There comes a time when even the most frugally frugal person needs to just treat themselves. Some kind of splurge for themselves that makes the whole world better for a moment. Something that makes them feel better about the day they had.
I am in total support of this kind of splurge. The world is full of wonderful things and constantly denying yourself is just a silly way to live. Even celebrities on strict diets talk about their cheat days.
However, you want your bank account to stay out of the red when you’re making yourself feel a bit better with some retail therapy. There are a few ways to treat yoself that I think even the Frugal Gods would approve of.
I personally try and treat myself in two different ways: comfort and usability. What I mean by comfort is usually something like getting fast food for dinner that night (I love french fries) or eating cookies for breakfast. Something small that satisfies my need for consolation as quickly as possible.
When I treat myself with usability in mind, it’s usually something that I’ve wanted for a long time and haven’t let myself get for whatever reason. A new purse that I’ve been wanting, but don’t need, is a good example. The purse is something I’ll use again and again. It’s a splurge I can see a real return on.
With these two ideas in mind, here are a few foolproof ways to treat yourself right and still keep your hard earned dollars in the bank for the most part.
1) A Meal Out
We’ve all had those days where we’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off. We have a million things to do and there’s just not enough time. Or we’ve had days when it seems like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. When it feels like the world is out to get you.
On days like that, a meal or a drink out is a fantastic and frugal way to treat yourself. I personally am a sucker for Burger King when I’m in a bad mood. I don’t eat red meat, and Burger King has veggie burgers. So I’ll get myself a medium fry, a veggie burger with no mayo, and a milkshake, and enjoy every last fried morsel. It just hits the spot!
A meal like that is not super healthy, but it is super convenient, a special out of routine thing for me, and also costs about $8. Not bad for a way to lift my mood pretty quickly.
If Burger King isn’t your jam, try another frugal option. Grab the sushi from your local grocery store instead of a more pricey restaurant. Get a pint of Ben and Jerry’s instead of the bargain ice cream. Opt for the $8 beer instead of the $3 one at the bar.
Insert a little more luxury in your life in a small way. You’ll notice a difference in quality. You’ll also be mixing up your routine in a small enough way to save you money, but it’s big enough to make a difference. It’ll feel special and it’ll be pretty frugal!
2) Escape Your Life
I don’t mean buy a one way ticket to Morocco and never look back. Though that is one way of escaping things! I mean take a break from your life for a few hours. A great way to do that is to go to the movies.
A day matinee is always cheaper than a night movie so try and swing that. Even an evening showing will probably only cost you $10-$15. If you made that a habit, it would get expensive, sure. For a once in a while treat, a movie is a wonderful idea.
You can also head to a place in your town or city you don’t normally go. Take a long walk in a park you’ve never been to before. Go sit in a bar you pick at random. Going someplace where no one recognizes you (and where you don’t recognize anyone) can make any troubles you have fade away.
Exploring can show you the new and exciting, even in a town you may have lived your whole life in. It can jazz things up and it can be frugal as heck. A drink or two in a new bar during happy hour might even be cheaper than expected. Plenty of local places offer specials!
3) Splurge Within Reason
If you’re not a movie goer or a drink in a bar by myself kind of person, do whatever feels right to you! I’m not here to police your behaviors. I’m just your friendly blogger suggesting some great things I find helpful. Follow your treat yoself urges in whatever direction they may take you.
To frugalize it and make sure you don’t break the bank, set a limit for yourself. If you’re coming off a bad day at work and you’re thinking it’s time for an online shopping binge, think again. You can peruse your favorite sites, but set yourself a spending limit.
Or do something more flexible, where you can look at everything the site has to offer, but you can only buy from the accessories section. A tie will do a lot less damage to your budget than a new suit will.
The same goes for purchases in real life. If you go out for a meal, tell yourself it’ll be take out and save your time and money. Or tell yourself that food is ok, but a beverage isn’t included in this happy meal. Hard limits like that still allow you to spend on experiences, but make sure you won’t run into the red.
Do you treat yourself once in a while after a period of intense saving or paying off debt? How do you do it? What spending methods have worked for you?