earn your money. That being said, working hard and playing excessively can be detrimental when it comes to your finances. Feeling like you deserve something, and as a result overspending, is the biggest culprit when it comes to the derailment of many financial goals.
You can avoid this by building your rewards A.K.A your fun money into your monthly budget (once all your essentials have been met in each budget cycle), this way you don't find yourself feeling like your budget is a punishment because you haven't given yourself any wiggle room.
If you want to purchase something that costs more than your monthly fun money allocation, then plan to save part of your fun money over a few months towards the purchase you want to make - the result? Guilt free spending and your financial goals will remain intact.
If you have debt, a great approach is to reward yourself in a small way each time you pay off a chunk of money.
"Spend your money on the things you truly value. You'll find that you are happier and more content about your purchase!"
2. Reward yourself with the things that matter to you
It's important to ensure that as you reward yourself, you are spending your money on things & experiences that you really want / like and are of value to you. Why? Because the more in-tune you are with spending money on the things you value, the less likely you are to feel discontentment which in turn can lead to overspending.
For example, if you value spending time with loved ones, then your fun money can go towards experiences them e.g. dinners, movies etc (Keep in mind that you don't need to spend money to have a good time - cue the Netflix and homemade popcorn!), after which you are very likely to find yourself feeling happy, grateful and content.
However, if instead you spend your fun money on things you don't really care about, you might find yourself spending more and more to find that next best thing (which doesn't exist, because you are not spending your money on what you truly value) and you'll still find yourself wishing for the experiences you want to have with your loved ones.
3. Reward yourself for free
As I mentioned above, rewards don't always have to be about spending money. You can reward yourself for free in so many ways! Examples include finding free entertainment (free museums days and events in your city), having potluck nights in with your friends and family, using any loyalty or rewards points you have accumulated instead of spending cash etc
4. If you don't need to spend it, save it
Ever find yourself not wanting or needing to reward yourself all the time? Take that money you have from your budget and repurpose it towards your financial goals. Put it in your savings or investment account or be charitable. Just because you have put aside money in your budget towards a reward does mean you need to spend (it all) if you don't really have to.
5. Don't get caught up in comparison, be content with what you have
Don't feel like you need to spend money to impress anyone. You've probably heard the saying that comparison is the thief of joy and it really is. Don't spend money you don't need to spend to impress anyone otherwise you'll find yourself competing with them and buying things you don't like or need and they probably won't even notice (and they won't be helping you pay the bills). If you are rewarding yourself, do it because you really want to and you are going to be happy about what you spend your money on - for you.
Bola Sokunbi is the founder of Clever Girl Finance and she's passionate about helping women take control of their money so they can live life on their own terms.