Just buy that book, what will you do saving this much?
Oops, you’ve spent too much time to start walking everywhere and no expensive food till the month ends.
What you’re reading isn’t just an example of terrible financial planning but also an anecdote of the way my silly little brain can work. But, over the last few months, I’ve tried to create a balance for myself. And no, this time around I’m focused on just saving, I’m focused on treating myself too.
As someone who’s tried their hand at being frugal, let me tell you one thing, frugality doesn’t come cheap. It’s great to know hacks and DIYs and save that little extra money, but excessive frugality easily robs you of any happiness and motivation you might have. It sounds weird though, right? It’s always good when we make and stick to budgets, then it must be even better when we end up saving a portion of our budget right? And because we can’t not pay bills, rent, or eat, we do the next best thing - go cheap on ourselves. We think that a little sacrifice on that end will fetch us a little extra savings. But what it does really is drain you of reasons to keep going. Let’s face it, we might love our jobs but no one likes working all the time. When you work till you’re exhausted and make money, only to keep it stored in your savings account, you never get to witness what this money could have done. Who are you doing it all for then?
This is one where you keep focusing on what you don't have, on what can go wrong, and how terribly it can go wrong. It’s proven to make your financial and mental health terrible, here’s how
Fear controls everything. From that extra bit you spent on travel one day to investments you should be making but aren’t, fear controls everything. You’re afraid of running out of money so you simply avoid spending. Except, this reduces the value of your savings quite soon, setting you back financially. The concept of rest and relaxation doesn’t exist You might not agree to this, but not all your free time is supposed to be spent side hustling, monetising a hobby, or learning a new skill. Your free time can literally just be you scrolling away, if that makes you feel good. Scarcity will have you believing that you need to keep making money always. It’s not true.
Blurry decision making. You’re bound to jump on the cheaper thing than look into quality. Sometimes, things are more expensive because they last longer, as compared to something cheap that goes bad in a month or so. Scarcity will have you thinking you never have enough and need to compensate by buying cheaper. This secretly is a long term financial loss.
Treat yourself right. If you’ve been withholding that treat to yourself, or are looped in the scarcity mindset and are wondering why (and how) could you treat yourself, let’s go!
I know how it feels to drink some wine, eat a pizza and watch Netflix till you’re ready to sleep. Unfortunately, you can’t do this on the daily. For the treats that need a larger amount, find a way to fit them in your budget. Sure, look into your ‘wants’ and see what you can shift and re-prioritise, but also consider increasing your budget by just a bit. Try out the 50/20/30 rule if it seems fit for you. Remember, treating yourself is essential, it’s not a whim or want. That brings me to my next point -
I don’t mean that you need to do a six-step skincare routine every day. Find a way to give yourself a treat every day. For me, this is my evening cup of ginger chai and a walk on the terrace. It energises me and calms me down. Figure out those little things that are relaxing and fun for you. Treating yourself everyday is a matter of giving yourself time, so don’t put a high budget on this one.
I know looking at yet another calendar and scheduling yet another time for a thing is probably a bit much to ask for. But try to schedule your “treating yourself” hours. This way, it isn’t random and you have something to look forward to which keeps you going. I like to give myself two major treats a month. Both of these come from my monthly treat budget. I don’t always decide what my treat is going to be, but if there’s something I’m craving or want and it fits my treat budget, I schedule that as well. Delaying gratification for just a bit goes a long way here.
It’s important that you don’t feel guilty about treating yourself. No, you aren’t wasting away your money, you’re only giving yourself what you deserve. Often, we feel like we need to do more to actually deserve a reward, that’s a lie. There doesn’t need to be a reason behind giving yourself a reward or appreciation.
So the next time around you’re feeling low or just need a pick-me-up, try getting that thing you’ve been stopping yourself from, for months now. Of course, only if it fits your budget :)