We’ve talked about taking spending freezes, allowing ourselves to buy nice things every now and then, and delineating our money goals, all to help get us in the right financial mindset to save money. Another strategy I like is overcoming the immediate-gratification urge by picking something to look forward to.
It can be something coming up at the end of the day, week, month or year, something you’re budgeting for — whether that’s a $15 matinee movie ticket on Sunday or a $150 pair of shoes.
For me, it’s a trip I’m taking in December with a friend. It’s already paid for, but I know I’ll want to set aside spending money over the next six months to make it as stress-free as possible. For the past few weeks, when I’ve thought about buying something frivolous, I’ve thought about how much better I’ll feel putting the money aside to use on my trip.
It’s also just fun to consider all the excursions we’ll take, places we’ll stay and people we’ll meet. There’s an added benefit too: Studies have indicated that the time leading up to a trip is often just as pleasurable as the trip itself. It’s the power of anticipation — you glean just as much enjoyment from imagining the aforementioned excursions and hotels as you do actually experiencing them.
It doesn’t have to be a big trip, or even a trip at all. Another common one for me is dinner or drinks with friends — I know it’s coming up, so I try to limit my eating out during the week.
As Audrey Gonzalez writes for The Financial Diet, it could simply be painting your nails during your favourite show each week, or putting a reminder in your phone for when a book you want to read is being released.
A small treat that you can look forward to will help you get through the present.