Saving money is often an exercise in self-denial, but resisting temptation all the time isn’t what life’s about.
Splurging now and then won’t ruin your finances. In fact, it could boost your happiness and help you stay on track. As long as you spend sensibly, you can treat yourself without breaking the bank.
8 ways to reward yourself responsibly
1. Treat yourself to maintain good habits
Habits expert Gretchen Rubin is a big proponent of treating yourself in order to stay happy and maintain self-control. She writes in The Huffington Post, “When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for and contented, which boosts our self-command — and self-command helps us maintain our healthy habits.”
Instead of derailing your budget, finding occasional ways to treat yourself will boost your self-control. If you never reward yourself, then you could end up going off the rails. Extreme budgeting is like a crash diet: You may start out strong, but soon enough you’ll be eating every bag of junk food in sight.
2. Figure out what’s a treat for you
To splurge responsibly, consider how much joy a purchase will bring you. For one person, investing in an expensive winter coat is the game-changer they need to get through the cold winter. Someone else might get no enjoyment whatsoever from a pricey piece of clothing.
To prevent frivolous spending, make a list of items that are truly valuable to you. Consider what purpose a purchase will fill and how much lasting happiness it will bring you.
Maybe a small purchase, like a French press or essential oil diffuser, will significantly improve your daily life. By prioritizing personal value, you can make thoughtful choices about how to spend your money.
3. Avoid impulse shopping
Along similar lines, don’t waste your carefully saved money on impulse shopping. Stores are all too happy to wave tempting treats in front of your eyes when you check out at the register. Suddenly, you want something that you’d never even laid eyes on a few seconds earlier.
While impulse shopping feels like a way to reward yourself in the moment, your enjoyment won’t last long. Before splurging, wait a week to see if you really want to make the purchase. You may find that you’re no longer thinking about the impulse buy that briefly caught your eye.
4. Be an informed shopper
Before closing the deal on a big purchase, spend time researching price points and customer reviews. If you’re booking a vacation, for instance, track flight prices so you buy at the right time.
If you’re investing in a new piece of furniture, browse different outlets to get the lowest price. Read reviews to make sure you’re buying something of high quality that will last.
Finally, check out discount-tracking apps like Honey and Invisible Hand that will get you the best deal. Coupon-finding browser extensions scour thousands of websites to bring you the best deals.
5. Consider prioritizing experiences over things
Making memories will provide more long-term happiness. Even just anticipating a trip can make you feel good. And when you feel good, you’ll maintain healthy habits and continue toward your financial goals.
6. Take a friend along for the ride
Not only do experiences boost happiness, but giving to others also improves well-being. Material success doesn’t necessarily make us happy. In fact, studies have linked non-materialism with increased happiness levels.
While most of us aren’t going to relinquish all our material possessions, these studies do give us something to think about. Maybe instead of shopping alone, you could use your savings to invite a friend or family member to dinner.
You could also treat someone to an activity you’ve always wanted to try, like a paint night or horseback riding. Alternatively, consider donating to a charitable cause close to your heart. By acting altruistically, you could derive even greater value from your spending.
7. Invest in self-care or a new hobby
Another way to maximize the value of your spending is to invest in self-improvement. Perhaps you want to treat yourself with beauty products, enroll in an online course, or take up swing dancing. Whatever you choose, you’ll expand your horizons and grow as a person.
8. Let yourself off the hook
When we’re working toward financial goals, it’s easy to feel guilty about spending money. But sometimes we don’t need any other reason than wanting to enjoy ourselves.
In her bestseller Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert writes about our “insecurity about whether we have earned our happiness.” Says Gilbert, “Planet Advertising in America orbits completely around the need to convince the uncertain consumer that yes, you have actually warranted a special treat.”
Financial self-control is important, but you don’t want to be so strict that you can’t enjoy life. If you’ve been hitting your money goals, then give yourself the green light to treat yourself. Finding ways to reward yourself from time to time is key to maintaining balance.
Be thoughtful about how you spend your money and think about what truly brings value to your life. By privileging happiness over impulse buys, you can both reward yourself and stick to your financial goals.
Want to reward yourself and pay off your loans at the same time? Learn how temptation bundling can help you.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|