When you’re working toward a major financial goal, like paying off debt or saving a hefty sum, the general advice is to break that big milestone up into smaller goals. And each time you hit a smaller goal, you celebrate with a small reward, to keep you motivated to work on the next segment.
But rewarding yourself for good financial behaviour can be confusing. If you’re trying to save money, doesn’t spending some on a splurge set you back? You might even feel guilty for celebrating your progress at all, just because you feel like every dollar is locked up tight.
But you don’t need to spend a ton to celebrate your financial achievements. A recent conversation on Reddit’s r/Frugal asked how people reward themselves without buying “stuff.” While the discussion wasn’t specifically about reaching financial goals, it shared some solid ideas for celebrating your financial wins without spending a ton of cash.
A cheap field trip
“Go somewhere you’ve never been like a part or significant city spot,” recommended fcknhippies. Odds are, that monument, historic site or park doesn’t even have an admission fee.
An easy meal
It’s going to sound silly, but I always keep a “fancy” frozen pizza from Trader Joe’s in my freezer to reward making it through the week,” InternalCranberry commented. “That way when I achieve everything I want during the week, I can indulge, and if the week is hell, and I survive it, I can celebrate making it through. I usually have it with a pint of my favourite stout and play some cheesy 80s tunes to make it seem I’m at a local watering hole.”
I’m always in favour of having a pizza there when I need it.
A latte, damnit
“Sitting in a coffee shop for an hour reading a good library book and having a latte,” said mrs_aitch. Sounds perfect, honestly.
“I give myself a day of nothing,” RitaAlbertson said. “I can sit at home in my pajamas all day and watch movies or read books (all from my local library), and I refuse to let myself feel bad for not cleaning or not doing laundry or not cooking myself a real meal instead of grazing.”
A modest upgrade
108beads recommended upgrading an experience you were going to pay for anyway. Planning to cook burgers for dinner? Switch it up and make steak. Headed to the car wash? Get the deluxe package.
Sure, you’re spending more, but probably by only a few bucks.
A deep soak
“I like to do an at-home spa night with a nice face mask, bath, bath bombs, bubbles etc.,” said PradaPharoah. “It is a great night, I turn my phone off and it focuses on self-care and enjoying my own company, rather than buying shit. i do buy masks sometimes, that is about it.”
“I reward myself with a bubble bath and whatever sweet treat I’ve been saving in the freezer,” said nibbler5ad4. “Cheap and great for my mental health!”
A favourite album
“For someone who deeply loves certain music, an amazing evening is an uninterrupted album or two and a glass of special wine,” said sinspots. Bonus points if you already have a bottle of that special wine ready and waiting for the right opportunity.
I like to save movie theatre gift cards for special occasions of my own distinction, for that big-screen experience without the expense. What free or nearly free rewards would you add to this list?