You work really hard to save money and get out of debt. Every year, when making your New Year’s resolutions, you vow that this will be the year you finally succeed and never look back.
You set your budget before December loses itself to January; you’ve planned how much you will put on each card, and you plan to say “no” to everything.
No more lattes from Starbuck’s drive-thru.
No more eating out with the guys.
No more weekly manicures.
At first, you’re so proud of yourself for doing well, but by January 27th, you’re starting to regret and resent your plans.
Your coworkers are going out to dinner tonight and you really, really want to go. Chips with salsa and margaritas may as well be your kryptonite, especially when it comes to hanging with the gang and gossiping about the boss after-hours.
You wrestle with your conscience and your goals.
Just one weekend won’t hurt. After all, I’ve been really great these last three (almost four!) weeks.
Off you go to your favorite Mexican restaurant to eat with the gang.
It feels so good to be free again.
You’re not thinking about the goals you established only a few weeks back; you’re thinking about how your debts aren’t going anywhere, no matter what you do. If you can’t change your future, then why not enjoy your present?
Your plans fly out the window before you’ve even given them a fair chance to work.
The unrelenting pressure of your iron-fisted budget is coming down on you hard, and you can’t stand the thought of never spending another dime on yourself. Your inner rebel is screaming to get out.
So you surrender, and let the rebel win.
Goals? What goals?
Every year, it’s exactly the same thing.
This year can be different. No, really, it can be.
Allowing yourself a few guilty pleasures that won’t break your budget or wreck your route to success will give you a budget that’s livable and easier to swallow. No one wants to live life feeling deprived.
Factor these semi-necessary splurges into your budget, and you’ll never have to feel regret about them again.
1. A gym membership
Yes, there goes your excuse to not join the gym. Sorry! The fact is, the gym is a great place to be inspired to stay fit. With the low cost of many fitness centers, it’s easy to justify $19 a month to better your health. Though the biggest win is the excellent health habits you’ll develop, the relaxation that comes after a great workout is a massive bonus. This is one expenditure you should allow yourself — and feel good about!
Buying whole fruits, veggies, and meats eliminates many middle men from the food preparation process. This means you’re getting nutrient-rich foods that will fill and fuel your body better than frozen, prepackaged, or processed foods. They may cost a little more, but YOU are well worth the investment.
3. A retirement fund
Allocate an amount that can be set aside each pay period for your retirement. Even if you already contribute to a 401K, you can increase the amount. The more you invest now, the closer you are to sitting on the front porch of life, rocking away and watching the sun set.
4. A weekend away
(Only do this if you can pay for it outright — no credit cards for this one!) Once in a while, you deserve a break. And though it may cost a bit more, a weekend away can really recharge your batteries, giving you a reason to continue on your journey of savings. Make sure to fully relax in your environment, so that when return, you’re ready to work hard and roar towards your financial goals.
5. A special reward
Maybe you’ve had your eye on a gorgeous new suit, but you have a hard time justifying the purchase with your looming debt. You longingly stare every time you pass by JoS Bros. Tuck away a little each week, so that you can get those dapper duds without breaking your budget. After all, you’ve been good and stuck to your goals, right?
By giving yourself permission to enjoy your money (within reason), you’ll be far more likely to stick with your budget and reach your goals.
What splurges do you allow yourself?