5 Tricks to Allow you to Treat
To treat or not to treat, that is the question. OK, well it isn’t quite Shakespeare, but it is still the question we often find ourselves asking right before we go and blow half of last week’s pay check. Yes, it’s the pleasure filled act of treating ourselves that we are going to touch on in this piece. Is treating ourselves fun? Why yes! Is doing it consistently, economically viable? Sadly no! So how should we treat our urge to treat?
Well firstly, there are several different ways we can handle our need to splurge out on ourselves. The reason there are several different ways is because there are multiple reasons as to why we want to treat ourselves. We could do it for stress-related reasons; we could do it because we believe it is an appropriate occasion or we could do it because we think we have been good. Whatever the reason, treating ourselves can be dangerous to our budget if not adequately monitored. So here is a few methods that can help us better control our urge to splurge.
Write it down as part of your budget
The trouble with treating ourselves is the fact that we see it as a one-off occurrence that we don’t always record down or think critically about. Just like a cheat meal when dieting. We spend the whole week recording all the calories we have consumed but don’t hesitate to think how many calories were in that pizza and garlic bread we managed to put away in 10 minutes the other night. We see a treat as a justified reward, so we fail to record down how much our treat set us back.
Recording how much our urge to splurge cost us, allows us to get to grips with how impactful our impulse purchase was to our financial goals. Once we can make this realisation, we can then take the right steps to help reprimand the damages by readjusting our budget and incorporating an appropriate amount of income to cover such expenditure. We will no longer have to look at our bank balance at the end of each month and ask ourselves, “where did it all go?” If we can incorporate treating ourselves into our budget, we will be able to control how big a treat we can manage while simultaneously giving our savings, breathing room to grow.
Find a cheaper alternative for chasing the thrill
Most of the time when we end up treating ourselves, we do it on things we don’t need because we are merely enjoying the fun of buying goods. We chase that feel-good moment and that rush of dopamine we get after we purchase a new pair of jeans or summer clearance dress even though it’s nearly winter. We love the thrill of shopping, and this is one of the reasons why we do it when we are feeling down or stressed.
Purchasing something feels right and well since we shouldn’t have to deny ourselves this feeling, we believe we should find cheaper alternatives to getting this thrill. Feel like you deserve a few drinks on a Friday night? Why don’t you buy a bottle of wine instead of going to the pub? Saw an expensive pair of shoes online that you thought you must have? Why don’t you buy some chocolate or treats at the supermarket instead and satisfy your urge to buy something with the cheaper alternative instead? We all have sudden urges like this, and we do deserve to fulfil them. It is just sometimes a lot cheaper to do so another way.
Have your treats as part of your routine
Another way to control the impulse urge to treat ourselves is to eliminate it by doing it regularly and make it part of our routine. Yes, we know we said treating ourselves a lot is not advised, but if we handle ourselves in a controlled manner, we might find it to have a sustainable advantage. This advice follows on from the previous points as if we can add treating ourselves into our budget and can find a cheap alternative for doing so; we might see ourselves spending less than if we let it all hit at once in the form of a night on the town or a shopping spree. Having set splurges can give us the little thrill we need while keeping it within our budget. Additionally. It will give us something to look forward too! Meaning the extra anticipation and waiting will make it all the better. It could be something as simple as fish n chip Fridays or simply a cheeky new piece of clothing once a fortnight. Having a regular time to splurge will allow us to keep track of our expenditure and keep it under control. Allowing us to have our cake and eat it too.
Create barriers to your purchases
The good thing about only splurging when it’s part of our routine is the fact that we will think about it much more carefully and critically. It’s a barrier we have created for ourselves, making it more difficult for us to purchase spontaneously. A barrier such as this gives us time to rethink our decision and ask ourselves, whether we still want it, or whether we want something else more instead?
A sound barrier method to use while shopping online is that every time you put an item in your shopping cart, wait a week before purchasing and see if you still want it. You will be surprised by the amount you will save by realising you don’t want that item that you spontaneously thought you needed.
Giving ourselves enough time to clear our head may be all we need to get ourselves in the right frame of mind to make a reasonable decision.
Think about the opportunity cost
The last piece of advice we recommend is, ‘think about what you will miss out on if you decide to buy.’ We might have a set budget, or we might have a savings goal, we should think about how the purchase would damage our progress for the week and what we could miss out on as a result of this expenditure. We could have $100 set aside for our weekly treat, but we went ahead and blew it all on a pair of shoes on Tuesday. That one spontaneous decision would mean we have to say goodbye to fish n chip Friday, beers with the boys on Saturday or even the jacket we had sitting in our shopping cart, ready to be bought on Sunday. We need to take time to think, is it worth it? Use some of the other methods we have already stated. Add it to our shopping cart and decide what item we would prefer on a later day, find a cheaper alternative such as buying some chocolate or else even getting our fish n chips early.
We need to utilise the methods and control how much we spend on our treats. We will come to realise how much our urge to splurge is costing us and we will be able to manage it more efficiently.
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