When you are working hard to be financially responsible, you may find you need some sort of reward to stay motivated.
If you finish paying off a large debt or significantly increase your savings for retirement, you may feel like you deserve to enjoy a weekend activity or take a day to relax and treat yourself. It’s important not to let indulgences get in the way of your larger financial goals, but you also don’t want to deprive yourself so long that it’s hard to sustain your frugal lifestyle.
One way to reward yourself while keeping the wallet in check is to set a limit on how much you can spend before you begin your rewarding experience. Check out some of these ideas for living it up without spending a bundle.
1. A Night Out
Maybe it is a happy hour with your favorite cocktails, a night at the movies or just dining outside the home. There are plenty of affordable ways to spend a night on the town. Consider a bring-your-own-booze restaurant so you don’t get stuck paying a premium for your drinks. Call someone special or a friend you need to catch up with and really enjoy this indulgence. But it’s important that if you reward yourself with a night out, it doesn’t turn into a weekend or weeklong spending binge.
2. Personal Grooming
If your hair is looking ratty or maybe just boring, try hitting the salon for a refreshing cut or style. It can be nail treatment, hair blowout, a massage, or a shopping trip to spruce up your wardrobe — the key is to look for a cheap way to make yourself look and feel better. To get a great deal, consider visiting discount websites that specialize in the spa industry. You can get high-quality service at a fraction of the cost and this rejuvenating process will make you feel a lot better about the price tag that comes with it.
3. A Night In
Rent your favorite flick, grab a guilty-pleasure read, soak in a bubble bath, open a bottle of wine or order in some local delicacies. A night on the town can be great, but sometimes the relaxation of a night in is just what you need after stressing about bills for so long. This can be a catch-up on “me” time or an excuse to cuddle up with someone special.
4. Something New
Whether it is a hot spot in your neighborhood you haven’t been to or an activity you didn’t think could make the budget, you could make it a point to allow yourself to indulge if you’ve hit a certain financial milestone. Take a hot yoga class, search for your next favorite musical group, play a new game with friends, make a gourmet dessert, or tap into your arts and crafts supplies. Trying another new thing (in addition to being frugal) can help you discover some fun activities.
Since it can be a struggle to maintain your budget, it can be a good idea to reward yourself in an affordable, creative way. Occasional, small indulgences can actually help you stay on track and feel better about your financial progress as you work toward large financial goals like buying a home. Even if it might take years to reach your goal, you don’t want to spend years feeling deprived, or be so restrictive you can’t stick to your plan.
Just make sure it doesn’t derail your long-term goals. Track your debt progress to ensure you’re staying on track. You can also track how your debt payoff is improving your credit for free on Credit.com — you’ll get two scores that are updated monthly.
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