Victories are a little bit better when they are followed by a party. Here are 6 fun ways to reward yourself for reaching financial goals without falling off the savvy-spending bandwagon.
1. Tell your Mom – When you accomplish something you are proud of or excited about, it is fun to tell people, but excessive bragging is really unattractive and friends can only handle so much before they start having second thoughts about being your friend. Luckily, there’s a good chance that good ole mom will not only continue to love you unconditionally after your boastful moment has passed, but she won’t hold back on letting you know how proud she is, how amazing you are, how pretty you are, how smart you are…Mom’s are pretty great, aren’t they?
2. Give yourself a Mental Break—You know that place/activity that brings you peace and inner calm? Reaching your financial goal is a wonderful reason to let yourself go there. People who meet the financial goals they set for themselves usually work hard and make sacrifices on a daily basis in order to get there. And these same people often have a hard time relaxing and giving themselves a little mental R&R. Whatever the activity—running, swimming, girl time, phone calls with family, baking, reading, painting your nails, walking the dog, sketching, writing, biking, window shopping, break dancing—make like Happy Gilmore and find your happy place.
3. Spice up your Typical Dinner – Having a dinner that is a bit more extravagant than your usual is a nice way to reward yourself without overspending to the point that it defeats your financially fit purpose. For example, I rocked my grocery hunting—er, I mean shopping— budget over the last two weeks and had about $50 of cash left over. Normally, I just cash flow that leftover money into next pay period’s fund and withdraw less from my account, but this time my boyfriend and I “splurged” on steaks to grill for a scrumptious Saturday night dinner. Even better, I still came out ahead with my grocery money…Triumph of the financially-oppressed carnivores—we splurged AND saved!
4. Create a Shrine and Admire it —If you can actually see or feel your accomplishments, it will be much easier to congratulate yourself. It’s why we take pictures of ourselves holding our medals after a race, children display trophies on their bedroom shelves, and diplomas hang on our office walls. Shrine is a pretty dramatic term, but I’m using it loosely. The main point is that simply reflecting on your accomplishment(s) can be extremely rewarding, and it’s much easier to reflect on something that you can see. Post a checklist on your wall and cross out each goal as you reach it, or if your financial goal is saving money for a large expense, create a chart that lets you visualize how far you have come and how much further you have to go. The image below is an awesome example of an easy way to visually see how much money you are saving/cash flowing as well as see how far you have to go to reach the end. You can use already-created goal charts like this one from Frugal Mama and personalize it to make it fit into your financial lifestyle and reward system!
5. Let Someone Else Brew your Coffee Today —I am a firm believer in brewing my own coffee each morning and taking it to work in my trusty travel mug. It saves me time AND money. Therefore a stop at my favorite coffee shop, following the achievement of reaching a lofty financial goal turns into a midweek reward that costs less than $5. Plus, coffee always seems to taste so much better when someone else is brewing it 😉
6. Take your Bestie out to Lunch—When your main financial focus is to spend less money, your social life will be affected. If your friends are as much into spending cash together as they are into spending time together, you will have to pass on some of their adventures. A good way to stay in the loop and keep your circle from calling you “cheap” is to celebrate the achievement of your financial milestones with them. Instead of buying yourself a small reward, buy your buddy lunch or dinner. Fifty dollars spent on taking your BFF out is not going to slow you down on achieving your financial goals, if anything, it might make you want to reach those milestones more quickly because doing something nice for your favorite peeps feels good. And if you have really good friends, they will probably want to return the favor 😉
We want to know: what kind of reward system do you use to keep yourself motivated and accomplished without spiraling into a spending frenzy?