Adhering to a strict financial plan is a lot like following a healthy diet. You do it because you know it will help you feel good now and set yourself up for the best possible future.
Image: Scott Warman on Unsplash
But, and let’s be honest, being “responsible” with your money is often hard and boring, especially when you’re trying to break bad habits or form new, lasting ones. So just like any diet, it’s OK – probably even healthy – to have a cheat day every now and then.
Some personal finance opinion-havers (such as this guy) are absolutists who will tell you that if you aren’t frugal and responsible with your money 100 per cent of the time you’re doomed to fail in this life. I’ve written about my feelings on the subject before, but it bears repeating: If the broad strokes of your financial life are in order, then why not have a little fun with your money?
We often focus on ways to save: Spending freezes, savings games, and rules on what we can purchase and when. But that mentality assumes that spending is your default, and you need to make an extra effort to save. Planning for cheat days is one way to flip that script.
Just like taking a leave day to run errands can help you be more productive once you go back to work, a financial cheat day is a way to reset and refresh your mindset. I’m not suggesting a full on Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle-inspired Treat Yo’ Self day, but rather indulge in whatever “extra” activity or product it is that you like to spend money on but don’t most days – say, getting a pedicure or going out to dinner with friends.
Splurge on a nicer bottle of wine or an extra dessert to take home while you’re at it, and enjoy. No guilt necessary.
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